by Annie Fenn
It happens every summer right about now. Happily exhausted from the frenzy of visitors, the all-day Teton hikes, and the long sunny days under impossibly blue skies, I retire to my deck for a day of restoration.
Here is a drink for such a day. This Watermelon Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic will hydrate you, restore you, and happily accompany you on the deck, where your only exertion involves opening a book and sipping your drink.
Although 5 O'Clock in the Tetons is a column dedicated to sharing my favorite cocktails, this tonic contains no alcohol. Which means you don’t have to wait until 5 o'clock to enjoy it. But it is a decidedly grown-up drink nonetheless, as the watermelon is transformed into a not-too-sweet elixir with a tart vinegary edge.
Drink vinegar? You’ll have to trust me on this one.
Watermelon Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic Recipe
This recipe was adapted from Louisa Shafia’s The New Persian Kitchen, a cookbook full of intriguing and healthy recipes featuring rose petals, lime, pomegranate, sumac, pistachios, saffron, and mint. Shafia describes Persian food as “a lush garden in the desert”, which is how I like to think of our beautiful valley in the Tetons.
Makes 5 cups concentrate, for 20 one-cup servings.
3 cups water, plus
more to serve
¼ teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup good-quality honey (I use Wonderful Wyoming Honey)
6 cups cubed watermelon
1 cup tightly packed fresh spearmint
1 cup apple cider vinegar
Fresh slices of watermelon and cucumber, and mint leaves to garnish.
1. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add the honey and stir to dissolve. Remove
from the heat.
2. Combine watermelon and mint in a large bowl. Stir in the honey and water syrup. Let cool to room temperature, and then add the vinegar.
3. Place in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
4. Strain through a sieve, saving the pickled watermelon for a refreshing snack.
1. Place 1/4 cup tonic in an ice-filled glass with 3/4 cup still or sparkling water. Garnish.
2. Fill a pitcher 1/2 full with ice. And 1 part tonic and 3 parts still or sparkling water. Garnish.
After twenty years of practicing OB/GYN, Annie Fenn traded in her surgical gown for an apron and spoon. She now writes about cooking, growing, and foraging for food at www.jacksonholefoodie.com. She splits her time between Jackson, WY and Felt, ID with one very tall husband, two soccer and skiing-obsessed sons, and two semi-obedient hunting dogs.