Turn Watermelon Rinds Into a Fancy Cocktail Cordial

Turn Watermelon Rinds Into a Fancy Cocktail Cordial

The question “What do I do with these watermelon rinds?” was answered long ago, and you probably already know the answer, especially if you’re from the South. Watermelon rinds become watermelon pickles, and the crisp, kind of flavourless scrap is rendered soft, tangy, and (often) a little spicy. But pickles aren’t the only watermelon rind project you should make this summer, especially if you’re a fan of juicy cocktails.

Making a watermelon cordial out of the rinds solves two issues: It takes care of the scraps, yes, but it also lets you add watermelon flavour to drinks (both alcoholic and not) without the dreaded “pink scum.” According to PUNCH, the flesh of the melon is a bit persnickety when incorporated into beverages:

“The pink flesh doesn’t sit well in drinks,” says Kelsey Ramage, of the sustainability-minded Trash Collective, describing the way watermelon’s “pink scum” tends to float atop drinks. Plus, juicing or incorporating the flesh of the fruit leaves the rind behind as waste.

Making the melon cordial is easy. Toss 2 parts sugar with 1 part rinds by mass, making sure to wash and cube the rinds into 2- to 4-inch cubes before combining. Seal in a large container and let sit overnight, then blend rinds and sugar syrup in a high-power blender and strain through a fine mesh sieve.

The flavour of your cordial will depend on the flavour of your melon, and the amount of flesh left on the rind:

More flesh yields a flavour akin to each fruit’s typical sweet-tart character, whereas less flesh brings out a grassy, slightly vegetal side.

It’s also bright green, which is pretty cool.

The cordial will keep for a couple days in the fridge, and is best used a sweetener (modifier), rather than a substitute for a juice. Sub it in for simple syrup in tropical drinks, and sip your way to that summer feeling. (Mix it with pineapple peel gin if you want to get real fruity.)


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