Fresh watermelon, basil, and cayenne combine with pisco—a fruity, spicy eau de vie distilled from grapes—for a sweet-spicy summertime cocktail from bartender Cliff Mejia of New York’s Analogue.
For the Cayenne Syrup
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp. cayenne
For the Cocktail
- 2 (1½”) chunks seedless watermelon, plus wedge for garnish
- 1 basil leaf
- 2 oz. pisco
- 1 oz. cayenne syrup
- 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
- Make the cayenne syrup: Boil sugar with 1 cup water in 1-qt. saucepan; cook until sugar is dissolved, 2–3 minutes. Whisk in 2 tsp. cayenne; let cool. Makes about 1 cup; syrup will keep, refrigerated, for up to two weeks.
- Muddle watermelon and basil in a shaker. Add pisco, cayenne syrup, lemon juice, and ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice; garnish with watermelon slice.