Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Rum Cocktails

La Estrella

La Estrella cocktail in a brandy snifter, garnished with a strawberry half and pineapple on a wooden skewer
Image: / Tim Nusog

La Estrella is a spicy and sweet cocktail from New York bartender Phil Ward, who’s best known for his time at pioneering bars Death & Co. and Mayahuel, and for concocting modern classics like the Oaxaca Old Fashioned. To make this fruit-forward elixir, he starts by muddling sugar cubes with club soda and watermelon. Muddling is a cocktail technique employed in a diverse bunch of drinks, including the Mojito and Whiskey Smash. It’s a great way to break down fruits and herbs, release flavors and infuse one ingredient into another.

Ward uses Flor de Caña 4-year-old rum from Nicaragua as the base spirit in the cocktail, pairing it with rum’s favorite partner, fresh lime juice. A pinch of cayenne goes straight into the shaker, lending a hint of spice to the liquid ingredients.

Rum, lime juice and sugar are the three tenets of the classic Daiquiri, so you can consider La Estrella a Daiquiri riff. But with the watermelon and cayenne, it has a flavor all its own.

Once the cocktail is stirred and strained, it’s topped with club soda, which gives each sip a refreshing kick of bubbles. Finally, a pineapple-and-strawberry garnish provides a finishing flourish to this delicious drink.


  • 4 sugar cubes

  • 3 ounces club soda, chilled and divided

  • 4 1-inch chunks seedless watermelon

  • 2 ounces Flor de Caña 4-year-old rum

  • 1 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper

  • Garnish: pineapple slice

  • Garnish: strawberry half


  1. In a mixing glass, muddle the sugar cubes and 1 ounce of club soda until the sugar is dissolved.

  2. Add the watermelon pieces and muddle again.

  3. Add the rum, lime juice and cayenne pepper, and stir until well-chilled.

  4. Strain into a large snifter over one large ice cube.

  5. Top with the remaining 2 ounces of club soda.

  6. Garnish with a pineapple slice and a strawberry.