At Ho Lee Fook, we serve this as a drink for one in baby hollowed-out watermelons. Here, we’ve scaled up the recipe to serve for a large gathering. We prefer to use Korean soju, but you can also use sake – something neutral, such as Tokubetsu. For the ginger liqueur, we use The King's Ginger.
- 1 large watermelon (about 7.5 kg)
- 1 litre (35 fl oz) watermelon juice
- 240 ml (8 fl oz) nashi pear syrup (see below)
- 320 ml (12 fl oz) soju
- 120 ml (4 fl oz) ginger liqueur
- 120 ml (4 fl oz) fresh ginger juice
- melon balls and mint sprigs, to garnish
Nashi pear syrup
- 3 nashi pears, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup dried lotus seeds (see Note)
- 150 g Chinese rock sugar (see Note)
- 500 ml (2 cups water)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make the nashi pear syrup, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Continue to boil gently until reduced to 240 ml. Strain and discard the solids. Store the syrup in an airtight container in the fridge until required.
To prepare the watermelon, slice about 2 cm from one end of the watermelon to create a flat base. Slice one-third of the watermelon from the other end and reserve the flesh for juicing. To hollow out the watermelon, use a large metal spoon to scoop out the flesh and place in a bowl. Make sure you do not break through to the base. Refrigerate the hollowed out watermelon until ready to use. Place the flesh of the watermelon in a food processor and juice, then strain through a large sieve placed over a bowl. Discard the pulp and measure 1 litre juice.
Combine the watermelon juice, pear syrup, soju, ginger liqueur and juice in a large jug with ice and stir until chilled. Pour into the hollowed out watermelon and add the melon balls and mint.
• You can buy dried lotus seeds and Chinese rock sugar from Asian grocers.
You’ll find Anson Tsang behind the bar at Hong Kong’s Ho Lee Fook.
Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers.
Glass tumblers from Libbey. Punch set from The Chef and The Cook.