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DIY Cocktails: A Simple Guide to Creating Your Own Signature Drinks Excerpt from DIY Cocktails: A Simple Guide to Creating Your Own Signature Drinks

by Marcia Simmons and Jonas Halpern

Watermelon-Cucumber Refresher

3 parts vodka
3 parts strong
 3 parts strong
1 part triple sec
1 part sweet

2 parts sweet
1 part watermelon-cucumber-mint juice**
1 part sweet
1 part lime juice
1 part sour
 1 part sour

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for about fifteen seconds.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Optional: Freeze two watermelon chunks and place them inside the glass.  Garnish with a cucumber slice and a spring of mint.

**Watermelon-Cucumber Mint Juice
~ 2 parts chopped watermelon
~ 1 part peeled and chopped cucumber
~ 2 sprigs of mint
Blend all ingredients together and strain through fine-mesh strainer.

How Did We Do That?
We started out knowing that we wanted to use watermelon, which is moderately sweet and rounds out flavors. But watermelon wasn't enough for us; we wanted more! So the next step was to ask ourselves, "What other ingredient is similar to watermelon in taste but is also a little less sweet so the watermelon can be the dominant sweet flavor?" Turns out cucumber is a lot like a milder, slightly more tart melon: It's not going to overpower, but it will offer a little hint of tartness to add another layer to our concoction.  With all these fresh, juicy ingredients, we wanted a little bit of oomph -- something to give it that fresh-from-the-garden taste.  Mint is a sweet herb that has a cooling effect, just what we wanted on a hot day.  However, these ingredients are light and mild -- liquor and lime juice could easily overpower them.  To add enough sweetness to round out the acidity of the lime, we knew we'd need something sweeter with a little weight to it.  We always have triple sec in the liquor cabinet, and its orange flavor is a nice compliment to lime.

That's a lot of ingredients to fit into one little ratio.  But when you look carefully you'll recognize the same flavor categories and ratio that make a margarita taste good:

3 Parts Strong - That's vodka. We chose vodka because it is a friendly spirit -- you won't find a flavor it doesn't mix well with -- and we wanted to introduce a lot of other flavors to the party.

2 Parts Sweet - Remember how a Cosmo uses two different ingredients for its sweet -- a juice and a liqueur?  That's basically what we did here. Only instead of using just one juice flavor we chose three -- cucumber, mint, and watermelon -- and combined them in the blender. Here's where you'll use fresh fruits and herbs of your choice.

1 Part Sour - You'll recognize good old lime juice, one of the basic sours. Since we had so much going on in the sweet, the simplest way to balance the cocktail was to use limes for acidity.

The above is an excerpt from the book DIY Cocktails: A Simple Guide To Creating Your Own Signature Drinks by Marcia Simmons and Jonas Halpern. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Copyright © 2011 Marcia Simmons and Jonas Halpern, authors of DIY Cocktails: A Simple Guide To Creating Your Own Signature Drinks