Watermelon Gazpacho Cocktail - A Sublime September Tipple

With September approaching, the days will soon be getting shorter.  Our New England foliage will begin to feature lively licks of color, and ... alas... the morning chill will no longer allow for a sleeveless stroll to the mailbox. This is when I normally begin to lament... loudly... the approach of winter.

Yes, with the passage of time, I've officially become a winter lamenter.  I get gloomy at the first hint of fall; pumpkins depressed me... so do chrysanthemums and cornucopias. Especially cornucopias.  

For the past couple of years, an irrational dread of what the winter might bring has left me unable to appreciate the unique awesomeness of fall.

This year, however I've decided to overlook the end of summer, embrace Autumn, and extend...as much as possible... the abbreviated Connecticut golf season. I'm going to stop sulking and start looking forward to this season when steamy summer days give way to cool, comfortable ones.  I will now relish the last months of each year; for the spectacular changing colors, the pleasant temperatures... and the less crowded golf courses.  

There's also the prospect... once Autumn is well underway... of an Indian summer, bringing a final taste of warmth before winter takes hold for good.   This endearing weather singularity is quite common in New England, and it's the inspiration behind a unique drink I developed for our annual fall golf classic.  It's a blend of the season's most delightful ingredients and the end result is both sweet and savory, just like the special season that inspired it: The Watermelon Gazpacho Cocktail.

Watermelon Gazpacho Cocktail

What you'll need... more or less... for 4 drinks: 

1/2 of a small-ish watermelon, chopped into cubes (abt 2 cups plus a few extra for garnish)
1/8 cup chopped/peeled cucumber (plus a few 1/2 inch slices for garnish)
1/8 cup chopped/peeled red pepper
1 Tbs. chopped red onion
1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
2 cups tomato or vegetable juice
A couple of Basil and/or Mint leaves, chopped (plus a few sprigs reserved for garnish)

Blend/puree the above ingredients. You can do this in a blender, juicer or food processor. I use an immersion blender because... well, I just really like immersion blenders, but the idea is to liquify everything into a smooth mix.  Once this is done, Fill 4 tall glasses halfway with ice. Pour 2 ounces of vodka and 4 ounces of the above mix into each glass and stir.  Garnish with a cube of watermelon, a slice of cucumber and/or a sprig of basil or mint, and enjoy the perfect Indian summer cocktail.