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Sparkling Cilantro-Mint Watermelonade

Mariel here. It’s been about nine months since I had my last cocktail. I was planning on “breaking the seal” at my best friend’s wedding a few weekends ago and indulging in one solitary glass of wine – my buddy’s husband knows LOTS about nice wines, so I figured if there was any time to sip on a third-trimester bev, that was the time – but unfortunately I got cold feet and stuck to sparkling water.

Somewhere over the course of this pregnancy I read that babies can taste what their mothers ingest, so if you snack on something super pungent or acidic, they make disapproving faces in utero. In retrospect, this sounds kind of absurd.

Nevertheless, because I’ve abstained for the past 36 weeks, why not just knock it out until the full 40? But since “Club Soda with Cranberry” is getting pretty stale, I decided to try my hand at a summery mocktail, one that might make up for all that teetotaling.

This fizzy, herb-infused watermelon juice hit the spot. It’s fresh and fruity and the effervescence suggests booze without displeasing any unborn children. I suspect – post-bebe – I’ll be adding a nip of vodka to my brew, but for now, bottom’s up!

Oh, incidentally, if you’re left with a plethora of herbs and agua-melon, use ’em in our Watermelon Bites with Cilantro-Mint Pesto.

Sparkling Cilantro-Mint Watermelonade
Makes about 2 liters

Ingredients:
¼-cup sugar – stock
¼-cup water – stock
½-cup fresh cilantro sprigs (plus some for garnishing) – $0.99
½-cup fresh mint sprigs (plus some for garnishing) – $1.29
~6 cups of seedless watermelon, cubed – $4.99
2½ cups seltzer – $0.69
Grand total assuming well-stocked kitchen: $7.69

Directions:
1. In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil. Add the fresh cilantro & mint, remove from heat and steep for 5 minutes. Strain the syrup into a measuring glass and set aside. Discard the wilted herbs.

2. In batches, transfer the cubed watermelon to a food processor or blender and puree until liquidy.

3. In a large pitcher, combine the watermelon juice, cilantro-mint syrup and seltzer. Stir well. Serve over ice garnished with fresh herbs (and maybe a mini-wedge of watermelon, if you’re feeling fancy)