Your eyes are not deceiving you – you ARE seeing a Melon Ball cocktail that’s orange instead of bright, neon green. Weird, huh?
The Melon Ball Cocktail, Featuring Balls Vodka
This week we decided to have a little fun. The folks over at Balls vodka sent us a bottle of their flagship product and it just made sense to use it in… a Melon Ball cocktail. Not only is it a great play on words (hee hee!) but it would give me a chance to try my hand at some homemade Melon liqueur!
Making the Liqueur
Liqueurs are made up of spirit, (in this case, vodka), flavoring (in this case melon) and sugar. There were a couple of ways we could go about this project. We could infused the Vodka with melon first, then add sweetener – or we could make a melon syrup and add the vodka. We decided to do the latter because frankly, it’s quicker!
Note: Exact recipe & amounts are at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: Chop up the Melon
I used a half a cantaloupe, but you could do a quarter. Chop the melon into pretty small pieces – the smaller the pieces are, the more melon juice extraction we’ll get in the next step.
Step 2: Macerate & Strain
Put the Melon pieces in a bowl and add 1/2 cup of sugar (or 1 cup for a half cantaloupe). Cover and wait.
The sugar will extract the juices from the melon, and you’re looking for the bowl to start to fill with a syrupy juice. After about 3 hours, ours was done!
We strained it out with a simple pasta strainer and kept the juice. (Note: The melon pieces were delicious. I could imagine dehydrating them and making candies. They are SUPER sweet!)
Step 3: Add the Spirit
Now that we have the melon syrup, it’s time to add the spirit to make it a liqueur. Our half-cantaloupe yielded about 1 1/4 cups of syrup, so you should get about half that with half as much melon. We went with about a 1-1 ratio of syrup to Vodka and adjusted to taste.
Making the Cocktail
Let’s be honest – this is a crazy easy cocktail to make once the liqueur is done. Basically you just combine your liqueur, vodka and orange juice in a cocktail shaker, shake it up and serve. Of course, it wouldn’t be a melon ball cocktail without a melon ball garnish – so don’t forget yours!
Our cocktail turned out great! Of course it tasted very different from the usual Midori version – and made me very curious to try a similar cocktail made with the honeydew (green) melon instead. But overall, it was delicious, bright and fresh – exactly what I’d hoped!