For these special days, some of the things I love the most, are handmade and home cooked. I'm not saying I don't love a great meal at a restaurant, but there's something to be said about knowing your family has put the time in preparing to make you the "perfect" meal. We all know that "perfect" may mean the pancakes are funny shaped, or the kitchen gets a little messy, but what is going into that preparation, is LOVE, and NOTHING beats that in my mind.
Making the cantaloupe infused vodka
You'll need to determine how much vodka you need first, based on how many adult guests will be at your family brunch for mom, how many cocktails per guest (unless your family is like mine, 2 each will probably be more than enough!), and how crazy you've made your poor mom all year long! To get you started, we're going to make a quart, which will fill up a standard decanter when complete.
Step 1: About 3-5 days before you plan to use the vodka, cut your melon into bite size pieces. If you have a melon baller, it will make for a prettier presentation. (Since I was just cutting mine up for my toddler to eat, mine is not so fancy).
Step 2: Place 1/2 of the melon in a quart size mason jar, and the other half wrap up and save for the appetizer the day of the brunch
Step 3: Pour your preferred vodka over top of the melon, and add about a tablespoon of sugar. Screw the lid on and give it a good shake. Store it in the refrigerator for 3-5 days, giving it a good shake once a day. You do not need to be precise in the number of days, but you won't want it to go much more than 5 days or it can start to get bitter.
Step 4: Strain out the melon from the vodka and store the vodka in a decanter (if you're feeling fancy), or you can now just store it in a clean mason jar until your ready to make your cocktails. You should continue to store the vodka in the refrigerator though to ensure it doesn't spoil
So assuming you're making this for brunch, we're going to suggest putting together the appetizer the morning of, before shaking up your cocktails (we're not going to stop you though if you make one for yourself while you prep the food).
Since we had that other half of the cantaloupe leftover, let's put it to good use with a salty sweet little starter.
Approximately 1/2 4 oz.package of prosciutto
Fresh mozzarella balls
Short appetizer skewers
Cut the slices of prosciutto into thirds using kitchen shears. Fold so they are approximately the same width of balls/chunks of melon. Wrap the melon, place one basil leaf on, and top with mozzarella ball and stick the skewer through. Stand them up on a platter and drizzle with balsamic glaze (you can reduce balsamic vinegar in a pot on the stove, but I highly recommend making your life easy and buying a premade glaze. Trader Joe's makes a great one!)
3-4 basil leaves
2 fl oz cantaloupe infused vodka
3 T simple syrup (equal parts sugar & water just heated till sugar is dissolved, and then cooled)
Juice of 1/2 of a lime
Splash of sparkling natural mineral water, such as S. Pellegrino or Perrier
Reserved vodka soaked melon ball
Additional basil leaves
Muddle the basil leaves in the bottom of cocktail shaker with the lime and simple syrup. Fill the shaker most of the way with ice and add the vodka. Shake vigorously until everything is good and icy. Strain into prepared glass. Serve straight up as we did and splash of sparkling mineral water. If you want to get really wild and crazy, you can replace the sparkling water with champagne...depends how much you want to spoil mom! Garnish with skewers of prosciutto, vodka soaked melon ball (from when you infused the vodka), and fresh basil leaves.