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Melon Soda Pop and Melon Chu'hai

As mentioned, I am not a big fan of complicating drinks. We are at a point, where most pre-prohibition cocktails are recovered, where most variations are explored... and the "logic", but not necessary best step into the future is, to make drinks more complicated.

Maybe I am too conservative to follow this trend - but I think we didn't explored to create great but simple drinks.
For example, the West didn't yet really discovered the Chūhai. As Japanese are masters of copying but then also internalize it and make it their own, the chūhai started as simple highball (the hai stands for "high"). As Japan worships its own spirit, which is Shōchū the highball is based on it - with the addition of lemon and soda - and nowadays there are many different flavors. 

This is what I remembered, when I ate a very ripe piece of melon, but didn't finished it, because of its almost oxidized flavor.

What to do with it? Well - I had some leftover lemon infused sugar and added the melon, which I cut in pieces, vacuumed and refrigerated it, for a couple of days.

If you know how to make macerated fruit syrups, you might already expect, that the melon sugar almost completely liquifies, leaving over rather shrunk and unappetizing pieces of melon, but a syrup, which has a rich fruit flavor (and which is obviously very sweet).

To make a successful and tasty soda pop, you need then to add acid (in this case citric acid), and off course add carbonated water (or add still water and carbonate the syrup with the water).

I found though, that the syrup still tasted quite "flat". A bit more citric acid, and it would lifted its flavor, however taste more like artificial sour melon candies - something I didn't wanted to achieve.
I finally added a bit acacia honey, which just gave the melon aroma some more ripeness without tasting like honey... it tasted rather like honey-melon (no pun intended).
This melon soda taste glorious! However to make a chūhai out of it, you would need to add alcohol. Now I am not a big fan of shōchū (as a classicist, I have the opinion, that shōchū just doesn't have enough alcohol strength to be really interesting for mixing), I didn't had any at home. But I am still convinced that it would work - you just would need to add more shōchū to the drink (maybe about 60 ml). I added some "leftover" Tanqueray Ranpur, and it was marvelous.

I didn't made a picture, because it really didn't looked so interesting. But the taste was really remarkable. 

Melon Soda100 g       ripe rock melon100 g       sugar (I used lemon rind infused sugar)20 g         acacia honey2.5 g        citric acid (aka lemon salt)0.9 l         sparkling wateroptional - a pinch of bicarbonate of soda
Peel melon and cut into cubes. The seeds can also be used!Add the melon into the sugar and stir. Add to a ziplock bag and displace all air - if you have a vacuum sealer, you can use this one - it will speed up the process!Refrigerate for 1 to 2 days.Agitate the melon sugar mixture until all sugar is dissolved.Strain the mixture through a strainer, add little water just to dissolve the rest of the sugar.Add citric acid (and optional baking soda) and blend (you can also dissolve the citric acid in water and add it like that) and honey.fAdd this soured syrup to sparkling water (a delicious soda pop has ca. 90-120 g of sugar per liter).
Melon Chūhai40 ml      shōchū120 ml    melon soda pop
Fill up highball with ice cubes and add shōchū and melon soda pop.Enjoy!
Off course, you can also use a hand carved ice cube for the drink - it would make the drink take long, and would be more fancy, more Japanese... your choice! 


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