In the tradition of memorable beverages like the Harvey Wallbanger and the Arnold Palmer, I’m going to name my most recent smoothie/cocktail creation after my friend Jill. Why? Because she’s nuts about watermelons – she’s capable of consuming an entire melon in one sitting. (I wish I could do the same with my beloved pineapples, but my tongue turns fuzzy after eating less than half of one.)
While I’m not quite as ardent about watermelons as Jill is, I agree that they’re one of the best fruits of summer: they’re messily fun to eat, you can have pit-spitting contests with seeded watermelons, and seedless varieties make a great base for a blended beverage. Their extreme sweetness also means that they pair well with almost any other kind of fruit. When choosing watermelons, look for ones that are unblemished and heavy for their size. A slight yellowing at the stem plus a pronounced watermelon fragrance are usually good indications that the melon is ripe. If none of the melons match that description, just plan on letting a melon ripen on your countertop (out of direct sunlight) for a few days.
Blend trimmed chunks of seedless watermelon with a few fresh mint leaves and a spoonful of coconut milk until you reach your desired consistency. (More watermelon = more watery and more coconut milk = thicker.) For this martini-sized portion, for example, I used a quarter of a baby watermelon, a tablespoonful of coconut, and four mint leaves. Other good additions include tropical fruits and/or any member of the berry family. I used my remaining melon to make a smoothie with papaya, coconut, and mint one day; the next, I made one with strawberry, coconut, and mint. Yum!
Pour smoothie (or cocktail, if you add a shot of rum while blending) into a striking glass, garnish with a sprig of mint, and serve. You can serve The Jill on the rocks if you like, or you can toss a few ice cubes into the mix when you first blend your drink.