Good For What Ails Ya’
Tonic: pertaining to, maintaining, increasing, or restoring the tone or health of the body or an organ, as a medicine.
I personally associate the word tonic with two things. First is gin and tonic, my standard wedding reception cocktail of choice. Second are old B&W films where there’s a guy with a funny looking horse-drawn wagon standing up on the back of it, surrounded by a crowd, barking out promises of how So-and-So and Son’s tonic water is good for anything that ails the common man! I had a pretty vivid imagination as a child (and still do, now that I think of it) so I spent more than a few slow summer afternoons picking dandelions and mixing them with muddy water before putting the concoction in a bottle, thinking I’d get me a horse and wagon next. I think I might have made my brother drink it once…
Anyway, several years and many reminiscences later, I got around to creating a grown-up (AND drinkable!) tonic that is indeed good for what ails ya! Watermelon and Honey Tonic (with a dash of vanilla vodka by times) is pretty, refreshing and downright relaxing when you drink it. I kinda felt like I was in one of those TV commercials on right now where the lady drinks yogurt or something and she goes from gray to color again or drops off cholesterol or something. Like I said, I have a vivid imagination.
Beyond its soothing properties, this tonic also holds merit as a way to use up some past-its-prime watermelon – ya know, the kind that’s overly grainy and a little too mushy? Seeds are no problem either since you’ll be pressing everything through a strainer anyway. See, this tonic really is good for whatever might ail ya!
WATERMELON AND HONEY TONIC
Adapted from The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Four Ingredient Cooking
4 c. cubed fresh watermelon (about half of a nice size melon)
4 c. chilled spring water
1 lemon or lime, juiced
1 t. of honey
4 T. vanilla vodka (optional)
pinch of salt
Don’t worry about seeding the watermelon – just cut it into chunks and put in a large bowl. Cover with chilled spring water and let stand for 10 minutes.
Using a potato masher or fork, begin mashing up the watermelon pieces. Place large fine mesh strainer over another large bowl. Dump half the watermelon into the strainer and press with a large spoon until it has released all its juices. Do the same with the other half and pour all remaining juice into the juice bowl.
Stir in the lemon or lime juice, honey and vodka (if using). Add the pinch of salt and stir well. Chill a couple glasses in the freezer for 5 minutes before serving. Pour tonic over an ice cube or two in the chilled glass and garnish with a mint leaf. Serve immediately. Tonic will store a day or two in the fridge.
Double the recipe for a party!