It's funny how these things turn out some times. The months of August & September are always difficult in the cocktail world where I work, as the restaurant is guaranteed a week to close sometime towards the end of the month. Ambitions are slightly lowered going into that week and coming out of it and with that serves up personal challenges to creating an inspiring cocktail. The battle for the melon continued this year, dedicated as I strive to be, have attempted various cocktails utilizing all sorts of melons and I've also had my share of battles with manifesting a cocktail that uses fresh peppers some how some way. The day of triumph is upon us my fellow followers as I have come to a balance of both that is user friendly for all people (over 21 of course!)
The reasons why my first attempt at a spicy melon drink failed were one, I really had my heart set on watermelon, which I love, but is such a soft flavor that mixing it with stuff, generally makes the flavor disappear or become over powered. The other reason was I was using Serrano chillies in the cocktail which have quite a healthy kick and also over powered the whole thing. Next time I tried to face the melon cocktail I tried using Cachacha and sort of made a play on their Batidas (Tropical fruit juice based Cachacha drink that usually is blended and has some sort of creamy element added to it) using melons and shaking over ice where the Brazilian spirit simply over powered the juices and simply was not blending right regardless of variation in acid and salt. When all hope was lost, we went on vacation, returned and at the last minute threw together a cocktail of the month. Last minute being, the night of the menu changing! In a quick-fire Top Chef regulated setting, I would've been a contender! I stuck to my gut with this melon idea and once again brought in a pepper element, knowing where I tried once I could very possibly fail yet again. But not this time.
Using a Gita Nagari Farm pepper known simply as the "Not so hot pepper" and a more tart than sweet cantaloupe with tequila and lime juice, what we have is a sure fire play on a margarita using local produces I've battled successfully crafting a drink with flavor, acid and a slight zippy finish from the peppers. This drink is not hot! It's designed to be appreciated by all spectrum's of people. In the cocktail itself there is only a few slithers of the pepper that get muddled with a silver tequila, simply to release that subtle spice at the finish. The rest of the pepper element is a simple syrup infused with both the peppers and lemon peels. Shaken together with cantaloupe I have developed a tall and refreshing cocktail that has been completely receptive by everyone who has sampled it. It's truly a great way to say good by to summer heat and welcome back cool autumn nights!
(That is a melon ball floating in the drink, yes I realize it slightly resembles an egg yolk)
We called her Mad Melly, a play on "hot melons" in which we wanted to give that nod without the innuendos. Margarita was rumored to be a girl, we went with calling the drink a female name. Melon: Melly. If she's not hot, she's....naughty? No! We can use that! Angry? Spicy? Where's the play on words I enjoy in the titles of my cocktails so much???? We ended up with Mad Melly and that explains it all. Virginia Melons angered by Virginia peppers. How funny!