Introducing the Melonka Mary

Posted by johngl

I was poring over a cooking magazine the other day and noticed a recipe for Watermelon Soup that gave me the idea for what I’ll call the Melonka Mary (in honor of all my Russian friends).

Ingredients for the Melonka Mary

If you haven’t figured it out by now, Melonka is watermelon and vodka. The Mary part is just there for the spicy aspects of the drink.

The real reason I came up with this is so that I could actually use xanthan gum in something. Why not a drink?

I used some seedless watermelon…

Watermelon chunks and cilantro

The green stuff is a few leaves of cilantro.

Digression: A couple of years ago, I was in the Costco checkout line and this woman came up behind me with a watermelon in each hand supported on her upper chest. Her melons looked precariously perched, so I made some room on the conveyor belt and told her, while patting the belt, “You can put your melons right here.” Her mom (or someone I assumed was her mom) burst out laughing and the guy in front of us turned to most glorious spousal unit and said “Did he just say that? You need to get him home right away” (or some other such nonsense). And here I thought I was just being helpful.

Anyway, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I can get back to the Melonka Mary.

Give the watermelon a whirl or two in the food processor or blender (I used half a melon for two drinks). It turns to liquid in about 10 seconds. Add a few splashes of some hot sauce and a pinch of salt. Give it a few more pulses. Run that through a course strainer to get any immature seeds out of there. Rinse out the food processor, dump the melon juice back into the processor, then add a half teaspoon of the xanthan gum. Spin it up for 15 seconds, add the juice of half a lime. Spin it some more. It thickens a tad (to emulate the texture of tomato juice).

Add about 1-1/2 oz of your favorite vodka over ice. Throw in a thin slice of fresh lime, and add a cilantro sprig for no apparent reason.

The Melonka Mary

The lime juice adds a bit of acidity to counter the sweetness of the watermelon. I probably should have saved the salt for the rim of the glass, but it works with the melon well enough. Take the cilantro out of the glass prior to consumption as it’s aroma is a bit overpowering. Don’t go too heavy on the hot sauce.

I don’t usually make drinks in honor of anyone, so I hope my Russian friends are suitably wowed.

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About johngl

A bit of a wildman, John hails from the Midwest: A land of corn, cows, pigs, and a host of other healthfully meaty pursuits. Born on a dark and stormy night in late Fall, John grew up as the son of a meat cutter. There was always plenty of meat at hand. While not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, his family certainly ate well. According to his father, that was the whole point.

2 thoughts on “Introducing the Melonka Mary

  1. Hi John, do you find the seedless watermelons as sweet and juicy as the old school ones with the big black seeds? I can’t seem to get a good seedless one out here in Southern California; always kinda mealy and dry without a lot of sweetness. The seeded ones are getting harder to find, but they’re still my favorite for taste and juice.

    • In a word, no, these things don’t really measure up to the old-time seeded ones. As a kid in Iowa with an acre-sized garden, we had some of the best watermelon ever right in our back yard. Of course the same could be said for cantaloupe, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and a host of other things. When the distance from “farm” to table is measured in feet rather than miles, you can hardly go wrong.

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