Spicy Watermelon Margarita with Gochujang

Watermelon Gochujang Margarita

Sometimes the most fun drinks to make aren’t planned and labored over, but improvised using the ingredients you have on hand. That’s what happened when I was scrolling through Instagram this afternoon and discovered it’s National Tequila Day (or #NationalTequilaDay, if you will). Ooh, time to get cracking!

As you likely know by now, I love incorporating fresh fruits into my cocktails, but having just returned home from a road trip, my kitchen is woefully barren of fresh ingredients. I did, however, have a few limes plus watermelon cubes in the freezer (I’ve been making frozen watermelon and ginger slushies all summer long!). So I chucked the frozen watermelon in the blender with with a little water and strained the resulting slush to make watermelon juice. If you have a fresh watermelon, cut it into chunks and put them through a juicer or blender and then strain the juice through a fine-mesh strainer. Or just use a fork to mash up the watermelon cubes and extract the juice, and then strain.

So, tequila + watermelon + lime … clearly a margarita was taking shape. But it needed something more.

Watermelon Gochujang Margarita

Knocking about the pantry, I came upon a bottle of gochujang, the Korean fermented chile paste. Traditionally made from hot red peppers, rice, salt, a sweetener, and often soybeans, this deep red condiment is spicy, salty, sweet, and full of umami. Think of it like sriracha but more earthy and less sweet. Gochujang is a staple in our house, where we use it as a condiment in bibimbap, to make dipping sauces, grilled marinades, and more. It was just begging to be added to the cocktail.

The result was a gorgeous-colored margarita with sweetness and refreshment from the watermelon and a pleasantly spicy and piquant note from the gochujang. To enhance the Korean theme, I also garnished the drink with a sprig of Korean mint (Agastache rugosa) from my garden — not essential, but a fun touch if you happen to have some.

Have you ever used gochujang in a cocktail? I’d love to hear about it! Besides tequila I think it would pair well with mezcal, too…

Watermelon Gochujang Margarita

Watermelon Gochujang Margarita

Makes 1 drink

Ingredients

1/4 teaspoon gochujang

2/3 ounce agave nectar

3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

1 ounce watermelon juice

2 ounces blanco tequila

Ice cubes

Lime wheel, for garnish

Instructions

Combine the gochujang, agave nectar, lime juice, watermelon juice, and tequila in a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the lime wheel.

Notes

Gochujang brands differ, so depending on how sweet or spicy yours is, you may want to adjust the amount to strike the right balance for your tastes. I used Chung Jung One Gochujang, which is free of gluten and corn syrup. These two ingredients often make their way into commercial gochujang pastes, so read the label if you’re trying to steer clear of them.

Pre-order Wild Drinks and Get Free Bonus Recipes!

Wild Drinks and Cocktails

I recently sent in my final edits for Wild Drinks and Cocktails and thought I’d give you a sneak peek of the page proofs! Watching it evolve from my early brainstorming scribbles into a beautifully designed book has been quite the process. Along the way it has transformed from being my book into a collaboration between so many talented editors, designers, and sales and marketing folks … and soon it can be your book, too.

The importance of pre-orders

Before embarking on this project I occasionally pre-ordered books I was interested in, but I didn’t realize just how crucial pre-orders are. Now, every time a friend or someone whose work I like publishes a book, I pre-order it right away. Here’s why:

Pre-orders make a BIG difference to a title’s success. When publishers and booksellers (including everyone from Amazon and Barnes & Noble to your local indy store) see early interest in the book, they put more support behind it. It’s kind of a snowball effect that can lead to more orders placed, more copies printed, and more marketing support. Pre-orders also count toward first-week sales, which can help land a book on the bestseller lists. Not only can the author benefit from increased sales of this book, but he or she can have a better chance at getting a future book deal, too.

In short, pre-ordering is one of the best ways you can support an author.

Wild Drinks and Cocktails

A pre-order bonus for you

As a thank you to those who pre-order Wild Drinks and Cocktails, I will send you a bonus eBook of 8 exclusive drink recipes. These are unpublished recipes for tea, juice, syrup, shrub, liqueur, wine, and soda that I love and wanted to include in the cookbook but had to cut due to space constraints. Happily, they’ve found a new home in this ebook.

To receive the bonus, pre-order your copy by October 31, 2015:

Amazon, Amazon Canada, or Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Indigo
A local independent bookstore

Then send a photo or a copy of your receipt to wilddrinkspreorder@gmail.com.
Note: If you pre-ordered prior to this announcement, you are also eligible.

…….

p.s. I am so grateful for the positive reviews the book has gotten so far! See what people are saying here

Garden-to-Glass Cocktails Workshop at west elm

Garden-to-Glass Cocktails

Garden-to-Glass Cocktails Workshop
Sunday, August 2, 2015, 1-4 pm
west elm, Santa Monica, CA

Join me as you learn how to make delicious and creative cocktails using herbs and fruits from your garden, farmers’ market, or CSA box. (I will also share tips for locally foraged ingredients!)

In this hands-on workshop, we will cover:

• How to use the tools of the trade
• Flavor pairings with spirits, herbs, and fruits
• How to make infusions, bitters, and syrups
• Essential cocktail formulas & how to add your own twists

We’ll roll up our sleeves, muddle, shake, and stir cocktails and sample them in class. By the time you leave, you will have the skills to make easy yet elegant cocktails with fresh, seasonal flavors. You’ll also take home a jar of your own unique infusion and a recipe handout.

Class size is limited to 20 students. No experience is necessary and all supplies are included. $65

Secure your spot: Garden-to-Glass Cocktails Workshop