Tonic for Party Guests, Sekanjabin, Watermelon, Mint and Cider Vinegar Tonic from 'The New Persian Kitchen'

I was dying to share 'Roasted Stuffed Artichokes with Mint Oil' from The New Persian Kitchen (Ten Speed Press, Spring 2013) by Louisa Shafia instead here's a drink recipe to fill your summer party pitchers.

Watermelon, mint, and cider vinegar tonic

This refreshing mixture of nourishing cider vinegar and juicy watermelon is restorative and hydrating on a hot day. The mixture of vinegar and sugar is a time-honored Persian sharbat, or fruit essence drink, that’s also used for dipping crisp romaine lettuce leaves in warm weather, another distinctly Persian way to hydrate. Just put a bowl of this beverage alongside a plate of romaine leaves and that’s it: your salad is complete! Use raw, unfiltered cider vinegar to complement the taste of the watermelon.

makes 5 cups concentrate,

enough for twenty 1-cup servings of tonic

3 cups water, plus more to serve
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup good-quality honey
6 cups coarsely chopped
1 cup tightly packed fresh
1 cup cider vinegar
Ice cubes
Sliced watermelon, sliced unwaxed cucumber, and spearmint, for garnish

Watermelon tonic

Bring the 3 cups water and the salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the honey, stir to dissolve, and remove from the heat.

Combine the watermelon and mint in a large bowl. Stir in the honey-water and let cool to room temperature, then add the vinegar. Steep the mixture in the refrigerator for several hours or up to overnight.

Strain the mixture and eat the watermelon chunks, if desired. Pour the concentrate into a clean glass jar, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. To serve, pour 1/4 cup of the concentrate into a glass over ice and dilute with 3/4 cup water. Garnish with the watermelon, cucumber, and mint.

(* Excerpted from 'The New Persian Kitchen' by Louisa Shafia-published by Ten Speed Press, Spring 2013- Photography by Sara Remington)

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