Can you believe it's August tomorrow? How about a drink to start off the last full month of summer?
I became intrigued by the idea of a lychee based drink ever since I heard somebody mention a lychee martini at a place where I was working a while ago. The woman who mentioned it was British, so she pronounced the word as "lye-chee" (lye as in what is used to make soap, along with what Norwegians put on their fish, more on which later). This pronunciation stuck with me for some reason and even though I’ve been corrected many times, I can’t bring myself to say "lee-chee." According to Merriam-Webster, both pronunciations are correct.
Lychees, native to China and Southeast Asia, are the size of small strawberries. They are also reddish-pink and heart shaped. Which is maybe why I decided to mix the two in this drink. And since lychees are very mild, with a faint floral fragrance, I thought their tender sweetness would pair well with the tartness of strawberries combined with some lime juice.
The edible white fruit is contained inside a pink husk. You can remove it by peeling it using just your fingers. My preferred way is to make an incision with a pairing knife all the way around the top of the lychee, remove the top of the husk and then grab the bottom of the lychee with your index finger and your thumb, and squeeze. The white fruit should pop right out of its husk.
Before using them in the recipe be sure to remove the hard pit inside the white fruit by slicing it down the middle to access and remove the pit.
I’ve looked at several versions for a daiquiri, and traditionally it can be quite heavy on the alcohol. Some proportions call for two parts fruit to one part rum and some lime juice, others even call for a one to one ratio. I prefer fruitier cocktails, where the taste of the alcohol does not overpower the other ingredients. And especially since lychees are so mild, I decided to use more of the fruit in the recipe.
If you can't find fresh lychees (a local Chinatown or an Asian market is your best bet), you can use canned ones. Since canned lychees are usually preserved in syrup, be sure to adjust the sugar proportions. This drink can also be made without the alcohol as a refreshing ice smoothie.
Lychee and Strawberry Daiquiri
(Makes 2 drinks)
You will need:
1 cup (237 ml) ice
1/2 cup (118 ml) lychees, peeled and pitted
1/2 cup (118 ml) strawberries, coarsely chopped
3/4 oz (22 ml) lime juice
1 tbsp sugar
2 oz (60 ml) rum
In a blender, combine ice, lychees, strawberries, lime juice, sugar and rum and process until well blended. Or omit the rum for an alcohol-free option. Divide between two cocktail glasses, and top the rim of each glass with a strawberry half. Enjoy.