I am not even kidding you, Mel, I am in the middle of a watermelon crime scene!

Needless to say, the above text piqued my curiosity when it came through from my dear friend, Amy. A watermelon crime scene? I couldn’t comprehend what the heck she was talking about.

And then her second text arrived.

A watermelon I bought a couple of days ago literally EXPLODED on my kitchen counter.

And then the pictures started coming through and they were not pretty. Her photos showed a large, oddly-collapsed, thin-skinned watermelon laying on her kitchen counter with mushy, rosy-hued fruit flung all over the room. Sticky pink juice could be seen dripping down her cabinets and even filled the dog dishes nestled on the floor.

While the pictures were shocking, according to my friend, they couldn’t convey just how funky the whole scene smelled. As it turns out watermelons can occasionally pick up a bacteria during the growing process and over time the resulting infection causes the fruit to ferment from the inside-out. As the pressure builds inside the melon, the rind gives way with a loud kaboom, and creates a geyser of fermented fruit juice.

Despite the fact she may have accidentally pioneered a recipe for Hands Free Exploding Watermelon Kimchi, Amy lamented it would likely be a hot minute before she could enjoy a watermelon again after spending the afternoon cleaning rancid fruit juice off her walls . I can’t say I blame her, but I’d hate to see her give up on a tried-and-true summer treat all because of one misbehaving melon.

After this sort of culinary betrayal I’d urge anyone to take control of the situation by executing a controlled explosion of sorts; whizzing up a fresh watermelon in a blender is a fast and satisfying way to make a melon submit to your will.The resulting agua fresca can be used as drink on its own, as a partner for sparking wine or as a base for a soothing vodka cocktail.

Frankly, I figured a cocktail might be just the thing to get Amy to make friends with watermelon again or at the very least calm her nerves after such an unexpected kitchen kaboom!

Controlled Explosion Cocktail (makes 1 cocktail)

Watermelon Agua Fresca with Vodka, Basil and Mint

You will have leftover agua fresca, but you could cut the recipe in half or keep it around for regular sipping for a couple of days.

For the Agua Fresca:

  • 5 Cups of diced seedless watermelon
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 ½ Cups water
  • The juice of 1 fresh lime (reserve the rind)
  • ½ teaspoon of salt

Combine the watermelon, sugar, water, lime juice and salt in a blender. Blend until pureed. Strain the mixture through a mesh sieve, discard solids, and refrigerate the juice until cold; several hours or overnight.

For the Cocktail:

  • ½ reserved lime rind
  • 2 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 fresh mint leaf
  • 2 ounces high-quality vodka
  • 5 ounces prepared watermelon agua fresca (a generous ½ Cup)

For the Garnishes:

  • mint sprigs
  • nectarine slices
  • blueberries

Place the half of the lime rind, basil and mint leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker and muddle gently with a wooden spoon or stainless steel muddler-your goal is to just bruise the leaves. Add the vodka to the shaker and press with the muddler onece or twice more. Fill the shaker with ice and add the watermelon agua fresca. Cover and shake well for about 30 seconds. Strain the cocktail into an ice-filled rocks glass garnished with a mint sprig, nectarine slices and several blueberries.

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