Matt and I are in a champagne kind of mood this week, so here’s a
summery cocktail, suitable for garden parties, weddings, Thursday nights
when you happen to have a melon on hand, etc. It’s nice, promise.
This recipe comes from David Tanis, head chef of Chez Panisse, for whom I recently made a large batch of melon puree for the restaurant guests’ aperitifs. He didn’t call them ‘mellinis’, but that’s what they are to me. Just make sure you get a perfectly ripe melon with sweet, juicy and fragrant orange flesh.
Makes: 15-20 cocktails
Time: 30 mins
1 ripe cantaloupe melon, or similar
2 tbsps fine white sugar, or to taste
1½ tsps lemon juice, or to taste
1 tbsp lime juice, or to taste
3 bottles of good Italian (of course) prosecco, well chilled
small mint sprigs &/or thin lime slices to garnish (optional)
- Cut all the skin off the melon, halve it, scoop out the seeds, then slice and chop into 1” pieces. Puree in batches in a blender. Pass through a sieve into a jug, rubbing through with the underside of a ladle if necessary. You should now have a beautifully smooth puree.
- Stir in sugar, lemon and lime juices, tasting as you go. The puree should not taste particularly lemony or limey; they’re just there to brighten it a bit.
- Cover and keep chilled until needed. You should have about 750ml (3+ cups). Do not make more than a few hours in advance.
- When time to serve, pour out several glasses of prosecco to ¾ full. Add 2-3 tbsps of melon puree to each and stir gently with the handle of a teaspoon. Add in a touch more prosecco if needed. You will need to make several test glasses to decide how much puree you like. This shouldn’t be too much of a chore. Garnish with mint sprigs and/or lime slices if you wish.
Learn more about melons here…
Learn more about cocktails here…