Here is a perfect pick-me-up as we move into the doldrums of Dry January.

New York magazine called New York City’s hot new Greek and Turkish inspired Iris Aegean by Chef John Fraser “an unexpected and welcome oasis in midtown” when it opened its doors last fall. And the Midtown hot spot’s stellar cocktails by Beverage Director Amy Racine follow suit with a Mediterranean spin on classics like a Greek Negroni, made with Diktamo in place of Campari

Iris Beverage Director Amy Racine. Photo courtesy of Iris Aegean.

In observance of Dry January Racine created a special alcohol-free menu, featuring herb-infused drinks like a Cucumber Dill Spritz, Grapefruit Sumac Soda, or a Passion Fruit Mojito. But our favorite is this simple, Turkish-inspired Melon Lemonade, which is easily recreated at home with cantaloupe. Cantaloupes (kavun in Turkey) can be traced back to Turkish roots; they were initially imported to Rome and France from Turkey in the 15th century.

“This bright and fruity lemonade takes me back to a vacation in Turkey where you can find fresh ripe melons wherever you go,” says Amy Racine. “It brings warm feelings and summer nostalgia in the middle of New York winter. Have it as aperitif or pair with our traditional Aegean desserts like Baklava, Greek donuts, or black and white Halva.”

Photo courtesy of Iris Aegean, NYC.

What You’ll Need
1 ½ oz Melon syrup
1 ½ oz lemon juice
2 oz water

How To Make It:
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until cold about 10 seconds, and serve in a highball over fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

Melon Syrup
What You’ll Need:
½ small cantaloupe (about ½ pound)
1 cup Simple Syrup (1:1 ratio sugar and boiled water, stirred until dissolved)

How To Make It
To make the syrup, cut half a small cantaloupe into chunks and whiz in a blender or food processor until smooth. Combine a cup of pureed cantaloupe one cup of simple syrup in an airtight container and refrigerate. Lasts 2-3 days.

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