I have been making a Watermelon-Basil Granita for years now, and it just now occurred to me to combine the same flavors into a cocktail. The spirit? Cathead Vodka's new Honeysuckle Vodka, the only booze I can say that reminds me of my childhood summers at my grandparents' homes in southeastern Virginia. When I found a bush redolent with the dulcet blossoms, I would carefully pluck the stamen through the flower, and touch the stamen, bowed with the drop of nectar, to my tongue. The subtle floral note in Cathead's Honeysuckle Vodka brings back those moments of childish innocence, when my only frustration was not catching enough fireflies to fill a mason jar.
Basil simple syrup is something I don't think enough bars use in their cocktails. Its slight bite lends a deeper flavor to the often sickly-sweet simple syrup. Watermelon juice, a neutral, refreshing foundation, provides a foil to the stronger herbal flavor of the basil. Altogether, the cocktail is a little sweet, a little tart, and absolutely perfect for steamy summer evenings here in the Deep South.
Honeywater Basil Cooler
Makes 1 drink
1 cup of watermelon chunks, pureed and strained
3 tablespoons basil simple syrup (See Watermelon Basil Granita recipe)
1 shot Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka
juice of 1 lime
sprig of basil
In a highball glass full of ice, pour vodka. Add watermelon juice, syrup, and lime juice. Garnish with lime wedges and sprig of basil. Enjoy!