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Watermelon sorbet with rose, mint, and gin


I realized recently that this move to Madison is really only the second time in my life that I’ve had a significant move. The first was moving to California for college. I’ve moved up and down to Oregon a few times, but always for a defined period of time, and even the first few times it was with someone who already knew the lay of the land. College was a pretty easy transition, complete with a summer camp-like few weeks of orientation and activities, but this is an entirely different beast. We have little idea of where even the simplest things are in town, and the list of administrative tasks to take care of (e.g. new driver’s licenses) is about a mile long. We sold or otherwise disposed of most of our household items when we left California last summer, meaning we’re starting almost from scratch in a lot of ways, and after five days of driving across the country we were left with mountains of boxes to unpack and an ever-changing collection of shopping lists and errands to run.

It’s been a little exhausting.

More than a little.

But we’ve made great progress in setting up our kitchen and have already made some great meals and started in on some fun kitchen projects (I bet you’re not surprised about that). Thus far the farmers’ markets and grocery stores here have been incredibly promising, and we’re looking forward to making the most of what’s left of summer and warm weather seasonal items. It’s been fairly warm and muggy, especially as we’ve been assembling furniture and doing a lot of heavy lifting, so when we picked up a watermelon I knew exactly what it was meant for – sorbet. I’ve made watermelon sorbet in the past and have always been pleased at how it maintains the fruit’s texture and flavor without being too sweet, tart, or intense (again, perfectly refreshing for summer), and this time I decided to add some other subtle and refreshing flavors – mint, rose, and gin (which also helps keep the sorbet from freezing too hard). It’s a light, refreshing treat perfect for hot afternoons when you don’t want anything heavy.

If you don’t have gin, other things (like vodka) will work just fine (just note that I add it in after cooking the sugar mixture, so the sorbet retains the alcohol content). If you don’t have the mint or the rosewater, the watermelon alone will still shine, so don’t fret too much. This is not the sort of thing to be fretted over, in general. It’s easy to put together and certainly easy to eat, and might help make sweltering afternoons a little lighter, whether or not you have a room in your house you refer to as “box purgatory.”

Watermelon sorbet with rose, mint, and gin

Makes about 1 quart

  • About 4 cups of cubed seedless (or de-seeded) watermelon, or enough to make 2 1/2 cups of watermelon puree
  • 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp.) lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Around 8 mint leaves, divided
  • 1 tsp. rose water
  • 2 Tbsp. gin

– Puree the watermelon in a food processor or blender until it has a mostly even texture (some small chunks may not process, and that’s okay). Measure out 2 1/2 cups of puree and set aside.

– Prepare the sugar solution Combine the lemon juice, water, sugar, and 5 of the mint leaves in a small pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let sit at least 10 minutes to cool down before combining with the other ingredients. Using a slotted spoon, fish out the whole mint leaves from the sugar solution and discard.

– Combine ingredients Mince the remaining 3 or so mint leaves. Whisk these together with the watermelon puree, sugar solution, rose water, and gin. Let chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, until cold (alternatively, if you’re short on time you can pour it into a ziploc bag and submerge the bag in an ice bath for 10-15 minutes).

– Churn into sorbet Prepare in an ice cream maker according to your maker’s instructions.

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