As the daughter of a camp director, my summers revolved around summer camp from ages 1 to 18. The best of those long summer days were spent at Camp Miller in Sturgeon Lake, MN. Each Friday all the campers would gather outside for lunch at the “Chuck Wagon.” Hamburgers or Sloppy Joes were served along with beans, chips and cookies. Watermelon always seemed to be on hand too.
Cabin group pitted against cabin group, we had watermelon seed-spitting contests. As 10 year old girls, we’d affix three watermelon seeds, sticky with watermelon juice, to our foreheads. Each of the three seeds stuck on the forehead represented the most dreamy boys at camp. The seed that stuck to our forehead the longest signified the boy we’d grow up to marry. Flies constantly swarmed around our sweet and sticky hands and arms.
Even though I’m no longer depending on watermelons to help foresee my future, my love for them is the same. I still eat this lovely red melon in big slices, juices dripping down my arms. Part of the fun is the mess. But sometimes I like to get my watermelon fix in a more sophisticated and a lot less messy way. And so lately I’ve fallen in love with watermelon juice as my summer time alternative. It’s refreshing on its own. It’s perfect frozen as a popsicle. And it is really great with gin.
To make the juice, simply cut the fruit of the watermelon into 2 inch chunks, puree in a food processor or blender, then strain two or three times. For us, half of an average sized market melon filled two liter carafes 3/4 of the way each. Then drink as is, freeze or add the alcohol of your choice.
Watermelon Drink (so creative!)
• watermelon juice
• fresh lime juice
• club soda
1. In an 8 oz highball glass, squeeze a quarter wedge of lime over ice.
2. Add 1 oz gin, 2 oz watermelon juice (or to taste) and top off with club soda.
3. Garnish with a lime wedge.