Friday Friday Friday Friday! It’s here. There’s only 39 days of summer left before the school machine starts back up, so I’m trying to really soak up the heat and the bored kids and of course– the summery drinks.Today’s cocktail came partly from a friend who challenged me to create a cocktail with cantaloupe (which…can we just have a moment to collectively groan at spelling the word cantaloupe? It’s awful. I misspell it every.single.damn. time.), and from a jam recipe I came across on Facebook from Bon Appetit for Salted Cantaloupe Honey Jam. My interest sufficiently piqued, I started thinking of other things that go well with salt. LIKE TEQUILA. Or in this case- -Mezcal because I’m a sucker for the smoky flavor and it’s #trendy. I added some hot honey for spice (melon’s naturally sweet and mellow so we needed to kick it up) and a squeeze of lime juice for acid.
For the rim, I just zested a lime and mixed it with margarita rimming salt, and eyeballed some chili powder. What started as sort of a weird pantry dive/challenge/experiment turned into a really delightful, refreshing cocktail. Perfect for the Holiday weekend ahead! Cheers friends!
Spicy Cantaloupe Mezcal Margarita
Makes 1 Cocktail but could easily be multiplied and made in a pitcher!
1.5 oz Mezcal (or tequila!)
3 oz cantaloupe juice*
1 Tb lime juice
1/2 tsp Hot honey**
For the rim:
Zest of one lime
2-3 Tbsp of rimming salt (or kosher will work in a pinch)
1/2 tsp chili powder of your choice (ancho, chipotle, etc.)
*Easy way to get any sort of melon juice: remove rind and chop into medium size chunks. Process in a food processor or blender until completely pureed. Pour through fine mesh strainer into measuring cup (I got about 3.5 C from one medium melon). Toss the pulp. This will keep in the fridge for about a week, but it’s better if used within a day or two.
**I used this brand that you can buy in the store, but you can also add a pinch of cayenne pepper to 1/4C regular honey for the same effect. Be sure to test for heat!
For the rimming salt: Combine zest, salt and chili powder in a shallow ramekin or plate. Take the cut side of a lime and run around the edge of your glass. Flip upside down onto the plate and cover edges of glass with salt. Fill the glass with clear ice.
For the cocktail: Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add cantaloupe juice, mezcal, lime juice, hot honey, and a pinch of salt. Shake it like you mean it and strain into glass. Garnish with melon ball and lime wedge! Cheers!