Weekend Cocktail: Vodka Watermelon Cooler

I will be forever indebted to Layla Pujol of Laylita for her vodka mint limeade recipe, which has been the drink of choice at more than one gathering this summer. It’s great to throw a minimum amount of ingredients in a blender to make a big pitcher of drinks for a crowd. Moreover, it’s a lot cheaper than buying enough Whispering Angel to serve 20 people for an afternoon – at least if those people are my friends.

This drink has proved so popular, though, that I found myself running out of ingredients on more than one occasion and had to make substitutions. When I was trying to get rid of a lot of leftover watermelon I threw in some watermelon chunks. The result that time was a winner, so here’s the recipe, as perfected by me and Jeff Nesmith of the new vegan lifestyle blog Java Street Project. (Much tasting was involved.)

Vodka Watermelon Cooler

1/4 of an average-size (about 10-lb.) watermelon
2 limes, plus more for garnish
1/2 c. mint leaves, plus more for garnish
2 handfuls ice
1/2 c. sugar
2 c. vodka
2 1/2 c. seltzer

Cut the rind of the watermelon and cut the flesh into large chunks. You should have about 1 1/2 lb. watermelon without the rind. Quarter the limes. Add limes, mint, ice, sugar and watermelon to a large high-speed blender (the Ninja one is awesome) or Vitamix. You may have to pulse the mixture a couple of times to get all the watermelon to fit in.

Blend on high speed for a full 3 minutes. Strain the watermelon mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, stirring with a spoon to push the liquid through. Discard the solids.

Pour the watermelon juice into a large pitcher and stir in vodka and seltzer. (Leave out the vodka for a virgin cocktail.) Chill for 15 minutes to let the mint settle. Serve over ice, garnished with lime wheels and mint leaves.

Makes 8-10 cocktails.

Variations: swap out the watermelon, mint and lime for:
– 4 limes, 1/2 c. mint and 2 c. water
– 4 lemons, 1/2 c. basil and 2 c. water

You can also add gin instead of vodka, or add a combination of vodka and limoncello. Try it with all sorts of different fruit and herbs – your guests will not complain.

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Traffic-Stopping Red: Marjan Jonkman at Alberta Ferretti SS2017

Bright red is on track to become one of the big trends this fall, a color seen on model Marjan Jonkman last September. It looks especially sharp with black and white pinstripes. She was also ahead of the curve on ribbed sweaters, which are making a comeback.

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Carlotta Oddi at Bottega Veneta SS2017

How to wear a white dress into fall: pair it with a denim jacket and lots of great accessories, as seen on Carlotta Oddi at Milan fashion week last September.

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Plaid on Plaid: Robert Ferrell at Margiela FW2017

It’s really beginning to feel like fall in NYC, which makes me wish for all the rich colors and fabrics of the season. One for the New York Times and one of my favorite menswear looks from Paris – Robert Ferrell in a plaid overcoat with plaid bag. Love the combination of colors and patterns.

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Denim Whipstitched Shirt, NYFW SS2017

Denim is still a must-buy for this time of year – call it the back to school instinct that never ends. A model at the New York shows draped a denim shirt with whipstitching over shorts and a tee for a layered look.

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Recipe: Blistered Shishito Peppers

Blistered shishito peppers, which seem to be on every menu these days, are really easy to make on the grill. All you need is a grill basket – and the actual peppers, usually available in farmer’s markets by August. They’re a great way to distract guests as they wait for dinner – and keep them from hovering over the grill while you make the rest of the meal.

Blistered Shishito Peppers

1 pint shishito peppers
olive oil
nonstick cooking spray
wedge of lemon
Maldon sea salt flakes

Toss the peppers with a little olive oil, just enough to make them slippery. Coat the inside of a grilling basket with nonstick cooking spray and place it on a very hot grill (400+ degrees), cover it, and wait a couple minutes for it to preheat. Pour the peppers in the basket and stir fry them with tongs, letting them rest occasionally until they blister. When blistered on all sides, carefully remove the grill basket and pour the peppers onto a platter.

Squeeze the lemon over the peppers and sprinkle with a generous amount of sea salt flakes. Serve immediately.


Serves 2 – 4

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Rose-Colored Glasses: Sora Choi, After Jason Wu SS2017

Model Sora Choi in a look that managed to be both goth and feminine, after the Jason Wu show SS2017.

 

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Details on Sofie Valkiers, NYFW SS2017

Loved this clever gilded cage bag as carried by Sofie Valkiers at New York fashion week.

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Yasmin Sewell at Sies Marjan SS2017

An off-the-shoulder dress is a sweet and sexy look that also works for daytime. Leave it to Yasmin to pull it off!

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White Jumpsuit, Outside Cushnie et Ochs SS2017

The welcome trend of wide-legged pants, which are so cool and breezy on hot summer days, does not seem to be going anywhere soon. A white silk jumpsuit with black accessories looks chic for the last days of summer.

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Star Struck: Ella Catliff at Valentino FW2015

One from the archives: Ella Catliff in a Valentino dress with a heavenly theme.

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Teddy Quinlivan After Jason Wu SS2017

Model Teddy Quinlivan vamped it up after the Jason Wu show in a vintage-inspired look that included a pencil skirt and custom Peels uniform shirt for “Theodora.” Love it.

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Runway Beauty: Mali Koopman at Jason Wu SS2017

You can always tell when models appreciate the runway makeup because, like Mali Koopman after the Jason Wu show, they leave it on when leaving the show instead of taking it off for the next one. A nude face and red lip are a good bet for summer beauty: simple but sophisticated.

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Headscarf, Sweatshirt and Long Skirt, NYFW SS2017

Streetwear is making major inroads into high fashion – but within this development lies a major possibility for error. Unless you’re still actually in gym class, you probably don’t want to go for a head-to-toe streetwear look. Here is one way to wear the chunky, oversize sweatshirts that are already appearing in stores for fall. A guest at NY Fashion Week mixed hers with a long tiered skirt, heels, patent leather bag and a headscarf for a perfectly polished outfit that was also on trend.

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Keeping It Crisp: Yellow Tunic and Jeans at NYFW SS2017

A straw hat and bright yellow tunic over jeans and mules made for a great transitional look at NY Fashion Week in September.

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