This bright take on the Derby Day classic proves everything is better in summer.
In the foothills of Mexico’s Sierra de la Laguna Mountains, in the southern tip of Baja California Sur, is an oasis called Flora Farms. The property—which is part organic farm and part restaurant—cultivates all of its produce including watermelons, which grow in abundance year round. With the fruit, the bar staff makes a simple and refreshing agua fresca, which is used to make cocktails like this subtly sweet-tart julep that Saveur’s test kitchen manager, Fatima Khawaja, enjoyed on a recent trip to Los Cabos. Flora Farms recommends using Matusalém rum here, but if you can’t find it, unaged Bacardi is a good substitute.
For the mint syrup:
- 1½ cup lightly packed mint leaves, plus more for garnish
- ¼ cup honey, agave syrup, or sugar
For the cocktail:
- 3 oz. watermelon agua fresca
- 2 oz. white rum
- ¾ oz. fresh lime juice
- ½ oz. fresh orange juice
- ½ oz. mint syrup (from above)
- ¼ oz. Cointreau, or triple sec
- Make the mint syrup: In a small pot set over medium heat, bring 1 cup of water, the honey, and mint leaves to a boil. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let steep for at least 1 hour. Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain the syrup into an airtight container. (Leftover syrup can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.)
- Make the cocktail: Fill a tall glass with ice. Pour in the agua fresca, rum, lime juice, orange juice, mint syrup, and Cointreau. Using a swizzle stick or spoon, stir well. Garnish with mint leaves.