[Vlad Tchompalov/Unsplash]

The forecast: Gin and watermelon juice at Domenica

00:00 July 25, 2012
By: Kristal Blue
[Where Y'At Staff/Provided Photo]
Rainwater at Domenica

"Someone's saying mean things about you." Tweeple in the know won't fall for it (the line will likely earn you a computer virus), but in the 1870s, the warning was a different kind of hoax, aimed at spinning you from one tavern to the next, looking for a certain gossip named "Tom Collins".

Of course, you were sucking down his namesake gin lemonade along the way.

Once you unhinge the Collins from its modern-day commercial sour mix (a ghastly citrus slurry), the variations are endless.

Jason Lee, the head bartender at Domenica, is doing one based on local watermelons - especially sweet this time of year - to replace the sugar. He infuses the watermelon juice with vanilla beans, but it's the interplay of gin and melon that's special here.

While the original probably called for Old Tom Gin, Jason uses Bombay Sapphire (he's twice come close to winning the GQ/Bombay Sapphire Most Inspired Bartender competition, and he's practicing with the product ahead of his third try next month).

On its own, Bombay Sapphire leads with Italian juniper berries, and a host of triple-distilled botanicals.

The vanilla-softened watermelon doesn't mask the gin at all, but instead enhances it, pries opens its petals and lets it blossom in a sly potent way (you won't see it coming).

A crisp cucumber wedged in the glass recalls a Pimm's Cup, but the only bitterness in Jason's cocktail is a spray of orange tincture on top. The name of this clean, preppy drink, shot through with flowery watermelon?

"Rainwater" - and unlike the mean, mad thunderstorms of late, it goes down like the rare sweet and gentle rain.

Reach me on Facebook or on Twitter @AnneBerryWrites.

This week, drink in "Rainwater" as made by any of the able bartenders at Domenica - as a first-year Cocktail Apprentice, Jason will be juicing, assembling garnishes, and otherwise prepping cocktails at Tales.

Domenica at the Roosevelt Hotel, 123 Baronne Street, 648.6020

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