Adult beverages, nightcaps, drinkie-poos…whatever you call them, these Pineapple Yuzu Cocktails are quickly going to become a favorite. A blend of yuzu juice, fresh pineapple, simple syrup, and vodka; SO refreshing and a perfect antidote to these endless dog days of summer. I had a read more
We can’t get enough of watermelon in our house. The crunchy refreshing taste and beautiful red flesh is the complete package. We buy two whole watermelon each week just to tame our appetites. But what happens when you cut into a watermelon and discover that you picked a dud? Instead of bright red, you’re met with a dull pink. Well you get creative….Since there’s nothing more important in these hot summer months than staying hydrated, a watermelon drink sure would hit the spot. And so I present to you this classic Korean drink, Watermelon Soju. Icy cold, refreshingly sweet, and just enough boozy kick to make you forget how sweltering it is outside. This recipe is so simple, and as an added bonus you can turn the leftover watermelon rind into this delicious kimchi.
Soju is Korea’s most popular spirit. It is the center of their rather robust drinking culture. Soju was traditionally made from rice, but now is frequently made with sweet potato, barley, buckwheat, wheat, or any combination of these ingredients. It is distilled like vodka and has a similar neutral flavor. Soju can be found at most well stocked liquor stores or online. If you see shochu at the store, you can go ahead and get that instead.
Japanese shochu is a similar distilled spirit and probably came to Japan from Korea, which already had soju in production starting in the 13th century. The origin of the names is the same for both languages. ‘So’/’Sho’ means burned to reference the distilling process and ‘ju’/’chu’ means alcohol. Although there are some distinctions between the two, with shochu having more strict rules on production and allowances for additives, mass produced soju and shochu can be used interchangeably. Since we’re using the soju/shochu in a blended drink, use a budget minded brand. A high quality, hand crafted spirit would be delicious too, but a bit of a waste.
Finally, most sojus are light with a low alcohol content while shochus tend to be purer and also higher in alcohol. Depending on the brand, the alcohol content can range from similar to wine’s to almost 3 times as much! Just keep that in mind when choosing your bottle.
Making Watermelon Soju
This recipe is a breeze to make. I start by cutting up the watermelon. Like I mentioned earlier, this is a great time to use less than prime fruit. Whether it’s a disappointment you purchased, fruit that’s out of season, or maybe something sitting in the fridge just a wee bit too long, this drink will put the zip back into that fruit.
Cut the fruit up and then store it in a container or ziptop bag in the freezer for at least 2 hours until it’s frozen.
While the watermelon is in the freezer, we are going to make a simple syrup. (Any leftover syrup is excellent in iced coffee, thai tea, really any cold beverage that could use a little sweetness.)
Let the syrup cool to room temperature. And once the watermelon is frozen, it’s time to make the Watermelon Soju!
Repeat with the rest of the watermelon and your cooling, slushy, summer delight is ready! Garnish with some mint and a wedge of lime. A pitcher of Watermelon Soju is just the perfect afternoon pick me up for a hot day: cold, refreshing, with a touch of sweetness and alcohol. But if you do want some food to serve with Watermelon Soju, this kimchi pancake or some salt baked shrimp would keep the summer vibes going.
I hope this Watermelon Soju cools you down and keeps you hydrated all summer long. Take a moment and tell me what you think by rating and commenting on the recipe below. And show off your gorgeous drinks by tagging us @funkyasiankitchen, we love seeing your creations!
- ¼ whole watermelon, about 3 pounds
- 1 cup soju
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- Lime slices/wedges
- Sprigs of mint
- Dice the watermelon into 1 inch cubes. You should yield about 2 ½ pounds. Use the rind for another purpose or discard.
- Freeze the watermelon until frozen, about 2 hours.
- In the meantime, combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and stir over medium high heat until the sugar is dissolved completely. Set aside to cool.
- Add half of the frozen watermelon, ½ cup of soju, and a couple tablespoons of the simple syrup. Blend until smooth. Repeat with a second batch.
- Serve watermelon soju immediately with your garnishes.
Keywords: summer, soju, korean, cocktails, drinks, watermelon
Ok, maybe a Green Smoothie isn’t the most Asian recipe in the world. But people ask me all the time, what do you have for breakfast? I’m not really a breakfast eater, so I like something that’s quick and nutritious. And when you’re busy running restaurants all day and night, it’s so helpful to have an easy and delicious way to sneak in raw green vegetables.
I whirl this up in the morning, hand one to my husband, and we have something delicious and healthy to sip on throughout the day. It’s also a great portable breakfast for the kids on their way to school. Make a big batch and share it with the whole family!
Some smoothies are so sweet, whether loaded with fruit juices or sweeteners like honey or maple syrup, they might as well be dessert. My Green Smoothie has some natural sweetness from the banana and the coconut water, but it doesn’t taste like you’re having dessert. It’s more like a refreshing lightly sweet green juice you can feel (smugly) good about drinking every day. Plus it’s not bitter or strong in flavor, so it’s a non threatening way to introduce more vegetables into health resistant family members. This is such a fast recipe you can be enjoying it less time than it takes to read this, so let’s go!
Just 4 Ingredients
My standard Green Smoothie has just 4 ingredients. I sometimes see recipes for smoothies with so many Superfood this, Superfood that ingredients, that it becomes a 20 dollar smoothie. And by all means if you want to add your chia/maca/collagen/hemp/goji/maqui, go for it! But I actually like the taste of greens and I don’t feel the need to mask them. Just a little banana for sweetness (this is a perfect way to use up overripe ones), avocado for creamy thickness, chilled coconut water as your liquid, and a handful of fresh mix greens. I like to use a mix, or whatever looks good. A pre-mixed bag makes it simple. Baby kale, spinach, chard-they blend up beautifully in this smoothie and all add different nutrients.
Another great thing about this smoothie is that all of the ingredients can be stored in your freezer. I like to buy an extra bag of mixed greens to freeze. And somehow I always end up with a surplus of bananas and avocados sitting on the kitchen counter. Don’t let them go to waste. Even if they are overripe, no worries. Stick them in the freezer and when you’re ready for your smoothie, blend them up. No one will know!
And that’s it-your super healthy Green Smoothie is ready to power your day! I pour them into insulated drink holders and it stays fresh and cold for hours. These are best enjoyed the day it’s made though as the beautiful green color with start to darken. I know you’re gong to appreciate this streamlined smoothie on busy mornings. I love how how much energy it gives me through the day. Take a moment to review the recipe or leave a comment below-we love hearing from you! And tag us in your obligatory Instagram #smoothie pics @funkyasiankitchen.
- 1 overripe banana, frozen is fine
- 1/4 avocado, frozen is fine
- 3 ounces baby greens (2 handfuls)
- 1 ½ cups chilled coconut water
- Peel the banana and add it to the blender with the avocado, baby greens, and coconut water.
- Blend on high for 30 seconds until you have a thick and smooth drink.
- Drink immediately or refrigerate until ready to consume. This smoothie is best the day it is made.
*I used a bagged mix of baby kale, spinach, and chard. You can use whatever you like or have on hand. If you use straight baby kale (which I often do) the flavor will be noticeably stronger and “greener”