(Note: this post was originally published on June 11, 2020. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)
A Super-Summery Gimlet Riff
Are you on the hunt for the most perfect summer cocktail? One that's light, bright, fun, and loaded with fresh summer flavors? If so, then I'm happy to report that your quest is complete; this Watermelon Mint Gimlet is everything you've been looking for.
This is a drink that really screams summer. Watermelon is, of course, an iconic summer food. Lime brightens it up and really makes the watermelon shine. Mint brings in a little bit of herbaceousness, and seems so appropriate for summer given that it's currently overtaking our yard (and probably yours too?). It's all complemented by gin, which is complex, floral, and a bit citrusy.
The Gimlet is a classic, very simple gin cocktail that traditionally includes only three things: gin, lime juice, and simple syrup. It's often served in a martini glass or coupe, but can also be on the rocks. For this reason, I love its versatility. You'll see that the recipe below is written in two different ways; one for a smaller, stronger sipper (i.e. in a coupe, as shown here) and one for a larger, more juicy punch-like drink on the rocks. This is a summery riff on the gimlet, but stays true to the core concept of gin and lime.
Gin From my Neighbors!
This post is part of a series of collaborative recipes with my neighbors at Wild Hart Distillery, which is only a few miles from my house. They make a lovely line of gin and other spirits, including a few really unique infused gins. I designed this drink with their American Dry Gin, which is a perfect pairing with these summery flavors.
Wild Hart's American Dry Gin is made from a blend of juniper, coriander, cranberry, and lemon peel. Accordingly, it has a very light, crisp flavor profile. I love that their gin is a bit on the citrusy side rather than really juniper-heavy; the juniper is certainly present, but it's gentle enough to let the other flavors shine as well. This is a gin I'll be sipping all summer long!
If you're interested in other cocktails from our collaboration, make sure to check out my Instagram feed. There are lots of Wild Hart creations there! And I think you'll also love my Chai Tai, which uses Wild Hart's chai-infused rum and is a total show-stopper.
Make It Work for YOU
This drink is so friendly for customization; it's definitely one that can work for pretty much any summer occasion. One option you have is whether you want to serve it as a small, strong sipper or as a big, refreshing punch. Your choice might depend on what time of day it is, who you're making this for, and what else you're serving. See the details below!
Another thing I love about this drink is how much fun you can have with the garnishes. All three of the primary flavors here make great garnishes, so mix and match or go all-out and do them all. As shown above, some melon balls on a cocktail pick are really fun and silly. A lime slice is certainly more traditional, and a sprig of mint is so fresh. In my opinion, if you're serving a bright pink drink, there's really no reason not to have fun garnishes!
If you really want to go over the top, I highly suggest serving this in a hollowed-out watermelon. If you can find baby watermelons, they make for a fun single-serving. Or do it in a big watermelon and go punch bowl style! That would be a blast for any sort of summer gathering. Just make sure to get some straws.
Sipper Versus Punch Versus Mocktail
Want a small, strong sipper? Follow the recipe card below. It's muddled mint, 2 oz gin, 2 oz watermelon juice, 0.5 oz lime juice, and 0.5 oz simple syrup. Shake it with ice, then serve in a chilled coupe glass with no additional ice.
Want a big, refreshing, icy punch? Same idea, but the ratios and serving vessel are different. It's muddled mint, 2 oz gin, 4 oz watermelon juice, 1 oz lime juice, and 0.5 oz simple syrup. Serve it in a big glass over lots of ice.
Want a mocktail or low-alcohol drink? It works great because there are so many other flavors happening here! Just follow the punch ratios and omit the gin, or use a small splash of gin instead of the full 2 ounces.
Let's Talk Ingredients
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
Gin.Wild Hart American Dry Gin, of course! Although if you can't find this, whatever gin you love will be great.
Watermelon juice. Make your own, it's easy! No juicer needed. Just blast it in the blender and strain through a fine-mesh sieve.
Lime juice. Absolutely must be fresh-squeezed!
Simple syrup. Feel free to vary this as your preferences dictate. Using 0.5 oz is traditional for a gimlet, but you can certainly cut it in half or omit it if you prefer a more tart drink (like I do!). Honey simple syrup would also work well here.
Garnishes of choice. Melon balls, lime slices, and/or fresh mint are all fun.
Everything about this cocktail is just plain fun. It's summery, bright pink, a bit whimsical, and super flexible with lots of serving options. It would be great for everything from summer deck parties to picnics to baby showers. It pairs beautifully with fresh summery salads, grilled fare, corn on the cob, and anything that makes you think of long summer days.
If you've never sipped a cocktail out of a watermelon half, it absolutely need to go on your summer to-do list. There's really nothing better or more iconic of warm weather luxury.
Cheers to warm weather, pink gin cocktails, local produce, and spending lots of time outside!
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.