Happy National Papaya Month! Yup, it’s true, there is such a thing! So with that said today we have a refreshing papaya cocktail recipe to share, with or without the alcohol it’s up to you. Either way, if you love papaya’s you’ll enjoy this refreshing drink, the colder the better.
I didn’t grow up eating much papaya. Why you ask? I have no idea. You know, kids usually grow up eating what their parents eat. It’s only as we get older and leave home that we start experimenting with foods never eaten at home. Take the papaya for instance; I didn’t know anything about it growing up. I remember mistaking papaya for cantaloupe at a buffet once. I did not like that variety so for years I shied away from it. It does taste a lot like cantaloupe but I would say papaya has a deeper smokier tone. It’s the exotic cousin with a big punch of vitamins and mystique.
So here’s the skinny on papayas. There are two major types of papayas: Mexican and Hawaiian but more papayas are being imported from other parts of the world. The one I love is the Caribbean Papaya. Papayas pack quite a punch with vitamins A & C and are also a great source of folate, potassium, and fiber. They’re not very pretty on the outside but are gorgeous inside.
It wasn’t until recently that I was at Trader Joe’s and saw these Caribbean Red Papayas and decided to give it another try. As soon as I got home I cut it open, only to see these dark, pearl-like seeds glistening in their own juice bursting from its inner cavity and surrounded by a sea of bright red flesh. I have to admit I was somewhat still skeptical about the taste but just had to give it another try. Oh my gosh, the minute the fruit hit my tongue it melted away. I was pleasantly surprised, I literally squealed in delight which only brought my kids running to the kitchen to see what the big fuss was all about. It has quickly become one of my favorite tropical fruits.
Now when I see these delicious Caribbean papayas at the grocery store I buy them because I know they’re great as a snack or this refreshing cocktail. The next papaya post will be our version of a papaya paleta (popsicle). For now, let’s celebrate the rest of June with this tropical cocktail. Make sure to puree the entire papaya which is enough to make about 12 cocktails.
Caribbean Red Papaya Punch
Yield: 12 cocktails
1 small Caribbean papaya, seeded, and chopped
½ cup water
1 cup crushed ice
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1 ounce agave nectar
2 ounces light rum
Sparking wine or club soda (optional) I like it without but my sister likes it with. You be the judge.
Lime wheel for garnish
Blend papaya in a blender with water to make the puree.
In a cocktail shaker combine ice, 2 ounces of papaya puree, lime juice, agave nectar, and rum. This is for just one cocktail but you have enough papaya puree for about 12 cocktails.
Serve in a glass over ice. If you want to add some fizz, add a splash of sparking wine or club soda. Garnish with a lime wheel.
Photography by Jeanine Thurston