Normally, we post these recipes on Fridays, when most people can really use a drink. But I’ve been knocked out by a cold for the past few days, and the one kind of drink that’s good for a cold – a Hot Toddy – is not welcome in this weather. So here we are, on a Tuesday and, let’s be honest, plenty of people can probably already use a drink this week. So here’s a summer-perfect Watermelon-Basil Rum Smash to see you through till Friday. –Andrew
Watermelon-Basil Rum Smash
2 oz Amber Rum
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
5-6 Basil Leaves
1/2 cup Watermelon
In a cocktail shaker, combine the rum and basil leaves, then muddle the basil leaves to break them up a bit. Add the lime juice, simple syrup, and a big scoop of fresh watermelon to the shaker, then add a few pieces of ice, the bigger the better. Shake hard to smash up the basil and watermelon, then strain into a tumbler filled with fresh crushed ice. Garnish with more basil and enjoy!
This is a wonderfully fresh and refreshing drink, bursting with savory and sweet and tart flavors and backed by the rum’s notes of molasses. It hits you first with the aroma of basil, then fruit and citrus and more basil. Fresh watermelon gives this drink a wonderfully summery air and a gorgeous pink color; I almost added “and finely strain” to the instructions, to remove any pulp, but I don’t want to do anything to take away from that color. Normally, I’d use more simple syrup in a drink with that much lime juice, to balance out the tart, but the watermelon is sweet enough on its own to warrant a smaller dose.
I’ll use this as another opportunity to lobby for everyone to grow their own cocktail gardens. It’s super easy – we’re actually using an old shipping pallet, left over from our bathroom renovation, turned into a vertical herb garden – and so, so rewarding. There’s nothing like walking out the back door, plucking some fresh basil leaves right off the stem, and turning them into a cocktail right then and there. A cocktail is only as good as its weakest ingredient, and fresh produce really does some magic to your drinks.
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Glassware by Liquorary
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper