Cantaloupe and mint are two of the most refreshing flavors of the season. We combine them, along with a generous amount of lemon juice and tequila, in this recipe to create a cool, invigorating summer drink. Begin with something every good bartender should be able to make: a simple syrup. Also known as bar syrup, simple syrup is used in chilled drinks calling for a dash of sweetness. Regular granulated sugar can be slow to dissolve in a cold liquid, but simple syrup, an easy mixture of sugar and boiling water, blends in smoothly and easily. This recipe uses fresh mint leaves as an aromatic in the simple syrup. Steeping an aromatic in the simple syrup is an easy way to add another layer of flavor to your drink. Once you have added the aromatics to the syrup, remove the pan from heat and allow the mixture to steep for about half an hour. Pour the syrup through a wire mesh strainer and discard all solids. If you have extra simple syrup, keep it in an airtight container in your fridge for up to a week.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups water, separated
10 mint sprigs, separated
6 cups chopped cantaloupe (from 1 [3-lb.] melon)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
2 cups cold water
1 1/4 cups tequila
How to Make It
Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup water, and 5 mint sprigs in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, and cool completely (about 30 minutes). Discard mint sprigs.
Process 6 cups chopped cantaloupe and 1/2 cup water in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a pitcher, discarding solids. Stir in mint syrup, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 2 cups cold water, 1 1/4 cups tequila, and 5 mint sprigs. Chill until very cold, about 4 hours.
Serve over ice, and garnish with mint sprigs and cantaloupe.