Watermelon cocktails are the herald of summer, and the Melon Stand from legendary mixologist Jane Danger is one of the best ways we can imagine to greet the long, hot days. Danger named it for her someday-dream-bar, Jane’s Sweet Melon Stand.
You’ll need fresh watermelon juice for this – anything you can buy in a bottle will have extra flavors, additives and preservative will compromise the flavor. It’s easy enough – just cut a watermelon open, scoop out some fruit, and press it out in a wire mesh strainer over a bowl or large measuring cup. You could also toss the chunks in a blender and put that through the strainer.
Danger calls for Aperol, the friendliest of the bitter citrus apertifs. Normally, we say to use Campari if that’s your preference – but we tried it here and the bitterness completely dominates, pushing out the delicate flavor of the watermelon juice.
The original recipe as published in The PDT Cocktail Book calls for the drink to be served in a tall Collins glass over crushed ice. We came across a discussion about the Melon Stand on Reddit’s /r/cocktails community, where it was served straight up in a chilled coupe (our preference). It’s good both ways, but if you have large Collins glasses, you may find that the recipe doesn’t quite fill the glass.
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail or coupe glass, or into a tall glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a few cubes or balls of watermelon, or a wedge of it.