September 8, 2011 by Sara Kreidler
Last week, we discovered yellow watermelons and made watermelon and basil coolers. And they were good.
This weekend we found another yellow watermelon at the farmer’s market. And we had basil at home from the CSA. And mint. So Toby decided to improve upon what I already thought was perfection and made herb infused simple syrups. And then he went one step further and juiced an entire yellow watermelon. Juicing a watermelon without a juicer isn’t difficult. Just cut the flesh of the melon away from the rind and place it in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl.
Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of the herbs steeping in the simple syrup, and pictures of the syrup in jars, sans herbs, are not very interesting to look at. So please settle for this picture of the melon juice in a jar, which is pretty and yellow.
Thanks to Toby, we had a full quart of yellow watermelon juice, 1 pint of basil infused simple syrup and 1 pint of mint infused simple syrup to offer our friends when they came over for our Labor Day pig out. This made making coolers for a crowd so much easier – rather than having to muddle the herbs and melon for each drink, we just poured the watermelon juice and infused simple syrup over ice with gin and club soda.
The recipe below is for basil infused simple syrup, but you can make mint infused simple syrup the same way (just swap mint for basil).
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- A big handful of basil leaves
- Combine water and sugar in a small pot and bring to a simmer over medium high flame. Stir well to combine. Once the sugar has dissolved completely, remove from stove.
- Fill a pint jar with hot water to warm up the jar.
- Slice the basil leaves. Dump the water out of the jar and add the sliced basil. Place a funnel on top of the jar and carefully pour in the hot simple syrup.
- Let the basil steep in the syrup for several hours (we let ours steep overnight). The basil will float to the top of the jar. Scoop the basil out with a small slotted spoon (or you can pour the contents of the jar through a fine mesh strainer into a clean jar if you prefer). Label the jar and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
- To make 1 cooler, fill a pint jar half way with ice. Add 2 jiggers of watermelon juice, ½ a shot of basil infused simple syrup, and 1 jigger of Hendrick’s gin. Top off with chilled club soda so that jar is 3/4 of the way full. Garnish with a sprig of fresh basil if you want to be fancy. Serve immediately.