Saturday, June 6, 2015

Debs' Watermelon Gin Fizz

DEBORAH CROMBIE: The Dallas/Fort Worth area had almost 17 inches of rainfall in May. 17!!!!! It was the third wettest May in the area's recorded weather history, and that was after well above average rainfall from February on. After three years of drought we were overjoyed to see it--and then it rained. And rained. And rained. And rained...

What happened to spring? we said. 

And then we said, is it ever going to be SUMMER?

But this last week, the rain finally stopped, the sun came out, and it got HOT. Suddenly it's time to grill, to have garden parties, and to make the sort of drinks you only make for sitting in the shade on the patio.  Here's my recipe for something really different, and amazingly tasty!



Watermelon chunks
Fresh basil leaves
1-2 oz gin (my preferred gin for this is Bombay Sapphire)
1 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
Agave syrup
Proseco, or Cava, or even champagne

Muddle 2 to 3 chunks of watermelon (1 to 2 inches each) in the bottom of a glass with several roughly chopped or torn basil leaves and a teaspoon or so of agave syrup. (You could use simple syrup, or even better, basil simple syrup! But I keep a bottle of agave syrup in the cupboard and it's easy to just add a dash to drinks that need a bit of sweetening.)

Fill the glass with ice, then add an ounce of fresh squeezed lime juice, and an ounce to two ounces gin, depending on how tipsy you like your drink. Top up with Proseco, stir, then garnish with a lime sliver and basil leaves.

I do the muddling part in a broad-bottomed glass, using a wooden spoon, then transfer the watermelon basil mixture to a wine glass. I've found the proportions of the finished cocktail work better in a smaller glass (otherwise it requires too much Proseco.) And it makes a very pretty, festive PINK drink.

This is what I'm having today while I watch the Belmont Stakes this afternoon--no mint juleps required for the Belmont!

What about you, REDS and readers? What drink (tipsy or not) says summer to you?

(As hot as it's been the last few days, I'm thinking old-fashioned homemade lemonade would be just the ticket...)

REDS ALERT! The winner of an Edith Maxwell Local Foods mystery of choice is Mary Kasper!

And the winner of a copy of Martin Edwards' THE GOLD AGE OF MURDER is Joan Emerson!

Please email me your mailing addresses at deb at deborahcrombie dot com

Happy weekend, all!

P.S. Oh, one more thing. When you've finished your drink, EAT the watermelon! It's fabulous!


  1. Seventeen inches of rain? I'm sure you were happy to see the end of those May rainstorms.
    Debs, your Watermelon Gin Fizz sounds positively delightful. I like fruit drinks; one of my favorites is a Blackberry-Mint Julep [the recipe's from Food & Wine]:

    Blackberry-Mint Julep
    Fill a rocks glass half full of ice cubes

    In a shaker, combine
    1/4 cup of blackberries
    2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1-1/2 ounces bourbon
    1/3 cup of ice cubes
    Shake well.

    Strain through coarse sieve

    Garnish with a blackberry and a sprig of mint

  2. Those drinks look amazing! I wonder how it would taste Debs, to leave out the gin and make it with prosecco and watermelon? too tame?

  3. 17 INCHES of rain? I wonder how much snow that would be... said the New Englander.

    That drink sounds so refreshing. Ditto the blackberry mint julep.

    My summer drink is ice cold vodka (any kind), juice from half a lime (or a whole one if it's not real juicy), a splash of cointreau, and cranberry juice. Lots of ice. I don't measure. And if it's a hot day and I feel like tall drink, top it off with sparkling water.

    I'm also a fan of a good tart appley-tasting hard cider. Just open the bottle.

  4. Oh we have what we call a Bestseller!

    Its vodka, fresh lime juice and pink grapefruit liqueur. Shaken with ice in a martini shaker and served in a chilled martini glass!

    Oh--gotta run..more to come!

    ((Would you like a Bestseller? well, yes, yes, I would!)

  5. Joan, that sounds amazing!

    Lucy, I'm thinking... You could sub vodka for the gin, but if you don't want the hard liquor, maybe just add more lime? The watermelon and basil together are such an interesting combo--most watermelon drinks are made with mint, but I saw a recipe for watermelon and basil somewhere and just sort of riffed from there. I'd try it without the gin and see what you think.

    Hallie, I make a very similar gin thing, but I use Creole Shrubb orange liqueur instead of Cointreau, and Pom instead of cranberry. And the rain, oh my gosh. I think the last I heard there were twenty-seven deaths, and there have been billions of dollars of damage. I've never seen anything like it. I think the wettest May before this one was in the forties.

    Hank, a Bestseller, please!!!! Going to try that!

  6. Oh, the addition of basil sounds amazing — we will definitely be trying this! Thanks, Debs!

    And Hank, a Bestseller — too perfect! Where does one get pink grapefruit liqueur? Even in NYC, I don't think I've ever come across it?

  7. I would definitely like a Bestseller.

    Non-alcoholic drink for the summer is fresh-brewed iced tea. Sometimes lemonade. For festive occasions, or relaxing evenings, it's sangria. If I'm feeling ambitious, we'll make our own, but we also found a bottled one that is pretty tasty (says the woman who drank most of a bottle Mother's Day evening and felt pretty good about it).

    I now know better than to try and type the recipe without looking it up, but it involves red wine, citrus juice, and fruit. And someone last year posted a white sangria recipe that I want to try.

  8. Sign me up for a Bestseller! Seriously, do I owe Debs and Hank royalties for hijacking their recipes to try tonight? I live in Florida and my favorite hot weather drink is a Key Lime Martini jigger of vanilla vodka, 1/2 a jigger of liquor 51, Jigger of Key Lime Juice (we use Joe's) and a scoop of great quality vanilla ice cream. Put it in a blender whirl it around enough to liquefy the ice cream and enjoy. If I'm lazy, there are margaritas made from mix and gin and tonics :)

  9. All of these drinks sound most refreshing and delicious, but I'll have to go with Hallie's vodka drink, as vodka is my poison of choice, and he drink is usually what I order when getting a mixed drink somewhere. However, I usually just get the lime as a slice on the side. Next time, I'll have to try the freshly squeezed lime juice.

    I will have to say that your Key Lime Martini sounds like a great drink for Florida, Kait. Joan, I'll have to ask some of my fellow Kentuckians if they've ever made the mint julep like your recipe. Hank, your Best Seller with vodka appeals to me, except for the grapefruit liqueur. Does it have a grapefruit taste? Debs, do you think the vodka substitute for the gin would work well in your yummy drink? Your drink sounds like a great one to fix for guests in the summer.

  10. Ooooh - these all sound delicious and refreshing!!!

    My favorite summer drink is one I pulled from Southern Living several years ago -

    Iced Latte
    2 cups ground coffee
    12 cups water
    1 cup sugar
    1 quart Half & Half
    1 quart milk
    1 Tablespoon vanilla extact
    Brew coffee using 12 cups o water. Stir in sugar untl dissolved. Stir in Half & Half, milk, and vanilla. Chill. Serve over ice.
    And, of course, add your favorite liquor such as Kahlua, Bailey's etc.

  11. Susan and all--It's called Giffard Pink Grapefruit liqueur. We got it at our regular wine store, so if we can get it in Boston, I bet it's available in NYC! SO yummy.

  12. And they are BEAUTIFUL, too.. pale pale pink. Make sure you add a wedge of lime.

  13. Debs, your Watermelon Gin Fizz looks great! And beautiful! And delicious! And I need one right now. Thank you for posting the recipe.

    Kendall and I hope you had a great birthday. We love you so much! xoxoxoxoxxxxxx

  14. That sounds absolutely delicious! I'm a fan of the Debutante, which is a similar drink. Watermelon, Gin, and Champagne (or any sparkling wine) were made to be mixed together! I will have to try this on a hot day.