Cantaloupe Drink

I grew up on the military family housing for McLellan Air Force Base, when it was still an active base in the 90's. We lived in a cozy, single-story home that looked like pretty much every other house in the neighborhood. But we had a deck. A big wooden deck out front that everyone could sit on when the Sacramento Valley heat made staying indoors unbearable. It'd get way too stuffy, and fresh air was the only remedy.

On those Summer days, my mom would make Cantaloupe Drink. I had no idea, back then, what its real name was. My sister and I just always called it Cantaloupe Drink. A simple name for a simple concoction, really. It's merely fruit, water, and sugar, yet it's ridiculously refreshing. The shredded bits of melon in every sip? I love it. I always felt like such a "big girl" whenever I could help with breaking down the volleyball-sized melon. Mom would slice it in half, then my sister and I would race to see who could finish scooping out all of the seeds and the flesh first. By the time we were done, we were sticky from all of the sweet juice running down our hands.

My dad would come home, still in uniform, and we'd rush out the screen door to bring him a glass of Cantaloupe Drink on the deck. And, suddenly, an unbearably hot day just got a whole lot better.

It wasn't until I was older that I'd find out that this is actually a very popular Filipino refreshment. It's common at Filipino restaurants and street vendors, and versions in the Philippines usually include evaporated milk for a creamier effect. An interestingly shaped gadget, called a "melon scraper" or "melon stripper", gets you perfectly rounded strings, but they're apparently pretty hard to find in the States. The next time I go back to the Philippines, I'll definitely have to look for one! In the meantime, though, there are a number of things that can get the job done. There's always the old-school fork scraping method, or the box grater. I actually prefer using a citrus zester. The tiny holes are perfect for getting long, fine shreds.

Getting out all of the cantaloupe flesh is the "hardest" part. (Doing major sarcastic air-quotes here.) After that, you just pour in the water and sugar, then stir to combine everything. Boom. Instant deliciousness.  It's so easy to make for any hot day of the week, but its festive look and fresh flavor also make this a perfect refreshment for pool parties, backyard BBQ's, or weekend brunches. Looking for a pretty drink to fill up that 3-gallon beverage dispenser that you just had to have? *Hint hint* Memorial Day Weekend is coming up! :) 

Cantaloupe Drink (makes approximately 1/2 gallon)

Print Recipe

1 large, ripe Cantaloupe
8 cups Water
1 cup White Granulated Sugar
  1. Slice the melon in half, then scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Using a citrus peeler (that makes strips), a fork, or a box grater, shred the melon flesh into a large pitcher.
  2. Add the water and sugar, and stir to combine well.
  3. Serve in glasses, over ice. Enjoy!