I love summer! Those were three little words that I never uttered when I lived in NYC. It was too hot and humid for me to enjoy summer there, but here in Portland, summer is absolutely gorgeous. Even on days when it's very hot, the humidity stays much lower than that of NYC.
One of the reasons I love summer here so much, is the abundance of fresh, local fruit available to us as Pacific Northwesterners. Last week I did a cocktail with cherries because it's stone fruit season, but it's also melon season, and I was super excited to try a cocktail with something other than the standard watermelon. That led me to honey dew.
I haven't always been a fan of honey dew. It can be utterly inedible when it's not ripe, and when it's over-ripe, it's way too sweet for my taste. And let's face it, the kind of honey dew you get in a fruit salad is always pallid and sad looking, and for most people, that's their only exposure to the fruit. So, for this drink I really wanted to pay it it's proper due by using it's beautiful sweetness to bring life to some whiskey, by infusing the whisky with the melon. I chose Monkey Shoulder Blended Whisky for it's creamy, maltiness, and it was a great pairing with the melon.
The melon flavor in the whisky seemed like it would lend itself well to ginger and lime. I was going to use mint in the cocktail, but something has been eating my mint in the garden, and I opted for some pineapple sage. It was a good choice, because it really enhanced the tropical notes of the cocktail. It ended up being a really delicious mix of flavors and I'm excited to try experimenting more with the infused whisky in some other cocktails.
Monkey See, Monkey Dew
- 1 1/2 oz Honey Dew Infused Monkey Shoulder*
- 1 oz Lime Juice
- 3/4 oz Barrow's Intense Ginger Liqueur
- 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
- Pineapple Sage
Combine Simple Syrup, Pineapple Sage, and Lime Juice in a mixing tin. Muddle slightly, add remaining ingredients and shake well with ice. Pour over crushed ice and garnish with a fresh Pineapple Sage sprig.
*Honey Dew Infused Monkey Shoulder
- 1/2 Honey Dew Melon, cubed
- 1/2 Bottle Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Whisky
Add the fresh fruit to a large mason jar. Add the whisky and let it sit for a week. Strain out the solids (I strained through a fine mesh sieve twice and then a coffee filter) and put it in an airtight jar. Side Note: When you're infusing with fresh fruit, you have to be careful to get all the little bits of fruit out, otherwise it can get funky over time, and you don't want to waste your whole infusion because you didn't strain it properly. Same goes for storage. If you want to keep a fresh fruit infusion good for more than a week, store it in an airtight container and leave it in the fridge.