You may wonder what tennis pro and Olympic gold medalist Andre Agassi has to do with a watermelon mocktail. Well, nothing, to be completely honest. However, Tom Colicchio’s Riverpark in NYC is gearing up for the US Open by naming drinks after famous tennis players. So while Agassi may not have any correlation with watermelon juice, we think it’s safe to say he might enjoy this mocktail off (or on) the court.
Beverage programs across the country are putting a larger emphasis on so-called “temperance cocktails,” which is basically a fancy way of saying mocktails. While there’s so much that can be done in the world of spirits, there is just as much innovation in the world of nonalcoholic beverages in everything from juice combinations to soda programs with unique syrups (we’re all for a good cream soda).
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“Since we have an on-site garden supplying us with fresh fruits and vegetables, we’re able to come up with drinks that highlight the produce rather than the spirit,” Dusan Vranic, beverage director at Riverpark (who coincidentally used to study sports medicine), tells us. “We look to make our nonalcoholic options so appealing that people would even choose them over our spirited cocktails.”
In this recipe, a floral chamomile syrup is shaken with fresh watermelon and lime juices for a bright and seasonal mocktail that tastes like summer. And if you want to sneak in a little vodka, we won’t tell. Just make sure you pick a ripe watermelon for ultimate refreshment.
Watermelon-Chamomile Mocktail (The Andre Agassi)
Recipe adapted from Riverpark, New York, NY
Yield: 4 mocktails
Prep Time: 10 minutes, plus cooling time
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes, plus cooling time
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup water
½ tablespoon chamomile leaves
2 cups watermelon juice
1¾ ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
Ice, for serving
Watermelon wedges, for garnish
1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar has dissolved, 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the chamomile leaves. Let steep until the syrup has completely cooled, then strain.
2. In a pitcher, combine the 2 ounces of the syrup with the watermelon juice, lime juice and ice. Stir to chill, then divide between ice-filled glasses. Garnish with watermelon wedges and serve.