Ten years ago or so, I was fresh from exiting a long relationship and eager to spread my wings. I wanted to live closer to the city and my job at the time, so I rented a cheap, small basement apartment that featured six-foot ceilings in the bathroom and hallway, and I convinced myself that with a little creativity and a golden retriever, I could make any place feel just like home.
One long winter later, I could see that I was dead wrong. I couldn’t breathe down there.
It was the only lesson I needed to learn about how important my living space was to me. I moved to a tiny, yet open and bright cottage overlooking the Puget Sound, and life got better. Much better. “I just know you’re going to find love while you’re here,” a friend grandly declared after stepping inside the front door for the first time.
I did find love – for myself (corny I know) and for my life alone – and then I met my guy and found that kind of love too. Eventually, I moved in with him, and we made his house our home. And now, we’re looking for the first house that we choose together. This might sound idyllic (if you haven’t been through the process), but yeah, notsomuch.
We are thankful we can do this, but it’s stressful. A home that’s just right for us is totally worth the craziness we’re knee deep in right now. Aside from love, for me, home is everything. It’s where you live, breathe, eat, love, find comfort, a respite from the crazy world, Shangri La. And it’s where you can sit outside on a sweet summer evening and sip glorious pink cocktails, if you so choose.
My segues are getting clunkier, aren’t they?
Please, take a moment, then, and focus on the drink above. See the bubbles, the frosty ice, that glorious flamingo hue. Imagine refreshing watermelon and lime, carbonation dancing on your tongue, the vodka that will make you go just a little bit warm. Go ahead, take a big swig. Did you forget my awkward writing yet?
This cocktail was inspired by agua fresca, a beverage I’ve finally started dabbling with. I’ve thrown lemon slices and cucumber and peppermint into water, sure, but I’d never pureed fruit and added the perfect balance of sugar and water and ice and served it on a hot summer day. That has changed lately, and a recipe or two is forthcoming.
But if you know me at all, you know I had to go straight for the good stuff first. I had to spike some with vodka, stat, and add some sparkling water, and lo and behold, a summer cocktail that’s pretty and refreshing.
Especially after a long, exhausting day of house hunting. Noooo basements, please.
Watermelon Vodka Sparkler
- 2 cups cubed watermelon
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (1 or 2 medium limes, depending on juiciness)
- 2 tablespoons sugar + more to taste
- 1/2 cup good vodka
- 10 fresh mint leaves
- 2 cups club soda
- In a blender or food processor, puree the watermelon. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and discard solids. In a medium bowl, a pitcher, or a medium-size mason jar, stir together the watermelon juice, lime juice, and sugar. Taste and add additional sugar if you'd like and depending on the sweetness of your watermelon; you want it to be fairly sweet, but still refreshing. Add vodka and mint leaves. Cover with plastic wrap or an airtight lid and refrigerate for at least two hours and up to 24 hours.
- Remove mint leaves. Fill four glasses with ice and fill halfway with watermelon mixture. Top off with club soda. Serve with a straw.