On Friday July 28, 2017, all roads lead to Halifax County Virginia for the 37th annual Virginia Cantaloupe Festival. The Lope Fest, as it is known locally, will be held on the grounds of Berry Hill Resort and Conference Center on historic River Road. It is the perfect setting for this blow-out shindig featuring the ever-popular Halifax County cantaloupes. There’s also music, food, friends, and big fun! If you are near-by and haven’t been, check it out. Tickets go fast so make up your mind a.s.a.p.
The Berry Hill Estate is a former plantation and the Greek Revival mansion is the crown-jewel of the property. Built by James Coles Bruce in 1842, it features a floating horse shoe staircase. Today it is a popular venue for weddings and other milestone celebrations.
But back to the Lope Fest. What better occasion to inspire a summertime sipper? I decided to create the Halifax County Lope Fest Mule.
The center piece of this laid-back libation is cantaloupe-infused vodka. Infused vodka is super easy to make. But you’ll want to start now so that you have it ready in time for the festival.
To make the infusion, get the sweetest, juiciest cantaloupe you can find. Cut off the rind and cut the cantaloupe into chunks. Put the chunks, and as much of the juice as you can round up, into [affiliate link] a quart Mason jar. A wide-mouth jar is best but any quart jar will do. Fill it with vodka. You know which vodka you like best. Use that. Put the lid on tight and store the jar in a cool, dark place for at least a week. Give it a light shake every so often to persuade the flavors to mix and mingle. If you can stand to wait two weeks, do that.
Whenever you feel your infusion has reached perfection, strain that liquid gold from the cantaloupe chunks. Put the chunks in an air-tight container and freeze them. You’ll need them later so don’t freeze them in a clump. Try to maintain their integrity as individuals. Put a lid on the vodka and either freeze it or store it in the refrigerator.
I don’t want to be bossy but I’d make two jars of the infused vodka. Maybe more. Y’all know what you need.
Traditionally Mules are served in [affiliate link] a copper mug. That really put me on the horns of a dilemma. I love a copper mug. But I also love a Mason jar. And I figured a down-home drink needed a down-home container. So, Mason jar it is.
How to make a Halifax County Lope Fest Mule :
Fill your jar half full of ice.
Throw some frozen cantaloupe cubes on top of the ice.
Pour in 3 ounces of cantaloupe-infused vodka.
Top it with ginger beer.
Cut a fresh cantaloupe into cubes and throw some in the jar.
So easy. So good. I’m not one to tell folks how to enjoy their libations so adjust the ingredients to your liking. Mix it by the jar. Mix it by the pitcher. No need to wait until the Lope Fest to give it a try.
And if you really want to put it in a copper mug, help yourself.