When Michael Symon opened Mabel's BBQ this past April, the tv chef and restaurateur aimed to bring a new style of regional, grill-centric cuisine to Cleveland, Ohio. And what better to pair with meats by the pound (technically, half pound) than whiskey and moonshine? Those are the staple spirits that barman David Earle mixes into Mabel's updated classic cocktails. Below, Earle shares the recipe for a quick watermelon cooler, noting that the drink is known in the restaurant as "summer in a glass." And while he usually builds it with Tim Smith Moonshine, he says that it's equally delicious with vodka.
1 ounce vodka or moonshine
1/2 ounce mint simple syrup*
1/2 ounce puréed seedless watermelon**, or more to taste
1/4 ounce lime juice
1 lime wheel, for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a highball glass with ice. Top with more ice and club soda, stir. Garnish with a lime wheel.
* To make the mint simple syrup, combine equal parts sugar and water, plus a handful of fresh mint sprigs, in a medium pot. Cook over medium heat-low heat until sugar dissolves (do not boil). Once sugar has melted, remove pot from heat and let the mixture cool, about 30 minutes. Remove the mint sprigs and reserve syrup.
**For the watermelon purée, add seedless watermelon (minus the rind), and blend it in a food processor or blender until smooth.