Nothing to do in this heat but sip something cool and refreshing, and either seek AC on someone else’s dime, or find the shadiest spot around.
Twice, I hit a delicious basil drink: Once, at Really Relish, a charming vintage boutique on Anna Maria Island. The owner had put out a huge jug of ice water filled with fresh bruised basil leaves in it for visitors to help themselves. It was delicious on a day when everyone was avoiding the outdoors. Even the beaches were sparsely populated – the Gulf was so hot, it was like a hot tub, and the pools were worse. (Plant some shade around your pools!)
A second, even cooler drink came in a weekly email from The Spirit, an email I get from Snooth.com (if you don’t subscribe but like wines and spirits, you’re missing out). A yellow watermelon-infused gin is mixed with basil and mint for the All in the Golden Afternoon drink.
I love that it’s served in a Mason jar – for me, the epitome of fine glassware for summer. Here’s their recipe.
All in the Golden Afternoon
For one drink:
- 1-¾ oz. electric yellow watermelon infused Hendricks Gin (non-infused can be used) – see note
- ¾ oz. white dessert wine (late harvest riesling, sauternes or tokaj work nicely)
- 3 large mint leaves
- 2 large basil leaves
- 1 ½ oz. juice of yellow watermelon (or 5 2-by-2-inch watermelon chunks, juiced)
- ¾ oz. lemon
- 1 ½ oz. soda water
Muddle the mint and basil together with firm pressure for 15 seconds. If you do not have a juicer, muddle the watermelon chunks after and on top of the herbs for an additional 15 seconds. Add all ingredients minus the soda water and shake over ice for 30 seconds. Fine strain into an ice filled mason jar and top with the soda water. Garnish with a thin “stalk” of yellow watermelon and one basil sprig and let the heat relief commence.
For non-alcoholic version: Omit gin, and use 3/4 ounce lemon-lime soda in place of wine.
Note: To infuse gin – Pour one 750 ml-bottle Hendrick’s gin into a large, lidded glass container (reserve gin bottle and cap). Add 20 2-inch square chunks of yellow watermelon. Cover and let sit on counter for 3 days, stirring occasionally. Strain liquid back into gin bottle. Use in recipes.