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Hot Day Chill Out: Watermelon Riesling Cooler

When life (your misbehaving refrigerator) gives you lemons (semi-frozen watermelon), make watermelon Riesling cooler! Really, that’s about it. It was hot on Monday, I was pissed that the fridge had frozen my watermelon–after totally defrosting the freezer over the weekend–guests were due in 15 minutes, and there was a bottle of Riesling within arms reach. Done and dusted.

Fortunately, this off-the-cuff pitcher came out quite well–cool, sweet, bright, and totally refreshing.  With lime to tease out the wine’s acid, a little St. Germain for a round, floral sweetness, and mint for a sprightly, green herbaceous note. An imminently sippable summer tipple–and so good I’ve made it again since.

Not too heavy, not too sweet, and not too boozy–it’s just the right thing to take the edge off after a hot day at the beach, or a not-so-hot day at the office when you WISH you were at the beach.

Watermelon Riesling Cooler
Yield: qts

7 c cubed seedless watermelon
juice of 1 lime
pinch salt
1 750ml bottle Riesling
1/3 c St. Germain
2 large (~5in) sprigs mint, plus additional for garnish

In the carafe of a blender, combine the lime juice, watermelon cubes, salt, and half the Riesling. (If the melon won’t fit in one go, just do it in batches, no big deal. Blend until totally pulverized.

Skim off the foam. Set a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and pour the mixture through to remove remaining foam and any errant chunky bits. If the mix is still looking excessively thick or foamy, run it through the strainer once more.

Pour into a pitcher, stir in the remaining wine and the St. Germain. Rinse and dry the mint sprigs and lightly clap… ok, fine, SPANK them together till fragrant. Stick them in the pitcher and swish ‘em around a bit. Cover pitcher with plastic wrap, and refrigerate till well chilled. Serve garnished with a sprig of mint, chunk of melon, and or slice of lime if you so desire.

Notes & Variations
Obviously, this is not the time for a superfancy German wine, should you be able to get your hands on one. A ~$10 bottle will do just fine, and if it already has melon in the flavor profile, so much the better. If you’ve got the time, cube the watermelon a few hours (up to a day) in advance and chill, covered in the refrigerator. Same goes for the bottle of wine–the colder everything is, the better, and the less time you’ll have to wait to drink.

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