Made with heirloom tomato, basil, watermelon, vodka and lime, Summer Crush is the type of cocktail you could easily enjoy after a day spent at the beach. When you’re feeling a bit parched from being in the sun all day. After you’ve casually dropped your beach bag on the floor, but before you jump in the shower to wash away the surf and sand. Sweet, tart, and incredibly refreshing, Summer Crush is a muddled mix of the best summer produce. And vodka of course.
To make this drink, you’ll first need to prepare a sweet basil syrup. I’d recommend getting this done in advance and storing in the refrigerator. With the syrup prepared, this drink comes together in a matter of moments! Next muddle sweet basil syrup, heirloom tomato, Thai basil and watermelon in the base of a cocktail shaker until the fruit releases its gloriously flavored juice and the basil its oils. I use both sweet and Thai basil for this drink to add some depth of flavor; however, you could certainly use all sweet basil if Thai isn’t available. Finally, shake in some vodka and lime juice to balance out the flavors. The finished cocktail is summer incarnate. Continue reading for the recipe.
For the sweet basil syrup:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- Handful of fresh basil leaves
For the cocktail:
- 1/2 oz. sweet basil syrup
- 1 small sprig Thai basil, about 6 or 7 leaves
- 1/2 small heirloom tomato, preferably red
- 3/4 cup watermelon chunks
- 2 oz. vodka
- Juice of 1/4 lime, plus an additional wedge to garnish
To make the sweet basil syrup, add sugar, water and regular basil to a small saucepan, and warm over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Take the saucepan off the heat, cover and let infuse/cool for 30 minutes. Pour the syrup through a strainer into a clean container. Store the sweet basil syrup in the refrigerator for up to a month or two.
To make the Summer Crush cocktail, add sweet basil syrup to a cocktail shaker with the Thai basil, heirloom tomato and watermelon. Using a muddler (or the back of a wooden spoon), muddle these ingredients together. You want to bruise the basil, and release the juices from the tomato and watermelon.
Add vodka, lime juice and ice to the cocktail shaker, secure the lid, and shake until the drink is mixed and well-chilled. Taste a little bit of the drink, and add more sweet basil syrup or lime juice to taste. Pour the drink through a fine-mesh basket strainer into a short tumbler filled with ice. Discard solids. Garnish the glass with a wedge of lime.
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