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keeping it cool

Recipe: mom’s colorado mountain cooler

Every morning at 5:30, I am jolted out of my slumber by the squeak of the moppy bear or the drawn out honk of the blue dragon. Neva usually wakes up around 5:15 or so and quietly – sweetly – chews on her toys in her crate. When she tires of the toys, she’ll start to chew the crate, or she’ll give a little whimper. If we try to ignore the whimper (believe me, we try), she gives a sharp little bark. Time to take the puppy out to potty. I record her potty times each day on my phone. Each day I begin tapping in the date with clumsy fingers and uncorrected vision.

How can it almost be August already? Deja vu. At the end of June I said the same thing about July. And so on and so forth. It’s been this way since the holidays last year, but summer is when we jumped ahead at warp speed grasping at the days speeding past us. There’s just too much going on all at once. The long daylight hours lull you into a false sense of having plenty of time to get it all done, and then night falls and you realize how screwed you are going to be in the sleep department… again.

Despite being someone who cannot wait for winter to return, I must admit that this summer is flying past faster than I would like. It’s the puppy vortex, but it’s also wildflowers and mountains and loved ones and hikes and summer storms and night skies and hummingbirds and huckleberries and rocky streams and – all of it.


nature’s confetti

dramatic light at sunset

neva in the high country

on our way to find some mushrooms

completely wiped out and resting in the shade by the trail

having a fun play session on the snow with banjo



We appear to have transitioned from cool and rainy weather to the scorching hot and dry weather that runs my patience down to zero in 2 seconds flat. It’s a good time to pull out some frosty beverages. On our most recent visit with Jeremy’s parents, my mother-in-law served a refreshing drink that I thought was worth sharing here, for all of the melting people. It’s fruity, frosty, and you have the option of making it boozy, too. I called it Mom’s Colorado Mountain Cooler, but the more descriptive title is a sparkling lemon sorbet melon ball cooler.

sparkling water, cantaloupe, honeydew, rose water, lemon sorbet, mint



You can purchase lemon sorbet or you can make your own. If you make your own, you should start the sorbet well ahead of time (like a day ahead or the morning of). The rosewater is optional. If you aren’t a fan, leave it out. If you like it, add it to your homemade sorbet or add a drop directly into the drink. I prefer none or just a tiny hint of rose. It should be subtle, not overpowering. Ball or cube the melons and freeze them solid for at least an hour before serving.

ball the melons

a little rosewater (this is way too much – a drop is sufficient)

muddle some fresh mint



Fresh mint lends a nice dimension to the drink, but that is also optional. Be sure to crush the leaves in the glass to release the minty goodness. Next you plop in a few of the melon ice balls, a scoop or two of sorbet, and then top it off with sparkling water. For the adult version, a floral gin can be added before the sparkling water.

melon ice balls

a scoop of lemon sorbet

add the sparkling water



Back in the day, when my family owned a Baskin Robbins, sorbet (or sherbert) and soda water were blended to make a “freeze”. This is a gussied up version of a freeze, but the basic concept remains. Jeremy’s mom served hers with bendy straws, but you could also include an iced tea spoon as this drink is eaten as much as it is drunk. Mash the sorbet into the drink, gnaw on a frozen melon ball – there is no passive consumption here. It’s a great way to cool off and be distracted as the mercury climbs.

mom’s colorado mountain cooler

topped with a wild rose and more melon balls



Mom’s Colorado Mountain Cooler
[print recipe]
from my mother-in-law

1 quart lemon sorbet
rose water (optional)
1/2 cantaloupe
1/2 honeydew melon
1 cup fresh mint
gin (optional)
2 liters soda water

If making your own lemon sorbet, start the day before or at least 8 hours before serving. If you want a bit of rose flavor, add rosewater to taste in your lemon sorbet before churning. If the lemon sorbet is already made or purchased, add rosewater to taste to your glass (start with a drop or two). Scoop the seeds out of the melon cavities and cut the flesh into balls or cubes. Set on a lined baking sheet in a single layer. Freeze for an hour.

When you are ready to serve the drinks, place a few mint leaves in a highball glass. Muddle the leaves. Add a drop or two of rose water if desired. Drop a couple of frozen melon pieces into the glass. Put one or two scoops of lemon sorbet in the glass. Pour in a shot or two of gin if using. Top the glass off with soda water. Serve with a straw or an iced tea spoon. Makes 4-6.


more goodness from the use real butter archives

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11 nibbles at “keeping it cool”

  1. Heather (Delicious Not Gorgeous) says:

    as if lemon sorbet couldn’t get any better. i’ve been freezing so much fruit this summer- all sorts of berries, but mostly strawberries, and munching non-stop on them. when i get around to freezing melon, they might inadvertently skip the drink…

  2. Anne V. says:

    Oh so close! ALMOST met you in the Safeway parking lot on Saturday…. Nice to meet Jeremy though. Maybe next time! :-)

  3. Sara says:

    I was just discussing freezes with my daughter this morning. Since we happen to have a soda stream and mango sorbet, we will be having them for dessert tonight. Love the melon ball addition and will add some to our next batch.

  4. angelitacarmelita says:

    It’s 100 plus here in NOVA today… this looks like an excellent solution to the heat. Thanks Mom!

  5. Melissa says:

    The first three paragraphs remind me yet again what a wonderful and eloquent writer you are. Made me smile.

    Also: “nature’s confetti.” Love that.

  6. Jasmine says:

    Your photos are really wow! So much clarity and color! I like the one where you’re muddling the mint. Are you stirring with your right hand and taking photos with your left? Because that’s just impressive. Everything – the composition, the text, the recipes, the dog! Just, thank you. I really enjoy your blog!

  7. jill says:

    Nature’s confetti is absolutely beautiful. I can’t imagine seeing this in real life! Thanks for bringing it to me…

  8. Sarah says:

    Really fun post. Also love the Nature’s Confetti. What a burst of flowers! Looks wonderful there. Hot and dry here in CA. that drink will come in handy

  9. Tricia says:

    I can’t imagine living somewhere where “Nature’s Confetti” exists. All your pictures are beautiful but this one really touched my heart. It’s wonderful to know that places like this really do exist. It looks like a fairy tale.

  10. Helen in CA says:

    Back-In-The-Day one of my favorite things on a Southern CA hot day was a freeze from Baskin Robbins. Any chance of you sharing the kinda of ratio of sorbet : sparkling water to make such? And is it sparkling water, tonic water or ??? Thanks

  11. jenyu says:

    Heather – I like popping frozen melon balls into my mouth, too :) But they are a nice “ice cube” for the drink!

    Anne – :)

    Sara – ooh, lucky you!

    angelitacarmelita – yes! Hope it cools down for you all!

    Melissa – xo

    Jasmine – oh no, I use a tripod! :)

    jill – it’s even better in real life!

    Sarah – hoping you guys get some much needed rain xo

    Tricia – as I told Jill, it’s even more amazing in person. You should visit Colorado :)

    Helen – I don’t actually know the ratio, but I’m guessing 2 large scoops and a cup of soda water? Not tonic water (that has a flavor). I was really young when my parents had the B&R :)

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