Some cocktails are intended as contemplative affairs, drinks to be nursed thoughtfully in a moody bar. The Whatamelon, from San Francisco bar professional H. Joseph Ehrmann, is not one of those drinks. This bright red watermelon cooler is best enjoyed beach-side, on a sunny summer day. It’s playful, fun, not too complicated or serious, and most of all, it’s delicious and refreshing.
The cooler starts with watermelon juice, which is easy enough to get simply by crushing up some chunks of watermelon—there’s really no reason to get fancy or buy watermelon juice. That gets muddled with mint, which releases beautiful aromatics that pair well with the watermelon. Cucumber vodka is the base spirit, which gives the drink a crisp and vegetal brightness. There are plenty of good, affordable brands out there to choose from, like Effen Cucumber, Stoli and the cucumber-mint vodka from Ketel One. Choosing a cucumber-mint vodka is reasonable, as the drink gets 6 mint leaves added, as well. If you go with one, you may want to taste it first to make sure the mint isn’t overbearing.
For added sweetness and botanicals, Ehrmann adds St-Germain, an elderflower liqueur, as well as agave nectar (you could use simple syrup, instead, if need be). Lime juice keeps things fresh and bright, and to enliven it even more he suggests a float of a crisp white wine, like a sauvignon blanc or albariño. If you’d rather not open a bottle of wine (or bring one to the beach), feel free to omit it.
- 2 ounces watermelon juice
- 6 mint leaves
- 1 1/2 ounces cucumber vodka
- 1 ounce St-Germain
- 1/2 ounce agave nectar
- 1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 ounce crisp white wine, such as sauvignon blanc (optional)
- Garnish: mint sprig
Add the watermelon juice and mint into a shaker and muddle gently.
Add the cucumber vodka, St-Germain, agave nectar and lime juice, fill with ice, and shake until well-chilled.
Double-strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice.
Top with white wine if desired.
Garnish with a mint sprig.