Like most of the country, August has come to Wisconsin with a vengeance. While I am not overly bothered by the heat-you can’t be if you’ve spent most of your life in professional kitchens-this heatwave has caught me off guard and I find myself seeking cooling refreshments as often as possible. My usual goto’s, in summer-apart from the plethora of alcoholic beverages I’ve been known to consume-are often sun tea and, a personal favorite, Iced Lemon Balm Tea. This heatwave called for something different though.

Luckily, my wife, Wanda, had just picked up a rather large watermelon and I was keen on making something out of that. While Watermelon Lemonade is the first thing to come to mind, if given a choice between Lemonade and Limeade, I will almost always choose the limeade. Not that I’ve ever said ‘no’ to a glass of freshly made lemonade, but if given the choice I prefer limeade. Why that is, I’m not sure. No matter what you prefer, you just can’t go wrong combining watermelon and citrus to create a refreshing summertime drink. If you prefer lemonade then, by all means, replace the lime juice with lemon juice. It will taste just as good. Whatever you do, though, please stay away from the bottled juice, and don’t even think about using that stuff that comes in those little plastic lemons and limes. That stuff has lost all of its freshness and complexity leaving you with nothing but sour juice. Besides, how hard is it to juice a few lemons or limes. You haven’t gotten that lazy have you?

Watermelon Limeade
makes 1/2 gallon

10 cups or more seedless watermelon, rind removed and diced small
1 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 lime, sliced into rings

Puree the watermelon, in a blender. Strain through a fine mesh sieve or through 2 layers of cheesecloth to remove most of the solids. You should end up with 1 1/2 quarts of watermelon juice.

Place watermelon juice in a pitcher and add the remaining ingredients. Taste, adding more sugar or more lime juice to get the balance of sweet and sour just right for your taste. It should be a little on the strong side so that when poured over ice it doesn’t become to diluted. Place in the refrigerator and allow to chill for, at least 1 hour. Fill a glass with ice, pour in the watermelon limeade and garnish with a wheel of fresh lime.

You can easily turn this into a fun, summertime cocktail.  Just add a shot of vodka, or better yet had a bit of gin and a bit of St. Germaine.