We enjoyed the breakfast buffet at the new Cuidad de David Hotel this morning, it was full of “typical” Panamanian dishes like corn cakes, salchicha and thinly-sliced white country cheese.

One item I’ve never seen before took my eye. It was a beautifully salmon-pink colored drink served from a frosty, shiny stainless steel juice dispenser. I couldn’t resist pouring a glass and sipping it as I stood before the buffet. I couldn’t wait to carry it back to our table, it was that luscious looking. The taste was fresh, rich and flavorful, not at all watery, like the orange or pineapple juice can be down here. No, this juice was a bit thick, colder than most juices and it reminded me of passion fruit, it was so unusual.

The flavor was obvious, but the form was shocking to me. After my second glass, I asked if it were part watermelon. “Pure watermelon juice, nothing added”, explained the server. “How do you juice a watermelon?”, I asked. Here’s how you do it:

Watermelon Juice

1 watermelon (sandia)
1 blender
1 chinoise

First, you buy a watermelon. On our way back up to Boquete, I bought a lovely ripe watermelon with a few small brown lines on it from our local pick-up truck. Each sandia is $1, there were no huge $2 melons available. The brown lines are marks from honey bees, showing a sweet watermelon must be inside.

When I arrived in my kitchen, I cut the watermelon in half, then into 8ths. It was easy to cut off the rind and to cut the fruit into slender strips. I piled the strips into my blender and added a little crushed ice, which is optional. A quick whiz and it turned to juice. Then, I poured it into my chinois and out drained all the juice, really very easy. The results you can see here, but you miss the naturally sweet, fresh, cool flavor of this freshly-squeezed fruit.

Thanks to Idu and the new Cuidad de David’s Stylo Restaurant for the recipe, it’s excellent!.
I am freezing some of the juice to make watermelon sorbet. David asked how watermelon juice would go with vodka over ice. Good question, I think I’ll try it.
Cheers!
Cora