I started thinking about writing this post back in June, when it was so hot — maybe not hotter than Hades but pretty close and it was only June in Saudi Arabia rather than, say, July or August when temperatures are just unfair — enough that we sat outside under duress or at the embassy’s pool commenting that in the late afternoon it was just 104 and wasn’t that rather comfortable … But then we left for California, where our first days were spent in San Francisco in fog so thick Sierra exclaimed that it was raining and I wished I’d brought a warmer jacket and it was a nearly 50-degree drop from Riyadh which did feel a bit whiplash-ish and surreal. Refreshing drinks were not on my mind so much as warming ones and so I never put up this recipe.
Newsflash: it’s still hot here in the Kingdom — mid to low-90s instead of pushing 120 but let’s accept that it’s still quite warm even as we are coming up on November. Refreshing drinks and iced coffees are still perfectly understandable and even necessary.
DW made this drink before we took off for the summer, watermelon being in great abundance and absolutely delicious here. I’m not sure from where it was imported, but it was some of the sweetest and best I’ve ever eaten. At that point Sierra was still refused to eat it (after experiencing a sort of sea change in California she’ll now deign to indulge occasionally) so even after nightly bowls post-dinner or mixed into fruit salad we still had loads of watermelon lurking in the fridge. So why not make an icy, frothy drink? He made his with alcohol of course while I had mine without and either way you choose to consume this drink it’s a winner.
The watermelon is sweet enough that you don’t need much, if any, additional sugar (we used maple syrup being a bit too lazy to make a simple syrup). Lime counters the sweetness nicely and plenty of ice is a must. I will admit that I don’t drink too much alcohol these days — a 10-hour time difference upon our return to Saudi having taken a major toll on everyone and when I’m tired I can’t drink a drop of anything other than water and coffee — but if/when I do I’m planning on enjoying myself. We’ll have a few cooler months coming up but come early spring it’ll be hot enough again to think about refreshers. This one will be at the top of the list.
To make non-alcoholic: omit the rum and add an additional cup of cubed watermelon.
Makes 2 drinks.
4 shots light rum
2 shots freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
2 cups of fresh, cubed watermelon
In a cocktail shaker, place rum, lime juice, maple syrup, watermelon. Muddle the ingredients well, until the watermelon is crushed and releases its juice. Add the ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds.
Strain into glasses filled with ice and garnish with lime wedges if desired, or garnish with a piece of watermelon.