I’m eating my fill of watermelon as the summer ends, and one of my current favorites is this simple cocktail. Mezcal, an earthy liquor made from roasted and fermented aloe juice, had a distinct smoky flavor and is often used in heavier drinks (or sipped straight up in its native-setting, Mexico). Although the spirit has gained recent popularity, the mezcal industry is still on the smaller side. Unlike its more commercial cousin tequila (also made from fermented aloe, but not roasted or smoked), whose popularity has led to large commercial production and marketing campaigns, artisan distillers still make the majority of the mezcals in Mexico, producing a variety of nuanced, intensely flavored spirits.
This combination of sweet watermelon juice and mezcal makes for a funky sip, enhanced with a touch of spicy salt on the rim. It’s an easy drinking kind of cocktail, a sort of grown-up margarita, and it’s perfect for the last few hot weeks of summer.
Serving: 1 drink
2 ounces tequillo blanco
2 ounces fresh watermelon juice
½ ounce mezcal
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon simple syrup
Combine the tequila, watermelon juice, mezcal, lime juice, and syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain and pour into a glass lined with chili salt.