watermelon + basil + cucumber + gin cocktail

Summer may be slowly approaching a close, but all of the vegetables and herbs in my garden are ripening faster and faster.  I can barely catch up with all of the weeding, watering, pruning, harvesting, preserving, and, the most wonderful part, enjoying.  To create this refreshing, gin-based, end-of-summer treat, I used fresh watermelon, cucumber, and basil from the garden.

The Chasing Basil Cocktail


  • 1 1/2 ounces The Botanist gin (or your favorite)
  • 1/2 ounce Chase elderflower liqueur (or St. Germain)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 ounces freshly pressed watermelon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon raw sugar
  • 2 slices cucumber
  • 3 basil leaves, torn, plus a sprig for garnish
  • 1/2 of a lime, sliced into wedges for easier muddling
  • ice
  • splash soda


  1. In a mixing tin, muddle the raw sugar, basil leaves, cucumber slices, and lime wedges well.
  2. Add the gin, elderflower liqueur, and watermelon juice to the mixing tin.
  3. Add a handful of ice.
  4. Shake to integrate.
  5. Pour into a tall (or collins) glass.
  6. Finish with soda.
  7. Garnish with a sprig of basil.  Slap the basil between your hands to release the oils and intensify the aromatics.

To make the watermelon juice, halve a watermelon, separate from the rind, and remove any large seeds.  Chop into manageable chunks and purée in blender until smooth.  Strain the juice through a chinois or strainer to remove any fibrous parts.  If your watermelon is extra ripe and sweet, adding raw sugar during the muddling process may not be necessary.

This cocktail is herbaceous and refreshing!  If you are not inclined to drink gin, you can always substitute vodka or even white rum; however, I think the botanical notes from the gin really pair well with the basil and cucumber.  What cocktails are you enjoying this summer?  Are you integrating any herbs, fruits, or vegetables from your gardens or farmers’ markets?

A brief update on the kitchen remodel:  the disorganization and chaos around the house is finally coming to a close.  We successfully installed our kitchen’s floor tile last week!  We rented a tile cutter from Home Depot, researched countless YouTube videos, and bugged our knowledgeable and patient friend, Matt, for tiling advice.  For our first attempt at tiling, I think it really turned out beautifully!  The cabinets are being installed next week, and that means that all of our furniture and belongings can move back to their proper homes.  There is light at the end of this remodeling tunnel!  Cheers to enjoying the rest of the summer and celebrating each milestone, as it is crossed!

Smoothing the grout, section by section.  Yes, we worked by work lamp, well into the evening.

The tile after about three hours of grout work and a solid two breaks for a pilsner!  I am really digging our choice on a herringbone pattern…

From the hazy lens of my iPhone, you can see the finished tile project. After cleaning off the tiles, we simply sat down on the floor and shed a few celebratory tears. So happy to have finished this!

Jayme Henderson

I am a sommelier-turned-farmer, who recently moved to Colorado's Western Slope to become a full-time grower of grapes and maker of wine. My husband, Steve, and I own and live on a vineyard, where we craft high-elevation white wine and rosé under our label, The Storm Cellar. I enjoy freelance writing and photography, and I am currently the cocktail columnist for Colorado's Spoke+Blossom magazine. I love playing with our two cats, gardening, mixing drinks, finding (and sipping!) great sparkling wine, cooking, playing the piano, and hiking.



  1. Reply

    Yvonne Vaicius

    August 24, 2013

    Love the color from the watermelon !!!! Yummm !!

    • Reply

      jayme marie

      August 25, 2013

      They were super yummy, Yvonne! And you will have to come over soon, so we can catch back up! XO and thanks for the compliment! We will dabble in some cocktail-making or just some coffee time.

  2. Reply


    January 10, 2014

    Nice call on using The Botanist gin in this cocktail, perfect with the basil!

  3. Reply


    August 22, 2014

    I really like this blog, rather excellent info. Thx

    • Reply

      Jayme Marie Henderson

      August 22, 2014

      Thanks, Seth, for stopping by! Seems like you have a similar love for wine, as well.

  4. Reply


    June 22, 2016

    I’m trying this cocktail. Renovation can be trying but it is so worth it in the end!😊

    • Reply

      Jayme Henderson

      June 24, 2016

      It is definitely a summer necessity, as far as cocktails go. We are actually almost through with the kitchen. Just waiting on the range hood. So worth all the sweat and tears. 🎉🎉🎉