The Perfect Picnic Drink Is a Refreshing Tequila-Watermelon Cooler


Picnics call for clean, unfussy, lengthy liquids—Arnold Palmers, mojitos—beverages that don’t take too much prep and offer ample hydration. But furthermore, ones that hold up properly to move and long, languorous days within the sun. The Sandia Fairy, something of an accelerated watermelon margarita, exceeds on each count. It will also pique the curiosity of any cocktail nerds in your institution with a surprising combination of flavors.


“I like mixing the pepper and soil flavors of the tequila with the sweet, herbal taste of absinthe,” says Victor Lopez, an agave-spirit enthusiast and longtime bartender at PDT (Please Don’t Tell), the famous neo-speakeasy in New York’s East Village. And for the base, watermelon is the most iconic of the summer result.

Watermelon can guide and mix nicely with various flavors—salty factors like feta cheese or candy accompaniments, including berries and stone fruit. Here, the juice bounces off the savoriness of El Tesoro and tempers the wealthy, woody notes from the bourbon-barrel aging. The tequila’s natural notes are added using St. George Absinthe’s fennel, mint, and tarragon. “They’re like outstanding friends that come together,” says Lopez—which is exactly how a picnic should be.

Using the most effective mint as a garnish gives a clear-eyed hit of aromatics without dialing up an excessive amount of herbaceousness. If you may find the particular bottles indexed, ask your liquor save for a reposado that asserts “a hundred de Agave” on the label, so you realize it’s the real deal; any absinthe might do in a pinch, even a pastis if pickings are slim.

For approach, the trick is to pre-batch, i.e., mix it beforehand to finish within the glass, instead of lugging the whole thing to the park. If you don’t have a juicer, you could purée watermelon in a blender and strain out the solids to get fresh juice. You might need to add a touch more simple syrup depending on the ripeness of your watermelon.

Sandia Fairy

Serves 4-6

2 cups clean watermelon juice
1½ cups El Tesoro Reposado Tequila
2 oz Lemon juice
2 ounces. St. George Absinthe
2 oz Agave syrup or simple syrup
Mint, for garnish
Watermelon slices, for garnish

At your picnic, pour directly into Collins glasses with ice or serve in an ice-stuffed pitcher to permit visitors to help themselves. Combine all ingredients in a container and stir, chilling for up to two to three hours before doing; watermelon juice is very fragile, so anything past 5 hours pushes it. (Be aware the greater the time it sits over ice within the pitcher, the more dilution you’ll get from melting.) Take a sprig of mint and clap it among your palms to release the oils, and garnish with a small slice of watermelon.

Food & Drinks

Pastis Brings Steak Frites Back to Less Gritty Meatpacking District

Plus, money views from New York’s newest market, more fried chicken, and 60-minute boozy brunches in the West Village.

Time Out Market New York (Dumbo; opened May 31)

Food halls in NYC have become almost as ubiquitous as nail salons. Time Out Market New York is the newest, directly off Brooklyn Bridge Park and inside Empire Stores. The Bilevel Hall will have 21 food and drink vendors, from familiar brands like Pat La Frieda Meat Purveyors to original concepts like Breads Bagelry. Of course, there’s a steakhouse—Center Cut, an offshoot of Reserve Cut on Wall Street—and three bars with drinks from places like Ghost Donkey and Angel Share. On the upstairs level is the money view of the Manhattan skyline from the deck, a stage for Time Out magazine-approved DJs, and even more restaurants, including an outpost of the crowded Israeli spot Nur.