When it comes to favorite Texas produce, cantaloupe must be on the list somewhere between pecans and cilantro.
Most commercially grown Texas cantaloupes come from Pecos, or the nearby town of Coyanosa located just about 30 miles south. The soil there has the perfect balance of nutrients to produce the sweetest fruit possible. For several reasons the cost of growing the cantaloupe has increased at an alarming rate and more and more of the fruit is coming in from California, Arizona, Honduras, and Guatemala.
For those who want to identify Texas cantaloupe at their grocery store, the fruit with a Pecos sticker can only be found in stores during July and August. Farmer’s markets and roadside stands often have the fruits for a slightly longer period of time.
Cantaloupe is a sweet, juicy summer treat that nearly everyone loves and is probably one of the easiest desserts on the planet eaten plain. Still, if a fresh cantaloupe is the only way you have ever eaten the fruit, then you have missed out on some delicious sweets. Believe it or not, over the years cantaloupe has been used to make cakes, pies, cookies, jams, ice cream, and even cocktails!
You can dice ripe cantaloupe and freeze it to be used in recipes all year long. Cantaloupe freezer jam is a burst of summer flavor when that cooler air drifts in during the winter. Cantaloupe is a unique and refreshing twist on the Salty Dog cocktail when the Rio Star grapefruits are no longer in season. And ice cream? Who could pass up creamy, rich ice cream with sweet cantaloupe flavor – especially when no churn is needed?
Cantaloupe Salty Dog
Yeilds 2 Cocktails
Grapefruit is the usual ingredient in a Salty Dog cocktail, but cantaloupe offers a unique change of flavor. Sweet cantaloupe, tangy lime, and a touch of wild honey vodka come together in this beautiful, refreshing drink. If you cannot find wild honey vodka, just use all vodka and add a teaspoon or two of honey to the shaker.
- 2 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Honey, for salting the rims
- 1 ½ cups cantaloupe puree, (1/2 cantaloupe)
- Juice from 1 lime
- 3 ounces vodka
- 1-ounce wild honey vodka
- Mix 2 tablespoons of Kosher salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
- Pour onto a saucer.
- Rub a narrow line of honey around the rims of 2 glasses.
- Roll in the salt mixture.
- Strain the cantaloupe puree to separate the juice and pulp.
- Add the lime juice, vodka, wild honey vodka, and 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt to a shaker filled with ice.
- Shake well.
- Strain into glasses rimmed with the salt mixture and filled with crushed ice.
- Garnish as desired and serve.