Caribbean Red Papaya Punch

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.

Makes: 12 cocktails

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

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18 Responses to “Caribbean Red Papaya Punch”

  1. 1
    eliana tardio — June 16, 2011 @ 5:19 am

    Ilove papaya, great post ;) happy papaya’s month!

    • Muy Bueno Cookbook replied: — June 27th, 2011 @ 9:48 pm

      Hola Eliana, I love papayas too. I like cutting one up and standing over the sink and eating some before I do anything else with it. Three more papaya days left…yea!

  2. 2
    Jacki — June 16, 2011 @ 8:11 am

    This looks awesome–I am a papaya devotee and wrote a tribute a few months ago here: http://meximoxie.com/2011/03/30/the-gringas-guide-to-the-mexican-kitchen-a-passion-for-papaya/ Thanks for the recipe to add to my collection!

    • Muy Bueno Cookbook replied: — June 27th, 2011 @ 9:55 pm

      Hi Jacki, I like your tips for cutting and peeling a papaya and thanks for visiting.

  3. 3
    Ericka — June 16, 2011 @ 8:15 am

    Same here Yvette, I “learned to like papaya.” I wasn’t too fond of the seed smell but once those are gone, it’s a whole different story. I love it in bionicos with yogurt and granola. I have 3 papaya trees in my back yard and it’s always a comedy show trying to get them down before they ripen, fall and break open. Good times :)

    • Muy Bueno Cookbook replied: — June 27th, 2011 @ 9:58 pm

      Ericka, Lucky, you have not one, but 3 papaya trees, that’s awesome. Do they ripen about this time of year, in June, during papaya month?? LOL…I hope so.

  4. 4
    Charissa — June 16, 2011 @ 9:23 am

    I’m the same….l learned to like it…but it’s sure good now…especially dried.

    • Muy Bueno Cookbook replied: — June 27th, 2011 @ 9:59 pm

      Charissa, I’ve had mango dried but not papaya, it sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing, I will have to get some next time I find them somewhere.

  5. 5
    T. — June 16, 2011 @ 10:16 am

    I really love papaya but when I try to buy them, sometimes they smell odd. Not sure how to pick a good one at the market?

    • Mary Ostlund replied: — June 17th, 2011 @ 7:42 am

      try the Caribbean Red papaya, that variety has a sweet taste and smell.

    • Muy Bueno Cookbook replied: — June 27th, 2011 @ 10:01 pm

      T, I don’t know about the funky smell. I’d stay away from a less than flowery smell. This is why I like Caribbean papaya so much less guess work. They don’t have a bizarre smell when you open them and they are naturally super sweet.

  6. 6
    Lynda Compton — June 17, 2011 @ 7:37 am

    Some papayas do have a musky smell and taste. I buy the Caribbean red papayas cause they’re sweeter (in taste and smell).

  7. 7
    Mary Ostlund — June 17, 2011 @ 7:39 am

    I didn’t know it was papaya month. What a great way to celebrate! I too love the Caribbean Red papaya

  8. 8
    sweetlife — June 22, 2011 @ 9:10 pm

    I love this!! Papaya is one of my favs and this stunning glass would be the perfect way to celebrate summer!!

    sweetlife

    • Muy Bueno Cookbook replied: — June 27th, 2011 @ 10:03 pm

      Sweetlife, Cheers, to summer. Are you holding up your glass of papaya drink with me? Salud!!

  9. 9
    Ben — June 23, 2011 @ 10:08 am

    I didn’t know there was a national papaya month. I love them and I’m sure I’ll love this drink :)

    • Muy Bueno Cookbook replied: — June 27th, 2011 @ 10:04 pm

      Ben, let us know when you do give this drink a taste test….we’d love to hear back from you. Cheers.

  10. Pingback: Paleta de Papaya y Coco (Papaya and Coconut Popsicle) « Muy Bueno Cookbook

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