“Candy is Dandy / But Liquor is Quicker.”—Ogden Nash
During the Yancey House years, the star ingredient was Suzanne Byrd Hawkins’ ripe Crimson Sweet watermelon. Place several chunks (excluding seeds) in a food processor. Puree for 30 seconds and then strain into a pitcher.
In a martini shaker, muddle 5 leaves of mint (I grow Kentucky Colonel mint—great for juleps) with 1 oz. sugar water and 1 oz. fresh lime juice.
Side bar: Muddling is the gentle way of bruising mint in the bottom of the glass in order to release the mint’s essential oils. You can also do it in a mortar and pestle. The key is to slowly but firmly press; you don’t want the mint to turn into mush. To make sugar water, heat 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water until sugar dissolves. Refrigerate.
Add 3 oz. watermelon juice and 1 1/2 oz. of Bacardi Light Rum. Add ice and shake well. Strain into old-fashioned glasses over ice. For a non-alcoholic version, skip the rum. Garnish with lime or watermelon wedge.