Kiwano Cooler, a.k.a. The Horny Melon

Blast some Ladysmith Black Mambazo on the stereo, grab your cocktail shaker, and get ready for a party— in your mouth. This is one crazy fruit.

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As if the florescent orange color weren’t enough, the spikes shooting off of it really make it look like a tropical puffer fish or some sort of martian weapon from the ’70’s. You look at it and think, “Damn, that’s just the craziest fruit I’ve ever seen.” But then if you’re crazy enough to buy it, you get a second wave of shock when you cut into it. A trove of little seeds suspended in a bright green jelly-slime confirm that this fruit could only be from outer space (in fact, it was featured in a Star Trek Deep Space Nine episode, “Time’s Orphan.”)

But the truth is that kiwano originated from southern and central Africa, where it is a rare source of water in the summer months. Well, to be more exact, the fruit originated from there, but the name Kiwano came about in the 1980’s when some Kiwis got a hold of it and started growing and exporting it from New Zealand under their trademarked name, Kiwano. It’s also known by other “let’s just describe the obvious” names, like jelly fruit, blowfish fruit, and horned cucumber. Being in the cucumber family, this fruit is really low in calories and sugars, but is gushing with water and antioxidants A, C, and E as well as iron and calcium. So don’t hold back! (If you’re intimidated by the spiky armor or slimy seeds, click here for a great explanation of how to eat it).

imageThe flavor of kiwano is acidic and cucumber-like with hints of banana and lime. That, coupled with the fact that it seemed like separating the seeds from their jelly-slime pods would require the patience of a Tibetan sand painter, convinced me that a muddled cocktail was the way to go with this one.

Everyone in my family is partial to gin (we all specify gin in our dirty martinis and get weird looks from the vodka fans) so I went with a gin cooler flavored with fresh mint and lime. If you want to experiment with other liquors like vodka or rum, go ahead and have fun!

Note: If you have any leftover kiwano, I recommend sitting on your front stoop and digging in with a spoon, spitting out the seeds as you go.

The Kiwano Cooler, a.k.a. The Horny Melon

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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  • 1/2 kiwano melon
  • 5 mint leaves
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Juice from 1/2 a lime
  • 1.5 oz. gin
  • Ice
  • 3 oz. club soda
INSTRUCTIONS
Scoop the seeds and jelly out of half a kiwano melon into a blender and pulse on low to burst the juices from the seeds. Strain the juice into a cocktail shaker. Add the sugar and mint and muddle a few times to release the flavor of the mint. Add the lime juice, gin and some ice cubes and shake vigorously for twenty seconds. Pour the mixture through the cocktail strainer over a glass packed with ice and top it with the club soda. Stir and garnish with a kiwano slice.

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