Heartichoke: Orange Watermelon & Jalapeño Mimosa

Happy theme change Monday! I actually made this cocktail in advance before my departure to New York, but as imagined, life is moving quickly, and since it’s hiatus, I can pretend weekdays don’t exist.

What’s a girl to do when the thought of enjoying a spicy Bloody Mary for breakfast, even one made from heirloom tomatoes, is simply too exhausting?

She still wants her Sunday relaxing, but she wants to skip the french press for something a bit more refreshing, yet relaxing. For something a little more daring, even fiery.

The following cocktail made this girl freak out a bit, because I think I found that answer, and it will certainly become a summer weekend mainstay: the Orange Watermelon & jalepeño-fied mimosa.

It all started with this small, way-end-of-summer, mini watermelon hanging out on my kitchen table, moved on to fresh juicing (pitted, pureed, and double-strained juice), the addition of bubbles, and was completed with the slicing of hot peppers. Every summer there’s a farmers market find that takes precedence on my weekly visits – a find that I can’t seem to stock up enough on, and this summer, it was definitely a seemingly endless variety of local hot peppers. I sautéed, pickled, minced, scrambled, roasted, pureed, used whole and sliced galore, and it was about time one found its way into a beverage. This version includes that vibrant, freshly pureed orange watermelon juice, but you could simply use red watermelon, or actual orange juice, or a mix, or any other sweet, fresh juice you enjoy drinking.

The addition of sliced peppers gives each glass just a touch of heat. If you crave more intensity, add an additional pepper, or consider crushing them into the bottom of your glass before the drink is added, or better yet, puree a half or whole pepper with the watermelon mixture. And if you do add more heat, I’d recommend adding a tiny spoonful of agave to balance things out.

Orange (Watermelon) & Jalapeño Mimosa

Basic ratios:

Pour equal parts vegan-friendly Cava or Prosecco & fresh watermelon juice (or orange juice! etc.) into a glass. Squeeze in a lime wedge’s worth of juice, drop in a slice, and top with at least three slices of jalapeno pepper.

If you want more heat, smash additional jalapeno slices in a small bowl – or with a mortar and pestle, and add to each glass before making the drink, and top with a bit of agave before adding the rest of the liquid.

Enjoy!

Garnish suggestions: fresh mint, sliced lime, and of course, sliced jalapeño.

Serve with brunch or a tropical dinner.

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