By: Crystal Pavlas

When we’re rolling deep in the summer months in New Orleans, watermelon is one of my go-to cocktail ingredients. It’s cooling, refreshing, and hydrating, especially when I’m out swimming for the day. This cocktail, which I named the Coolin’, makes me think about the hot summer days when my friends and I walk around the Crescent City streets. It combines vodka, Watermelon Syrup, and aloe liqueur for an invigorating refreshment that will help beat the heat.

I used vodka from Three Roll Estate, a single-estate distillery out of Baton Rouge. Their vodka is triple-distilled from 100-percent unrefined Louisiana cane sugar grown at Alma Plantation & Sugar Mill. Cocchi Rosa, an Italian aperitivo, imbues this cocktail with floral and herbaceous tones while lemon juice cuts through the sweetness.

Aloe vera has long been known as a home remedy with all sorts of uses, but it is also edible and makes a fantastic addition to summer cocktails and other recipes. Chareau is an aloe liqueur with notes of cucumber, muskmelon, and spearmint. It adds complexity to this cocktail while complementing the sweet watermelon.

If you can’t find Chareau where you live, try adding a bit of spearmint to the Watermelon Syrup. Chareau is also a wonderful addition to sours. One of my favorite recipes combines the liqueur with Singani 63 (a Bolivian liquor), lemon juice, cantaloupe syrup, and egg whites.

Yields: 2 servings
With notes of cucumber, muskmelon, and spearmint, Chareau Aloe Liqueur lends a distinct, refreshing quality to this cocktail.
  • 3 ounces Three Roll Estate Vodka
  • 2 ounces Watermelon Syrup (recipe follows)
  • 1½ ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ounce Cocchi Rosa aperitivo
  • ½ ounce Chareau Aloe Liqueur
  • 3 ounces club soda
  • Garnish: cucumber roses
  • 1 cup fresh watermelon juice
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  1. Add ice to 2 Collins glasses. In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, Watermelon Syrup, lemon juice, Cocchi Rosa, and Chareau. Add ice. Cover and shake until cold. Strain vodka mixture into prepared glasses, and top with club soda. Garnish with cucumber roses, if desired.
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together watermelon juice and superfine sugar until sugar is dissolved. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
HOW TO MAKE A CUCUMBER ROSE: Using a Y-shaped vegetable peeler, peel two long strips of cucumber. Stack cucumber strips, and coil into a rose shape. Secure with a wooden pick.