Watermelon sake
Watermelon sake made with Otokoyama tokubetsu junmai.

The recipes in The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook have proven reliable over the past two years. Their jambalaya is great and the spiced pecans and the crab dip are on the menu tomorrow for the Fourth. I was astounded to see a recipe in the cookbook for peach sake (why? because apparently some form of “rice wine” was “a noted beverage in the Lowcountry in the nineteenth century”), and a variation suggested watermelon.

I had a bottle of Otokoyama tokubetsu junmai which is nondescript enough to mix with fruit. The recipe is barely a recipe, steep fruit in sake, wait 24 hours. As a rule, I’m not interested in sake cocktails (although a concoction at Restaurant Eve was pleasant enough). But what the hell, it’s July Fourth weekend and the strange combination of Japanese sake and American watermelon might just convert some friends who are skeptical about sake.

The watermelon has been steeping 24 hours and it’s…watermelony sake.

Happy Fourth of July!