In the Philippines, melon usually refers to the cantaloupe or rockmelon. That’s about the only variety found in the market for ages because it is the variety that is grown locally. It was not only until the last decade that imported honeydews, sugar melons and hami melons started to make an appearance and gained some popularity here.
I mention the variety of melons because the original recipe for this slushy drink had honeydew. We, however, well Speedy actually, opted for cantaloupe. And who did the original recipe? One of the few chefs we watch on TV — Giada de Laurentiis. Ah, Giada… you do know how to make the most refreshing drinks. We’ve been adding mint leaves to our smoothies and aguas frescas for some time now — but ginger ale and pureed fruit? Now, that’s something new. Surprisingly wonderful. The ginger ale makes a lighter and more bubbly drink.
Now, if you’re going to ask if other varieties of melon will work too, I’ll say go for it and find out. I’m 99% sure they will although, of course, the drink will probably taste and look different. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, really. Who knows? Using sugar melon or hami melon might result is an even better slush. But don’t use bitter melon because that’s an altogether different thing.
What about the mint leaves? Does it have to be peppermint? I’d say no but, if you use some other variety of mint, the flavor will vary.
- 4 cups diced and seeded melon preferably chilled
- 2 cups crushed ice
- 15 large peppermint leaves (see notes after the recipe), plus more to garnish
- 1 and 1/2 cups ginger ale preferably chilled
- sugar to taste (optional)
Put the diced melon and ice in the pitcher of the blender.
Pulse a few times to break up the diced melon.
Switch to high speed and process for 30 seconds.
Add the peppermint leaves. Process for about 10 seconds or just until the mint leaves are cut into small pieces.
Pour in the ginger ale. Pulse a few times to mix.
Pour the drink into glasses. Stir in sugar, if you prefer.
Some people don’t like very minty flavor. For instance, everyone in Speedy’s family thinks that eating anything with mint is like eating toothpaste. So, you may want to consider that when deciding just how much mint leaves to use. But I don’t recommend doing away with the mint altogether — it is the mint that makes this drink cool-in-the-mouth refreshing.
How much sugar to use is a matter or personal taste. The amount also depends on how sweet or bland the melon is.