Clarified Watermelon Margarita
It's hard to beat a margarita as a refreshing summer sipper. And nothing says summer quite like fresh watermelon. So I decided to combine the two. If you follow my cocktail musings you know I have a thing for clarity. Whether it's clear ice or spirit forward cocktails I love to be able to see the sun streaming through my glass highlighting the liquid within. So instead or just juicing the watermelon and tossing it together (which would taste just fine) I combined the watermelon and lime juice together and clarified it. If you aren't familiar with the process of clarifying it removes all the solids (pulp) from your juice and leaves nothing but the clear essence and flavor of the juice behind. It's a beautiful effect.
Okay so how do you clarify? It's actually pretty easy. The internet is full of recipes, all of which require careful weighing and doing lots of math. Since most people don't like math I will give you a simple much less scientific recipe that seems to work fine for me. You need to buy some Agar Agar. It is available at speciality stores but I picked mine up on Amazon. it doesn't take a lot so a small package will do. My recipe is simple
- 4 cups juice
- 1 cup water
- 1 T. Agar Agar
In this recipe I used 3 ¼ cups watermelon juice and ¾ cup lime juice. To get the watermelon juice I scooped out the watermelon, put it in my Vitamix and blended away. Then I strained it through a fine mesh strainer to get out as many solids as I could before I started. I ended up with about 3.5 cups of strained juice from half of a medium sized watermelon.
Mix the water and agar agar in a medium sauce pan until combined. Put on the stove and bring to a boil, whisking the whole time. Let it boil for a couple minutes continuously whisking. Take off the heat and slowly pour in your watermelon-lime juice whisking the whole time. Plunge the pan into ice water to cool it quickly. It will begin to gel. After about 5-10 minutes it will gel completely. When you give it a stir it should be the consistency of cottage cheese. You should be able to start seeing a bit of the clear liquid separating at the edges. When it's well gelled put it through cheesecloth or an almond milk bag (which I like way better because I can wash and reuse). You should be able to squeeze it and have the liquid run out clear and the solids stay in the bag. If the solids come too it's not gelled enough, give it a bit more time and try again. You will end up with 5-6 ounces of juice - so it's not a high yield process. But you can certainly double the batch if you need more. Ok so now the cocktail...
- 2 ounces Blanco Tequila
- 1 ounce watermelon-lime juice
- .5 ounce simple syrup
- .25 ounce Grand Marnier
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- watermelon wedge and black lava salt to garnish
Still all of the ingredients over ice until well chilled. Serve in a coupe glass and garnish with the watermelon slice and lava salt.
The options with clarifying are limited only by your imagination. Strawberries are wonderful clarified. If you want another stunning example take a look at how clarifying tomato juice takes the Bloody Mary up about 10 notches!