bloody james

I love alcohol in the morning – who doesn’t? – but never quite liked bloody marys, because for some reason I don’t like tomato juice.  Which is odd because I love tomatoes; they are probably my favorite fruit.  Anyway, though I’ve tried, I could never get around to liking the bloody mary.  Fortunately, the Splendid Table has come along with this great recipe for “watermelon soup,” that, if converted into a drink, sort of reminded me of a bloody mary.  Maybe it’s a bit forced.

Bloody James

2-1/2 to 2-3/4 pounds sweet watermelon flesh (I had about 10 cups after blending)

Zest of 1 large lime

Juice of 2 large limes (about 1/2 cup)

1 Thai chili (seeds removed if you are sensitive to spice)

1 tsp fish sauce (yes; trust me)

10 or 12 fresh basil leaves from your wilty basil plant, coarsely chopped (or thai basil, in keeping with our ‘thai’ theme here)

15 or so mint leaves

Generous pinch of salt

4 or 5 grinds of black pepper

3 tablespoons sugar

Vodka or Gin


1. Toss everything except the vodka/gin and ice into a food processor or blender and puree.  You may have to work in batches.  Don’t worry if you have to blend some watermelon, set it aside, and then blend the rest of the watermelon plus the other ingredients separately.  It’s all going to be mixed together eventually, meaning right now.

2. Mix everything together and let it sit for 30 min our so (or longer?).  I don’t know if this step is necessary or does anything, but it seemed like a good idea.

3. Strain through a mesh strainer.  At this point you can taste it to see if it needs anything. (I even strained it, returned what was left to the food processor, and strained it again, but this is not essential).

4. Chill for a few hours.  So that it’s cold.

5. Fill a tall glass of ice, add a shot of vodka or gin and fill with watermelon drink.  You can garnish with a cube of watermelon, mint or basil, a lime slice, or all of the above.  How fancy!

The dominant flavor is still watermelon, but you can still taste the fresh herbs, a bit of sourness from the limes, and there is a definite ‘kick’, as they say (I left the seeds of the chili in).  The fish sauce kind of rounds out all the tastes (I initially made this without the fish sauce, but then added some slowly to my glass to see if it would be ok).  Also, it could do with more of anything – limes, sugar, mint, even chili (and of course gin…) – according to your taste and still be a nice watermelon drink.  And, you can easily adjust this after straining it, in some cases just with a garnish (a trick: if you place some sprigs of mint so that the leaves are just at the rim of the glass, when you go to take a sip you’ll get that mint aroma and it will make the taste more minty).

I have to admit I don’t have any vodka or gin on hand (I know, I know…) so I had this virgin.  Virgin, like the virgin queen, Elizabeth.  But this drink is not named after her, but rather King James, because he was as bloody if not more so than Queen Mary.  They were both quite bloody.  Because they were BLOODY ENGLISH TYRANTS.  Just like notorious brits King George, George Michael, Michael Caine, non-mimetic taxes, baked beans with ‘brown sauce'(?), Barack Obama, posh spice, and the spanish inquisition.

Happy fourth of July!

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One Response to bloody james

  1. aem321 says:

    Also, now that I think of it, a bit of fizzy water in the glass would be good too.

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