Dragon Fruit Cucumber Limeade

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Dragon Fruit Cucumber Limeade is an easy, refreshing, and vibrant drink to enjoy this spring or summer. This versatile recipe can be made with still or sparkling water, booze or no booze, and made for one, or batched for a group.

With the on-going Coronavirus crisis limiting my trips to the grocery store (and also what ingredients are available), I’ve been creating a lot of drinks with simple ingredients and with what I already have in my freezer or pantry. One thing I always have in the freezer is frozen fruit, which can be a great way to make cocktail/mocktail syrups without the need for fresh produce.

I love the vibrant color and melon-like flavor of pink dragon fruit (also called pitaya), so I routinely purchase frozen dragon fruit from Whole Foods. My current go-to is the brand Pitaya Plus, which comes in individual 100g pouches so there’s no need to measure. The individual servings are designed to be easily popped into smoothies, but since the only ingredient is organic dragon fruit, you can use it for anything you like, including this pink limeade!

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What does dragon fruit taste like?

Dragon fruit comes in a few different colors, some with white flesh and some with pink, but they all have a very mild flavor that could be compared to a mix of melon, kiwi, and pear. The texture is very similar to kiwi, with small edible seeds. Don’t be intimidated by fresh dragon fruit, if you can find it in stores! All you have to do to prepare the fresh fruit is cut it in half and scoop the soft flesh out of the thick pink or yellow rind.

Where can I find frozen dragon fruit?

Pitaya Plus is available on Amazon, but it’s currently crazy expensive, so I’m not going to link to it. If you’re a member of Amazon Prime, you can look for it under the Whole Foods Market department tab. In my area, it’s available to be delivered same day and is $6.99 for a bag of four pouches (enough to make four batches of syrup).

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Can I substitute another fresh or frozen fruit?

Absolutely. What’s considered a pantry or freezer staple for some might not be the same for others, and with the difficulty getting even every day items at grocery stores right now, I know frozen dragon fruit might be too hard to find. Dragon fruit lends a mild flavor and a bright color to this limeade, so you can substitute with frozen strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries for an equally delicious and brightly colored drink.

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How to make Dragon Fruit Cucumber Limeade

This pink limeade is very quick and easy to make. It requires no cooking and minimal prep!

  1. Make the syrup: In a heatproof jar or other container, combine a cup of sugar, a cup of hot water (it doesn’t need to be boiling, just hot so that it thaws the frozen fruit), and a 100g (approximately 1/2 cup) packet of frozen dragon fruit and stir. Let the mixture sit a few minutes until it’s fully thawed, then use a fine mesh strainer to strain out the dragon fruit seeds and any excess pulp. This recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups of syrup, which is enough for 12 individual drinks or 1 large batch, plus 1/2 cup of leftover syrup (which could make 4 more individual drinks).
  2. Juice your limes: If you’re making single servings, you’ll only need a lime or two, as the recipe calls for 1 ounce of lime juice per drink. If making a pitcher of this pink limeade for a group, you’ll need 1 cup of fresh lime juice. Depending on the size and ripeness of the limes, the number of fruits you’ll need may vary, but a good rule of thumb is that 1 lime will produce about 1 ounce of juice. This means you’ll need about 8 limes for 8 ounces (1 cup) of juice.
  3. Cucumber, jalapeno, or other add-ins: When making individual glasses of this dragon fruit limeade, I love to muddle half of a baby cucumber per drink to give it a cucumber-melon flavor. If you like it spicy, you can muddle a slice or two of jalapeno, too. You can add these flavors to a large batch of the limeade by adding the cucumbers and/or jalapenos to a blender with a small amount of water, then straining the resulting liquid into the pitcher.
  4. Still or sparkling? If you like a traditional limeade, you can use regular cold water. If you want a sparkling limeade, you’ll need some sparkling water like club soda or seltzer. You’ll need 4-6 ounces of sparkling water per drink, or 4-6 cups of sparkling water per pitcher. This is about half of a 12 ounce can (single serving) or 1 1/2 liters (large batch).
  5. Cocktail or mocktail? You can easily adapt this recipe to include or exclude booze. Vodka and tequila are great liquors with dragon fruit, cucumber and lime, but feel free to use whatever spirit you prefer or have on hand. If opting for a cocktail version, just make sure that you don’t over-dilute the limeade. You’ll need a bit less water than the non-alcoholic option, so start with less water initially (4 oz or 4 cups) – you can always add more after.

If you enjoy this recipe, you may also like my Best Lemonade Ever, Basil Lime Smash, or Pineapple Chamomile Lemonade!

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Dragon Fruit Cucumber Limeade

Amy Traynor
This beautiful pink limeade is quick and easy to make with frozen dragon fruit and fresh limes. You can make it still or sparkling, cocktail or mocktail!
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 1 drink

Ingredients
  

For the dragon fruit syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup hot water (does not need to be boiling)
  • 100 g frozen pink dragon fruit (about 1/2 cup)

For the Dragon Fruit Cucumber Limeade:

  • 1 oz dragon fruit syrup
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 baby cucumber (or 3 slices large cucumber)
  • 1 slice jalapeno (optional)
  • 4-6 oz still or sparkling water (to taste)
  • 1 1/2 oz vodka or tequila (optional)

To make a large batch:

  • 1 cup dragon fruit syrup
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice (about 8-9 limes)
  • 4-6 cups cold still or sparkling water (to taste)
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno, chopped (optional. Remove seeds for less heat)
  • 1 1/2 cups vodka or tequila (optional)

Instructions
 

For the dragon fruit syrup:

  • Combine the sugar, hot water, and frozen dragon fruit in a heatproof jar or other container. Stir to help thaw the fruit and dissolve the sugar.
  • Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes, until all of the fruit has thawed and the sugar has dissolved. Use a fine mesh strainer to strain out the seeds and any excess pulp.
  • Store any leftover syrup in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

For the Dragon Fruit Cucumber Limeade:

  • In a cocktail shaker, muddle the cucumber and optional jalapeno.
  • If using still water: Add the syrup, lime juice, optional alcohol and 4-6 ounces of water to the shaker and fill 3/4 with ice. (If using vodka, start with 4 ounces of water, you can add more, to taste, afterward).
  • Shake until chilled, then fine strain the liquid into a highball glass filled with ice and garnish with cucumber.
  • If using sparkling water: Add the syrup, lime juice, optional alcohol and 1 ounce of still water to the shaker and fill 3/4 with ice.
  • Shake until chilled, then fine strain the liquid into a highball glass with ice and top with 4-5 ounces of sparkling water, to taste. Garnish with cucumber.

To make a large batch:

  • Add the cucumber and optional jalapeno to a blender with enough water for the blender to operate (try 1/4 cup). Blend until mostly liquified, then use a fine strainer to remove the pulp, reserving the liquid. If you don't have a blender, you can use a muddler or a large wooden spoon to mash the cucumber and jalapeno in a small bowl or large measuring cup, then strain, pressing on the pulp to extract as much liquid as possible. Reserve the liquid.
  • In a large pitcher, add the dragon fruit syrup, fresh lime juice, and cucumber/jalapeno liquid. Stir to combine.
  • If adding vodka or tequila, add 12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) alcohol to the pitcher and top with 4-5 cups of cold still or sparkling water, to taste. If skipping the alcohol, add 5-6 cups of still or sparkling water, to taste. Stir gently and serve in highball glasses over ice. Garnish each drink with cucumber.
Keyword cucumber, dragon fruit, limeade, spring drinks, summer cocktails, tequila, vodka
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