The Ajax Punch is a summer hit at the Embers Ski Lodge, Gary Hayward’s chalet-themed Nashville eatery. And it’s no wonder – the combination of fresh watermelon and cucumber, brightened by sparkling wine and basil, is the perfect refresher on a hot day.
Since there’s a lot of fresh, muddled fruit, it can be difficult to construct this drink in a way that doesn’t result in a mouthful of salad on each sip. The trick is to bury the watermelon and cucumber tightly under the ice, and serve without a straw. The effervescence of the sparkling wine carries the juices up to the top of the glass, where it mixes with the rum and syrup.
Muddle the cucumber and watermelon at the bottom of a tall glass. Add the lime juice. Fill the glass with ice, add rum and simple syrup, and top with sparkling wine. Stir very gently, without disturbing the fruit. Garnish with fresh basil and a wedge of watermelon.
- Ajax Punch at PUNCH! magazine