Watermelon Basil Gimlet Bucket
I am trying to savor the last of the summer fruit – although thankfully in California as the seasons change the weather pretty much stays the same. This fun cocktail is served as a “bucket” -- a large batch of a cocktail in a non-traditional container: a hollowed out watermelon! It’s especially perfect for any upcoming Labor Day weekend plans. I love serving cocktails this way when I’m hosting friends at my apartment so I don’t need to be constantly playing bartender and missing out on conversations. Just make a batch (or several) then sit down and let everyone refill as they please.
You won’t need to add any simple syrup to this cocktail – the natural sugars from the watermelon juice sweetens it just enough.
1 (5 pound) small seedless watermelon
1/3 cup gin
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ cup basil leaves, torn
Lime wedges, for garnish
Use a knife to slice a small section off the bottom of the watermelon so that it will stand on its end. Slice ½-inch off the top then use a spoon to hollow out the watermelon. Reserve the meat and juices from the watermelon in a large bowl. Once the watermelon is completely hollowed, set it aside and add the juice and meat to a blender. Blend until pureed. Use a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth set in it to strain the pulp from the juice back into a large mixing bowl. The watermelon should yield 3 cups of juice.
Combine the 3 cups of watermelon juice with the gin, lime juice and basil, stirring to combine. Pour the cocktail mixture back into the watermelon with ice.
To serve, ladle into ice-filled tumblers and garnish with lime wedges.