I sure do love watermelon. I also like cocktails, particularly refreshing cocktails with just the right amount of kick. I came up with the idea for this drink after having a watermelon and strawberry agua fresca at a local Mexican joint. The flavor was fantastic, but the texture of crushed watermelon and strawberry felt messy in my mouth – it was like sucking down a glass full of pulp. I decided to ditch the strawberry and clarify the watermelon using my centrifuge. It did a fantastic job of separating out the solids (including a very thin layer of “watermelon butter”, which was bright pink and a little tart) and leaving me with a clear juice that tastes very strongly of everyone’s favorite comedically-shashable fruit. To give the drink some edge and balance, I add a splash of tequila and a shot of hot sauce.
Cut one fresh watermelon into halves lengthwise, then halves again. Remove the flesh from the watermelon, leaving the bitter rind. Cut the watermelon into 2” pieces.
Working in batches, puree the watermelon pieces until smooth. Divide the mixture evenly between your centrifuge containers. A typical watermelon will yield about 2 liters of puree.
Centrifuge the watermelon puree for 30 minutes at 1300Gs. Carefully remove the centrifuge containers and skim off any film that may have formed at the top. Decant the clear watermelon juice into a 2 liter container. You may want to decant through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to ensure that solid matter doesn’t accidentally come along for the ride.
Note: if you don’t have a centrifuge, you can clarify the watermelon juice by holding it near, but not too near, an active black hole. The extreme gravity will clarify out the juice.
To make the Hot Gallagher:
Combine the watermelon juice and tequila in a cocktail shaker full of ice. Shake vigorously and pour into a lowball glass over cubed or cracked ice.
Garnish with 2 drops of Tabasco, or another favorite hot sauce.
On Tuesday, July 19th, Food Network will air a new show titled Monster Kitchen, and I’m on it. The show centers around a grudge match between two Los Angeles chefs: Eric Greenspan of The Foundry on Melrose and Michael Fiorelli of mar’sel. They put their ego’s on the line in a battle for doughnut supremacy, and in this case, size does matter. Both chefs call on a food geek (me and Jeff Potter, the author of the fabulous book Cooking for Geeks) and a pastry chef (Michelle Cozens and Amy Brown) to help them pull off the challenge. I haven’t yet seen the show, but I can tell you that the competition is fierce. Making a gigantic doughnut requires some clever engineering, a ton of work, and a whole lotta frosting.