You know what book I'd love to read? The stories behind each of the classic cocktails. I know I'm probably in the minority, and most people would rather just know how they taste. (By the way, if this book doesn't exist, I'm writing it!) I love to know the backstory of anything "old".
One of my favorite discoveries during an internship in graduate school was processing a collection of documents from a prominent local family was finding the "secret" to their locally famous lemonade recipe. There were letters from guests begging for the recipe, handwritten notes, and finally a small article explaining the recipe's creation one afternoon in the butler's pantry.
I suspect that the majority of recipes are simply experimentation, though. What person in history thought to combine flour, water and yeast…and then baked it? Genius.
This recipe is straight experimentation. My standard summer cocktail is a gin and tonic. It's light and refreshing, and while I know that tonic water is sometimes an acquired taste, I happen to love it.
We had dear friends over for a party on the 4th and decided to play around with the excess watermelon. I blended it until it was liquified, and then popped some in the freezer to chill, because somehow plain blended watermelon is even more exciting to my children than regular watermelon. Frozen watermelon is even better!
When we had extra liquified watermelon the grownups decided to play with some cocktails. My favorite of all the experiments was this one. It's a basic G&T, but we exchanged some of the tonic for watermelon. Nothing earth-shattering, but it totally changes the flavor. Equally refreshing, but sweeter. Another good version? Swap the tonic for ginger ale. That version is much sweeter though.
Watermelon Gin and Tonic
adapted from my G&T recipe here
2 oz gin
4 oz tonic water
1/2-3/4 cup blended watermelon (just like it sounds, blend watermelon until liquified and strain if the seeds bother you)
splash of lime
Stir ingredients together and serve over ice.