Monday, May 30, 2016

Tastes Like Summer: Frozen Watermelon Margaritas

Ladies and gentlemen, summer has arrived!  Well, unofficially.  The pool is open, the weather is warm, the kids are home and ready for adventures.  I'm one happy mama!  We've had a low-key Memorial Day weekend.  While the part of me that loves entertaining was kind of sad that we just hung out around the house this weekend, we really needed a break.  It's been a month full of company and traveling for birthdays, Mother's Day, and a host of other events.  We have company coming again this weekend.  We definitely needed some down time!
 So, while most of America soaked up the sun and grilled out we watched movies, played board games, ate breakfast for dinner, and just generally enjoyed being a family.  No complaints here.
While our weekend may have been plenty relaxed and homebodyish we decided that it was still deserving of a fun summer signature libation.  :-)

I mentioned that I've been a little blender-friendly lately now that I finally have a blender that's capable of turning ice into beautifully creamy concoctions.  I have been having soooo much fun making everything from smoothies for my daughter to grown up drinks and I honestly can't say enough good things about my Ninja!  Why did I suffer through life with a sub-par blender for all of those years??

Anyway, I was looking for a way to put my new toy to use over Memorial Day weekend.  Those Frozen Mint Juleps were delicious, but I wanted to try something new.  I was going back and forth trying to decide between a couple of fun recipes, but the watermelon margaritas won out.  They were so pretty, plus they were created by a friend of mine and fellow Allstar, Jewel.  I got to spend some time with her a few months ago and she is SUCH an awesome girl!  Anyway, I knew her drink recipe would be amazing.  I did tweak it, but just barely.  I left the original ingredients alone, I just made a couple of small changes, like freezing the watermelon to turn this into a recipe for frozen margaritas and using grated orange zest rather than strips so that the drinks would be studded with the zesty goodness.  :-)

I really can't say enough good things about this recipe- it's seriously summer in a glass.  If you don't have time to freeze the watermelon ahead of time feel free to just mix up the watermelon mixture and pour over crushed ice like she did in the original recipe- I'm just such a sucker for a beautifully smooth and slushy drink!  I had a fairly average-size watermelon and I chopped up plenty to keep in the fridge for the family to snack on and froze the remaining watermelon in chunks, essentially turning them into watermelon ice cubes.

Just a word of warning, though- freezing the watermelon took far longer than I was expecting.  I was planning to serve these Saturday afternoon but after several hours in the deep freeze the watermelon still wasn't truly frozen through like an ice cube.  I ended up letting them sit and freeze overnight and making them the next day.  If you plan on making these the way I did just make sure to plan ahead a little.  I had LOTS of leftover watermelon, which is perfect because now I have freezer bags of frozen watermelon that I can use to whip these up whenever the mood strikes!  I like to make up a larger batch of the simple syrup while I'm at it and keep it in a mason jar in the fridge- that way you always have it at the ready!

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp orange zest
3 cups cubed seeded watermelon, FROZEN
1 C ice
3/4 cup tequila
1/4 cup lime juice
Salt or sugar for rimming glasses (optional)
1 lime, cut into wedges

1. Bring 1/2 cup sugar, water, and orange zest in a small saucepan to boil, stirring constantly. Simmer until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove simple syrup from heat and allow to cool completely.

2. Place watermelon, ice, simple syrup, tequila, and lime juice in a blender or food processor. Blend on high until smooth.

3. Optional: Place a small amount of salt or sugar into a saucer. Rub edge of margarita glasses with a lime wedge to moisten. Lightly dip the rim of the glass into the saucer to rim the glass; tap off excess salt or sugar.  Pour margarita mixture into glasses and garnish with lime wedges to serve.

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