Montauk Mules

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Watermelon juice is having a moment. It seems to be on every cocktail menu I’ve seen in the Hamptons this summer- and for good reason. It’s really refreshing on the sweltering days we’ve been having lately, and it’s versatile. I’ve had delicious watermelon cocktails with vodka, tequila, gin, rum, and even champagne.

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But while watermelon juice is sweet in theory, it often ends up being watery and bland, and the cocktails designed around it end up watery and bland too. They are called water-melons, after all.

These ‘Montauk’ Mules are a summer-in-the-Hamptons inspired riff on the Moscow Mule, and there is nothing bland about them. Ginger beer enhances watermelon’s natural sweetness without overpowering it and gives the drinks a little kick. Throw in some lime juice and mint – and of course, vodka- and you’ve got a perfect drink for the dog days of summer.

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If you’re lucky enough to have a store near you that sells fresh watermelon juice, you’ll save yourself a lot of time. But for more bang for your buck, puree the watermelon yourself in a blender. Just don’t forget to strain it after. One watermelon will give you a lot more juice than you need, the perfect excuse to make a giant pitcher of Mules.

Montauk Mules

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups fresh watermelon juice (see note)
  • 1 (12 oz) bottle ginger beer
  • ¾ cup vodka
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2 limes)
  • sprigs of mint and lime wedges, for serving

Directions

  1. Fill four tumblers with ice.
  2. In a large glass measuring cup or bowl, combine the watermelon juice, ginger beer, vodka, and lime juice. Pour over ice, garnish with a sprig of mint and lime wedge, and serve immediately.
  3. Note: If you are pureeing chunks of fresh watermelon to make the juice, pour the puree through a mesh strainer before measuring the juice in a glass measuring cup.

Negroni Spritzers

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I will never turn down a Negroni. I love the combination of bitter Campari and sweet vermouth. I love the color. I love the little hint of citrus the orange rind gives the drink.  I  also have a bad habit of finishing whatever drink is in my hand in about ten minutes, which can become a problem when that drink- in this case the Negroni- is pure alcohol.

Having recently had five at a friend’s birthday, where they were “on tap,” I can tell you that there is such a thing as too many Negronis, and that number is definitely fewer than five.

These Negroni Spritzers are my compromise. Made with the cocktail’s traditional ingredients – gin, Campari and sweet vermouth in equal parts- they are toned down with a generous pour of soda and freshly squeezed blood orange juice. (Regular oranges would be fine, too.) The drinks still have that bitter and sweet Negroni bite, but are a lighter and more refreshing twist on the classic. And though I still might not recommend having five, I think you could get away with having at least two or three, hangover-free.

Negroni Spritzer

  • Servings: Makes 4 drinks
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Ingredients

  • ½ cup gin
  • ½ cup Campari
  • ½ cup sweet vermouth
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice (from 3-4 blood oranges)
  • 1 ½ cups club soda
  • thin slices of blood orange, for serving

Directions


Pour the gin, Campari, vermouth, orange juice, and club soda into a pitcher. Fill four tall glasses with ice and divide the drink mixture among them. Garnish with a slice of blood orange and serve.