Heaps of watermelons and musk melons by the roadside have declared that summer is here. It is time then to give a melon-y touch to your drink this weekend
I remember it distinctly, even though I was a puny little thing then. The summer editions of the few glossy magazines that would reach us in the North East in the '80s from Bombay would invariably have them. And pretty enticingly so. I am referring to watermelons. Say, a woman in a beach wear, on a lounge, holding a bow-shaped slice of blood red watermelon. Or a model sipping a melon-y drink by a pool, throwing at the reader a look which we didn't know would be called uber sexy today. O! How a little me would pine to taste that fruit!
Today, thanks to improved connectivity and enterprise, watermelons are available even in small north-eastern towns, but in the '80s, they were only in magazines and recipe books besides an occasional sketch of a melon in some kids' storybooks. Understandably then, even after having lived in Delhi for years now, every time I take a bite of this summer staple, a sense of accomplishment runs through me. And I keep thinking how best to have it. I also discovered its aromatic cousin — the musk melon. A heavenly fruit! I first had musk melon with a dollop of vanilla ice cream at a friend's do, and can still recall the luscious first bite.
This summer too, looking at the heaps of melons — by the roadside, in fruit shops, at juice vendors, I am back to my thoughts: what better way to have them. Simply cut into pieces, or combine them with other fruits to whip up a delicious salad, juiced and mixed with spirits, or blended with some flavoursome ice creams.
Comes Ahmed Faisal, the pleasant bartender at Eros Hotel — Managed by Hilton, offering me two cool ideas. The one that he puts musk melon is named Tropical Mist and the other, with watermelon, is called Meloni. So here we go!
Take a tall Hurricane glass. Put into it chunks of some diced tropical fruits (soaked overnight in 120 ml hibiscus tea) along with the tea, three-four ice cubes, a dash of sugar syrup and top it up with 180 ml juice of musk melon. Garnish it with a pineapple wedge. And lo! Your Tropical Mist is ready to sip.
For Meloni, Faisal uses a pilsner glass. In it he drops a few chunks of watermelon and muddles them a bit along with a few mint leaves, adds crushed ice to the mixture and muddles more. Before topping the simple drink with 150 ml pineapple juice, he adds a dash of lemon juice to it. For garnish, he thrusts a watermelon wedge with a mint sprig on to the brim of the glass.
The best part about both the concoctions of Faisal are, they are easy to make and can be served either as summer coolers or cocktails by adding a dash of vodka or gin to it. So take your pick and raise a toast to melons this weekend!