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Summer Watermelon Vodka Cocktail

Not every day is a wine day – even we have to admit that sometimes. Since the days of seed-spitting contests are long gone, we bring you the perfect summer-weather drink for grownups. With watermelon in season and basil taking over the garden, here is an amazing thirst quencher with a welcome kick.

Ingredients (serves 6):

  • 1/2 of a watermelon, rind removed and cut into chunks (about 12 cups)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil and several sprigs for garnish
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2/3 cup vodka (can be adjusted down or up depending on your preference)
  • Salt, optional

Juice the watermelon in a juicer or blender until smooth. Cool watermelon juice in refrigerator. (I prefer a juicer as the blender will provide a thicker watermelon consistency.)

Next make a basil simple syrup by dissolving the sugar in the water, in a pot over medium heat until it comes to a boil and the sugar dissolves. Once boiling, remove from the heat and add the 1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves. Stir to coat and the leaves will wilt in the hot water. Allow the leaves to steep in the refrigerator until cool. The longer the leaves steep, the more the syrup will take on a basil flavor; three to four hours is fine, and even overnight will give you a stronger basil flavor.

For that true down South feel, rim the jars with salt. Combine watermelon juice, vodka, fresh lime juice and 1/4 cup of the basil simple syrup in a pitcher and stir.

At this point you may pour over ice, but I prefer to put the drink into a shaker with ice, shaking until blended and cold. Pour directly into salt-rimmed mason jars, garnishing with a lime wedge and sprig or two of basil.

You will definitely want to make a batch or two ahead of time, as these will go dangerously quick!

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