Watermelon Rosemary Smash
Technically, we still have a few more weeks until the "first day of summer" arrives, but it feels like it's already been here for about a month. In Denver, we've been having 90-degree weeks since mid-May; in a way, it's atrocious -- but in another light, it makes me oddly happy. I am a winter girl through-and-through, but I am in love with summer when it finally decides to show up. And when those afternoon mountain thunderstorms roll through while I'm sitting at my desk or working away in the kitchen, I can feel my mood spike through the roof, and all I want to do is either run outside and play in the rain OR -- what I most often do -- is sit on my porch and have a little drink.
Enter this Watermelon Rosemary Smash.
Fruity from the watermelon, earthy from the rosemary, just sweet enough and just enough of a boozy kick: it's the perfect summer drink, and that's saying a lot coming from me -- I'm as much of a picky drinker as I am a non-picky eater. I hate vodka, I hate gin, but I love bourbon, whiskey and tequila, and if I can't taste the bourbon or whiskey or tequila in whatever I'm drinking, I'm not going to drink it.
That said, though this cocktail may look fruity, sweet and feminine -- which it still is, don't get me wrong -- it's stronger than you think. And I have a feeling I'll be sipping on it all summer long.
Watermelon Rosemary Smash
Makes 4 cocktails
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup diced watermelon (rinds removed)
1/2 cup bourbon
1 tablespoon simple syrup
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 small watermelon slices, for garnish
5 rosemary sprigs; 1 for shaker and 4 for garnish
6 cubes of ice
Rosemary Sugar (for rim, optional)
1/2 sprig rosemary, minced (or pulsed in food processor)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk sugar and water until sugar dissolves, about 8-10 minutes. Pour into a mason jar and reserve at room temperature -- simple syrup will keep for about a week.
In a food processor or in a blender, blend watermelon until mixture is smooth. Strain mixture into a large bowl and ensure no seeds or chunks remain.
Add bourbon, 1 tablespoon simple syrup, lemon juice, rosemary sprig and watermelon to a cocktail shaker, and add the ice. Shake briefly to chill.
In a shallow bowl, combine minced rosemary and granulated sugar. Using a paper towel dipped in bourbon, lightly run the paper towel around the rims of 4 rocks glasses.
Gently dip the glasses into the rosemary sugar, twisting to make sure the whole rim is coated. Add a few ice cubes to the glasses, and distribute watermelon cocktail evenly. Top with a watermelon slice and a rosemary sprig.