Heliocentric Annuals Perk up Garden Refreshments
Deemed “Brosé” by close friends, this light pink sparkling cocktail features vodka, fresh watermelon juice, a hint of lime and sparkling wine. The combination of watermelon and bubbles is pure bliss, offering cooling reprieve after a long day at the beach or in the garden.
Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus var. lanatus), is an annual rich in vitamins A, B6 and C and comes in a variety of sizes, its flesh ranging from red to pink, orange, yellow and white. My favorite variety is a small seedless melon with red flesh called Starlight. When I’m looking for a slightly sweeter taste, I opt for Sunshine with yellow flesh.
Watermelons are about 90% water so they’re a natural choice for juicing, especially when mixing cocktails for a crowd.
Sunflowers (Helianthus) are mainly cultivated for seeds, but their blossoms are a culinary treasure with a satiny texture and a nutty flavor, perfect for garnishing cocktails and green salads. Rinse the petals and use blossoms that have not been exposed to pesticides. Favorite sunflower varieties include Lemon Queen, with pastel yellow petals; Teddy Bear, with gold pom-pom petals; and Firecracker, which branch and cluster into many red and yellow blossoms. Most young sunflower buds tilt to face the sun during the day in what is called heliotropism. Once blossoms begin to bloom they stop tracking the sun and typically “freeze” in an eastward direction.