Watermelon and bourbon is not the kind of combo that sounds as if it will work – and yet it does, beautifully, in this celebratory drink that showcases notes of vanilla, chocolate and toffee offset by a good balance of ripe sweetness and refreshing tart notes. These go down a treat on a hot day – and they’ll disappear as fast as their namesake, so consider making a whole jugful if you’re serving them to a crowd.


125ml watermelon puree (to make it, just blend chunks of seedless watermelon together until they’re liquified)

5 fresh Thai basil leaves

30ml sugar syrup

7ml lime juice

45ml bourbon


Old-fashioned or tumbler


Muddle the basil, sugar syrup and lime juice in a mixing tin. Add about 6 good chunks of ice plus remaining ingredients and shake vigorously. Pour the whole lot, including the ice, into the glass. Garnish with a basil leaf if desired, and serve.


This delightfully refreshing, addictive drink is from Asian Cocktails by Holly Jennings and Christine LeBlond (Tuttle, 2009), which, curiously, seems to feature lots of cocktails inspired by Asia but none from any Asian bars. Perhaps that’s because back when it was published, the cocktail craze hadn’t hit Asia? There are definitely truckloads of great bars there now – if you’re ever in Singapore, say, then check out Library, while over in Myanmar there’s the lovely Gekko.


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