Another fruit that immediately comes to mind when I think about quenching my thirst on a hot summer day is the juicy watermelon. I still remember my elementary school teachers handing out slices to us after our final “field day” to mark that school was finally out for summer. This cocktail still manages to bring me back there.

¾ ounces Balsamic Syrup*
4 1-inch watermelon cubes
4 basil leaves
2 ounces Beauport Vodka

Place all the ingredients except the vodka in a mixing glass and muddle. Add the vodka and ice and shake. Finely strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a fresh basil leaf.

*Balsamic Syrup
1 quart balsamic vinegar
2 cups water

Combine the balsamic vinegar and water in a pot over medium to high heat and stir to dissolve. Bring to just before a boil, then reduce and let simmer for 20 minutes. Take off the heat, let cool, bottle and refrigerate between uses. Beauport is a grain-based vodka made locally in gloucester by Ryan and Wood Distilleries. The quality and character of this spirit allows for optimum mixability by providing a sound base that lets the surrounding ingredients shine. you could also have a go at making this drink with gin or white rum if you prefer. or if you’re not a fan of basil, mint or cilantro work great with watermelon, too. not crazy about balsamic? try this drink with your choice of citrus and a touch of simple syrup.

As you can see, the options are endless. With the variety of local fruits and herbs available and the ever-increasing production of quality spirits, the world is truly your oyster. Speaking of oysters, drop in some time at Island Creek oyster Bar and tell me what you’ve created. or better yet, sit back, relax and let me fix one up for you!