Watermelon White Pepper Campari

We'll cut right to the chase for this post because we've got three refreshing drinks to share. The combo of watermelon, white pepper and Campari is the brain child of our friend Erik, so we got together to see what cocktails we could make. It turns out that you can use a plethora of spirits - rum, tequila, gin, vodka - with watermelon and pepper and you'll get something tasty. Just pay attention to the sweetness of the melon.

Erik froze some watermelon squares for our drinks - a nice touch that keeps your drink cold without diluting. It does thaw pretty quick though.

We pureed the melon (seeds and all) then strained out the pulp. If you don't have a juicer, this is a great alternative.

We tried two different methods for incorporating the the white pepper. Here we made a simple syrup by using 1 1/2 cups water, 1 cup sugar (we use turbinado, hence the dark color of the syrup), and 1-2 tablespoons of crushed white peppercorns. Then we simmered the syrup until about a 1/2 cup of water dissolved. Finally we let it cool and strained out the pepper.

The second method was cubing the watermelon, peppering the cubes and then letting them sit in the refrigerator for a few hours. With a little torn basil and feta, this also makes a wonderful salad.

Watermelon Smash
1 oz Gin
1 oz Campari
1 oz White Pepper Simple Syrup
1/4 quarter lime cut into two pieces
4 1-inch cubes of watermelon
2-3 torn basil leaves

In a pint glass muddle the simple syrup with the watermelon, lime and basil leaves. Fill glass with ice, add gin and Campari and roll (pour back and forth) into a collins glass. Top with soda or mineral water and garnish with a small basil leaf.

Campari and Soda with a twist
1 oz Campari
1/2 White Pepper Simple Syrup
1/2 Lime Juice

Add ingredients to an ice-filled collins glass. Top with 4 oz soda water and stir.

Melon Margarita
1 1/2 of Tequila (use blanco for more pepper flavor)
2 oz Watermelon Juice
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz White Pepper Simple Syrup

Shake all on ice and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with salt and lime.

Notes: all of the above drinks are great for day drinking for their relatively low alcohol content. The maragarita, for instance subs watermelon juice for cointreau and soda water is used for the Campari and Soda and the Smash.

Let us know if you try the cocktails.

P.S.  The simple syrup turnout out delicious... not too spicy, just some nice heat on the finish. Try it in lemonade - you will not be disappointed.

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