Beer Cocktail with Watermelon and a Surprise

There are few things more July Fourth than watermelon and beer. Combine them, and what you get is pretty much the perfect taste of American summer. This cocktail, though, adds a layer of complexity in the form of an old, somewhat obscure, but totally delicious orange liqueur. Créole Shrubb marries the orange-peel intensity of Cointreau to the subtle sugarcane perfume of rhum agricole from Martinique. It smells like Christmas, which can only make the Fourth of July seem even more like a party. Cheers.

We adapted this from our Summer Hoedown. It's a big-batch recipe you can make in advance (through step 5), perfect for a get-together.

Independence Day Cocktail
Makes about 3 quarts (8 servings)

1 (6-pound) seedless watermelon
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup Créole Shrubb liqueur, or 3 tablespoons rhum agricole plus 1 tablespoon Cointreau
4 (12-ounce) bottles white beer, such as Hoegaarden, chilled

Step 1: Remove the rind from the watermelon and cut the flesh into large dice.

Step 2: Place half of the watermelon in a blender and blend until liquified, about 1 minute.

Step 3: Pour through a fine-mesh strainer set over a large bowl.

Step 4: Scrape a rubber spatula against the inside surface of the strainer to push the juice through until only pulp remains. Discard the pulp and set the strainer back over the bowl.

Step 5: Repeat with the remaining watermelon. (You should have about 6 cups of juice.) Add the sugar to the juice and stir until dissolved, about 2 minutes. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 1/2 hours, or until ready to use.

Step 6: When ready to serve, transfer the chilled juice to a 3-quart container. Add the Créole Shrubb and beer and stir gently to combine.

Photos and styling by Chris Rochelle