In Southwest Florida, it’s always barbecue season, so refining the cocktail concept for some refreshing sips that are fun to make is a must. Using nectary fruits, tropical selections and big juicy melons like peaches, apricots, watermelons and mango, we’re taking healthy wholefoods and turning them into something a little more adult, by pureeing them to a pulp for a Mason jar cocktail.
So here’s the twist. There is nothing worse then throwing a party for all your friends, just to be stuck behind the bar making cocktails all night. And simply stocking a cooler with beer is fine in a pinch, but can be rather blasé. So our proposal is this: Setup a little DIY cocktail table. All you need are Mason jars, a bucket of ice, vodka, freshly pureed fruit juice, a little elbow grease and bingo, dino DNA.
Follow the steps below and enjoy!
For these sweet Southwest Florida cocktails, four fruits caught our eye: Mango, peaches, watermelon and apricots, but there are plenty of other fruits and berries hitting the fresh markets right about now, so experiment, there is no wrong way to make these.
Step 1, Puree
To give your guests some options, each fruit is made into its own puree for the base of the cocktails. To start, peel the fruit. The apricots and peaches will need a little TLC, so I propose blanching. It is the easiest way to peel the fruit without bruising and juicing the poor devils.
For a simple, less time-consuming solution, canned peaches and apricots will work (one 15 oz. can converts to about 7 oz. of puree). Get the sliced or halved selection in juice, not heavy syrup. Before pureeing, empty the fruit into a colander and rinse in cold water to remove any extra syrup.
Bring a large pot to a boil. Place peaches in pot, completely submerging them for about a minute. When the peel begins to loosen, remove with a slotted spoon and immediately place in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. The skin should peel off easily.
Once all the fruit is peeled, it’s time to puree in individual batches. Chop fruit over food processor, removing pit (or seeds in case of the watermelon), allowing juice and fruit to fall into reservoir. Puree until silky smooth; set aside in a Mason jar and chill until serving.
Rinse food processor; repeat until all fruit has been pureed and set in respective jars.
For three drinks, or about 7 oz. of puree, the following amount of fruit is needed:
- 2 cups of chopped watermelon
- 4 peaches
- 8 apricots
- 1 mango
Step 2, Party Hearty
Set the table so that access is easy. You also may want to use a tablecloth that can be bleached; this will be rather messy. To make this concept a hit, there are a few musts in order:
- Ice, in bucket with scoop
- Pint-sized Mason jars and lids
- Vodka (Tito’s Handmade Vodka)
- Simple Syrups: in our case, homemade blueberry simple syrup and homemade raspberry simple syrup (recipe below, click here)
- Club Soda
- Garnishes, anything will do, in our case, raspberries, blueberries, mint, basil and rosemary
- Napkins, lots and lots of napkins
- Optional: Jigger or shot glass
Summertime Mason Jar Cocktail
These particular cocktails can be made in nine simple steps (including the drinking and repeating part of the equation) and takes about a minute.
- 1 part fruit puree (2 oz.)
- 1 part vodka (2 oz.)
- ½ part simple syrup (1 oz.)
- 4 to 5 berries of your choosing
- 3 to 4 leaves of your favorite herbs
- Club Soda
In a Mason jar, add berries (4 to 5 per drink) and herbs (3 to 4 leaves per drink), muddle. Now choose a puree for the drink base. Using the markings on the jar, add one part puree (2 oz. mark), one-part vodka (4 oz. line), and ½ part simple syrup (roughly 5 oz. marker). Add ice, about three quarters of the jar, and top with club soda. Seal lid and shake until everything is thoroughly mixed. Garnish with herbs and enjoy. Rinse and repeat.
For a more visual routine, check the infographic below. (To download this handy-dandy recipe guide, click here for the PDF.)
Mix and match the fruit purees, berry combinations and simple syrups, there are no wrong answers to this equation. A few of our favorite combinations are:
Apricot, Blueberry Simple Syrup, Blueberries and Mint
Peach, Raspberry Simple Syrup, Raspberries and Rosemary
Watermelon, Blueberry Simple Syrup, Blueberry and Basil
Mango and Mint
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup fruit (blueberry or raspberry)
In a small saucepan over medium heat, add sugar and water. Add berries and allow to cook for a minute before crushing with a fork; stir. Heat until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool, allowing the fruit to steep. Double strain syrup into a Mason jar, enjoy.