Summer is a season synonymous with relaxation. Sitting poolside or relaxing on a patio with a cold beverage is a great way to escape the daily grind and make the most of a warm evening, and the following recipe for “Summer Cantaloupe” from Andrew Schloss’ “Homemade Liqueurs and Infused Spirits” (Storey Publishing) is tailor-made for summer nights.
Makes about 1 quart
1 fifth (31/4 cups) 80-100 proof vodka
4 cups cantaloupe chunks
1 cup Simple Syrup (see below)
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1. Muddle the vodka, cantaloupe and lemon zest with a wooden spoon in a half-gallon jar. Stir to moisten everything.
2. Seal the jar and put it in a cool, dark cabinet until the liquid smells and tastes strongly of melon, four to seven days.
3. Strain the mixture with a mesh strainer into a clean quart jar. Do not push on the solids to extract more liquid.
4. Stir in the Simple Syrup.
5. Seal and store in a cool, dark cabinet. Use within one year.
Makes 3 cups
21/4 cups water
21/4 cups granulated cane sugar
Mix the water and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar is all moistened. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved, then remove from the heat and let cool. Refrigerate for up to three months.