Chris and Christy are new friends of mine, and like the start of many a budding friendship, we realized we all had a common interest: Alcohol.

But drinking buddies are different after you turn 30. Now, I’m more apt to geek out with my fellow “spirit connoisseurs” over whacky drink recipes, than play beer pong with them. Not that I ever played beer pong in my 20s or anything.

So, armed with a watermelon and a few half-baked cocktail ideas, I headed over to Chris and Christy’s house on Sunday for a Mexican Martini experiment. An experiment that ended up taking a hard detour out of Mexican Martini Land … but, that’s just what happens sometimes with drink testing. Must sip every so often for quality control, don’t you know.

But before I get into all that, I must tell you about Chris and Christy’s house.  So open!  So airy!  So affectionately accessorized!

This chalk board records Chris and Christy’s weekly meals, so that they make sure to use everything they bought at the grocery store that week. I like to think that CAKE! was consumed just as quickly as it was written on that chalk board, then erased by Chris and/or Christy in a fit of sugar high.

Chris and Christy’s cat, Eva. Not cute at all, right?

Alright then, onto the drinking.

First, we decided to start with a Mexican Martini base — this drink would be Chris’s creation. However, instead of the traditional Mexican Martini — orange juice, tequila, Cointreau, lime, etc. — we decided to push things in a more savory direction, and being true Texans, in a more spicy direction as well.

One of my secret, evil joys in life is to suggest jalapeno-laced things to non-Texans, and watch them sweat/turn red/reach for water and say, “WOO!  That is HOT!” (Cough, wheeze) “I … I don’t know how you eat this!”

Which made me all the more delighted about adding jalapenos to our Mexican Martini. Because they’re so sweet, you know?  They need a powerful punch to cut through all that sugar. We also added cracked black pepper to feel extra badass.

We call this, “The Caliente.”

But people — people!  That was Chris’s day in the sun.  Next up was my watermelon, soon-to-be-very-tasty, most-likely-tastier-than-Chris’s, drink. I couldn’t wait to school him. Just look how pretty!

My beverage: So amazing, people throw flowers.

Ok, so, if you want to get really technical about it … Chris may have also made this drink. BUT!  I contributed the watermelon!  And loads of enthusiasm. Especially when Chris displayed the three different types of alcohol with which we would mix our newly-juiced watermelon.

Now, you can’t see it here, but Chris and Christy actually made their own Herbs de Provence-infused vermouth, which we would end up combining with the watermelon.

Wait. I lied!  You can see it:

Ok, there we go. Infusing obviously takes a little dedication — it’s a task for the more committed spirit enthusiast — but my God, is it worth it. Here in Austin, Rio Rita does this quite nicely.

Anyway, we mixed the Herbs de Provence-infused vermouth with the watermelon juice … et voila!  Refreshing, not too sweet, with a vaguely lavender quality to the whole thing. It’s a dangerous one, that beverage (which we named “The Eva,” after the cat), because you feel so virtuous drinking it, you could very well virtue yourself to the ground and pass out.

Christy, an impartial judge. (But notice she’s drinking my Eva.)

So, who’s drink won?  That’s probably for you to decide. Chris posted both recipes today over at his blog, so you should definitely check those out, and make yourself some this weekend. Then get back to me, and let me know that you really did like The Eva best which one you enjoyed the most.

Cheers, and happy Friday!

Images by Chris Perez et moi.