Hannah Palmer Egan
There's a watermelon in my fridge.
Ripe is the season for massive, oblong fruits. (Yes, I see you, Monster Zucchini
, but this isn't about you.)
See this watermelon in my fridge? Picked Sunday at 4 Corners Farm
in Newbury, its preternatural sweetness is helping offset the bitter fact that it's mid-August — and there are pumpkins blushing orange in the wings.
That alone justifies a cocktail...
Really, any excuse to pull out a bottle of Stonecutter Spirits'
barrel-aged gin is excuse enough for me. I'll swoon for a good gin any day of the week, but I'm especially fond of this new(ish) trend toward barrel-aging the stuff (Caledonia Spirits' Tom Cat gin
is another fine local example) and Stonecutter's version — released earlier this summer after many moons at rest
— is really quite special.
Taken straight, this gin's a cool, herbal tonic, antidote to a tired working day — or muggy Sunday. Drinking it unadorned allows one to savor every jewel-toned botanical, to lap up its twinge of whiskey-barrel butterscotch.
But it also makes merry with fruit (gin and juice
: it's a classic) and it's hot outside and I have a melon on my hands.
Last night I froze some of that melon. Today, I hacked off some more and threw it in a glass with gin and herbs and cucumber and a bit of spritz. And I'm still chewing my way through frozen bits of watermelon and basil...
Gin Melon Cooler
Hannah Palmer Egan
Gin, cucumber, melon, herbs
(4 cocktails per cucumber)
- Angostura Bitters
- Stonecutter Spirits barrel-aged gin (Caledonia Spirits' Tom Kat gin works, too!)
- Mint or basil or both
- Cut a few slices of watermelon into one-inch cubes. Or, if you have a melon-baller, use that! Place these on a cookie sheet, making sure the melons aren't touching each other. Freeze until solid.
- When cocktail time arrives, toss a scant teaspoon of sugar into a Collins glass or other midsize vessel. Add a few drops of bitters, a spring of fresh mint or basil (or both) and a couple pieces of unfrozen watermelon. Mottle these, then add two ounces (about a shot and a half) of gin, a few cucumber slices, several frozen watermelon cubes and a couple ice cubes.
- Stir well, top with seltzer and gently stir again, pulling the fruit and booze up from the bottom with a spoon. Squeeze a lime wedge over all, garnish with more mint or basil and serve straight away.