I love the idea of incorporating different fresh herbs into cocktails. We all know that muddled mint adds the perfect note to a mojito or julep, and I’ve written previously about the sweet, spicy, and stellar Gin Basil Smash. So when Esquire posted Bartender Wisdom: End-of-Summer Drink Edition I was immediately drawn to Paul King’s Porch Swing. King, head bartender at Calexico in Brooklyn, has used thyme to create “basically a watermelon tequila press. It’s refreshing as all hell, but boozy nevertheless.”
4 muddled sprigs of thyme
2 oz blanco tequila
2 oz watermelon puree
1/2 oz agave nectar
Stir ingredients and then strain over ice. Top off with seltzer, then serve in a highball glass with chili salt on the rim and a lime wheel and thyme sprig as garnish.
Some notes on the preparation. I made the watermelon puree by blending watermelon chunks until they were liquified. I then strained that mixture through a tea strainer to remove the pulp. For the tequila, I once again reached for the Milagro Silver, an affordable 100% blue agave that is perfect for mixing. And as the pictures clearly show, I omitted the chili salt rim and the lime wheel. Forgive me Mr. King.
This is a refreshing fruit based cocktail that doesn’t try to hide the tequila (another good reason to put some thought into your brand choice to ensure you enjoy your booze . . . no mixto!). The thyme is aromatic but not overpowering, providing a subtle tang to complement the velvety watermelon and tequila. The agave nectar gives this a light note of sweetness without taking the drink to a silly place. This is a well crafted herbal summer beverage that should please any fan of tequila.