How to Use Summer Fruit to Make an Awesome Granita Cocktail

The North Pole will be at its fullest tilt toward the sun this Friday, giving us the longest day of the year. It's officially (cue Will Smith) ... "summer, summer, summertime. Time to sit back and unwind."

Watermelons satiate summer thirst quiet like nothing else. Sometimes it's hard to work through an entire melon while it's still fresh, though, so I've been dabbling with some options. I came up with this drink, loosely based on a few other recipes I've found or heard of before. It seems to most closely resemble an Italian granita.

Basically, I blend the meat of the watermelon and add to it a simple syrup steeped with fresh mint. Then, I mix the simple syrup and fruit together and freeze it in a square glass dish, then scrape the ice with a fork for a snow cone-like treat.

Fun part: It can serve as the base for a nice evening cocktail. Add a splash of rum and cut it with soda water if it's too sweet.

The same strategy works well with pineapple too. All the recipes I found online suggest (all recipes are simply suggestions, right?) using a sieve to remove the pulp. Well, I don't have a sieve. I only have a Lauren. I like the texture of the fruit anyway.

Here are some photos and directions for this completely totally simple concoction that will 1) prevent wasting wonderful fruit, 2) sustain you through the heat 3) make you feel good about all the nutrients you'll drink when they're mixed with a nice rum.

Mix 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar, boil until dissolved.

Add a big handful of mint and steep for five minutes or so.

Gather a couple cups of fresh pineapple (or, if using watermelon, about five cups because of the high water content) and blend until it has juice-like consistency.

Remove the mint from the water and mix the fruit and simple syrup together, then pour into a dish. Put in the freezer for a few hours.

Then, using a fork, scrape the block of ice. Add it to a glass, or just stand with the freezer open and eat it straight from the dish all day.

Add coconut rum if you're in the mood for a piña colada-ish concoction.

All done.

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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.