Sweet melon puree spiked with fresh basil and mint, then mixed with vodka – how’s that for putting some zing in your spring? The Italians like their sweet-and-salty combos and the garnish of melon balls wrapped with Prosciutto hark to one of their more famous appetizers – prosciutto e melone.
For the simple syrup
Heat together the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Cool and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
For the puree
Puree the melon chunks in a blender until smooth. (Makes about 1/2 cup.)
Add basil, mint, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker. (See Cook’s Note.) Muddle a few times to bruise the herbs, fill with ice, add the vodka, and cantaloupe puree, and shake vigorously. Strain into 2 chilled martini glasses. To garnish, line up 3 melon balls and lace a strip of Prosciutto alternately over and under them, curving back and forth in an S shape, then secure it all with a cocktail skewer. Lay the skewer on top of a glass to garnish, repeat for the second garnish, and serve.
You may prefer a bit more or less simple syrup, depending on the ripeness of the melon you use.
The simple syrup
The cantaloupe puree