what: Wait For It
where: Tazza Kitchen, 4840 Forest Drive, Building 20, 803-782-0760, tazzakitchen.com
As summer nears its end (though the temperatures might imply otherwise), so too will the availability of fresh watermelons across the Southeast. While depressingly mealy imposters bearing the same name might be available year round, there are few summer treats better than the flavor of that juicy, red-fleshed melon when picked in-season.
Since opening in 2014, Tazza Kitchen has steadily expanded its bar program, allowing the bar managers more freedom to experiment with in-house cocktail recipes and create a seasonally rotating menu. By using fresh pressed watermelon juice, Tazza’s Wait For It transcends the average fruity summer drink, transforming simple ingredients into an unexpected fusion of refreshment and heat.
Wait For It is comprised of the aforementioned juice, Broker’s London Dry Gin, Velvet Falernum (a classic tiki drink sweet liqueur), lime juice and simple syrup. Those ingredients are shaken with ice to combine and the resulting liquid would surely be drinkable as is. Kicking things up a notch, Tazza serves the drink in an oversized highball glass over Fresno chili ice cubes, topping it with a hefty portion of basil foam to mimic the look of a rind-on watermelon slice.
Taking the first sip through the playful basil foam is the highlight of the drink, as the herbaceousness plays off of the juniper notes in the gin, balancing the sweetness of the watermelon and Falernum. Wait For It gets its name from the stealth heat of the fresno chili ice, though, as the drink gets delightfully spicier the more you allow the cubes to melt into the mix.
For a truly seasonal cocktail with this entertaining of a first and second act, $9.50 is a more than reasonable price tag. Head over to Tazza soon to get your taste, as the Autumnal Equinox is lurking just around the corner to prompt a drink menu change for fall.