Weird that Facebook would send me a reminder about this cocktail today- originally published on this day in 2009- since today is the day the US will experience a full solar eclipse. Since many are celebrating the eclipse with viewing parties... here's the perfect cocktail!

I always have watermelon left over after a BBQ and this is a great way to use it. Made with Mount Gay Eclipse Rum but you can substitute another rum if you don't have it- but a golden rum tastes best. Since the fresh watermelon is the star of the show; use a big wedge or slice for garnish to make the presentation extra special. If your watermelon is super sweet, you can omit the simple syrup... or if you're without a heat source to make the simple syrup, add a bit of powdered sugar in lieu of simple syrup. It will dissolve faster than granulated sugar.

Fresh Watermelon Cocktail recipe



1 ½ ounces Mount Gay Eclipse Gold Rum

Splash Grand Marnier

3-4 chunks fresh watermelon

1 ounce fresh lime juice

1 ounce fresh lemon juice

½ ounce simple syrup (recipe below)

Splash orange juice


In a cocktail shaker, muddle the watermelon well, making sure there are no seeds. Add the remaining ingredients and ice. Shake well and strain into chilled martini glasses.

Simple syrup: Bring equal parts water and sugar to a boil, allowing sugar to dissolve. Cool completely before adding to drinks.


This is one of my favorite cocktails to make for a big crowd. Everybody- and I mean everybody loves my Sweet Tea Martini! It's easy to make in big batches and because you control the amount of sugar you add, you can control the sweetness and the calories, too. When you use juice as a base for a cocktail, you're adding a ton of extra sugar. When you use tea as a base and you brew it yourself, you can add as little or as much sugar as you see fit. I often use zero additional sugar if I'm using a citrus flavored vodka but if I use lemon juice instead, I need a bit of sugar to balance that out.

If you use store bought tea by the gallon, I'd suggest using unsweetened tea and making a simple syrup to add to taste. If you use sweet tea, you may find it is just too sweet when you add the Pama Liqueur.

Make the tea strong and do not dilute it with water so it isn't weak when you serve the cocktail over ice. Double, triple, or quadruple the recipe as required. This version will make 8-10 based on portion size when served over ice.

Big Batch Cocktails for a Crowd Sweet Tea Martinis



6 cups water

4 family-size tea bags (I use Red Diamond quart tea bags)

1/2 to 1 cup granulated sugar (optional- the Pama is a bit sweet so you can use as little or as much sugar as you like)

1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 bottle(750ml bottle) Pama Liqueur, chilled

1/2 bottle (750 ml bottle) vodka, chilled (you can use citrus vodka and reduce the lemon juice)


Bring water to a boil in a saucepan; add tea bags. Reduce heat and simmer 1 minute; remove from heat. Cover and steep 10 minutes. White still hot, add desired amount of sugar. Stir to dissolve.

Remove and discard tea bags. Allow to cool completely.

Pour tea into a gallon container or into a serving dispenser. Add ½  of a 750 bottle chilled Pama and ½ bottle cold vodka. Use citrus vodka ifyou like and reduce the amount of lemon juice.

Serve over ice. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

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One gracious way to set the tone for a party or a wedding is to serve guests a signature cocktail as they arrive. As a host, having a pre-made cocktail does make bartending duties easier. I love to have a large tray of drinks waiting for guests at the door so they can help themselves and immediately mingle.

For weddings, you can use a signature cocktail to bring some of your heritage or personal style to the party and it does help reduce costs if you serve it in place of a full bar.

The Southern Gentleman cocktail is bourbon, mint, and blackberries with a float of Prosecco on top. This cocktail was crafted for Kathleen & Keith's New Year's Eve wedding in Palm Beach as tribute to the couple's Southern heritage-Kathleen is from New Orleans, her husband Keith is from Jacksonville. Everyone raved about it that night! (Kudos to Aaron's Catering/International Polo Club Palm Beach for crafting it perfectly!) This goes down really easy. Even the non-bourbon drinkers like it!

Martie Duncan Wedding Bar Signage

Because everyone asked for the recipe, Keith asked me to show him how to make it. We recreated it last week at their home. This recipe is for one cocktail but it is easy to make for a big crowd. Instead of muddling the blackberries, I use a stick blender to puree them and then strain. If you don't have a stick blender, you can use a wooden spoon and a mesh sieve to achieve the same results. It just takes longer.

Bourbon mint and blackberry cocktail



1 ounce simple syrup, chilled
4-5 fresh blackberries
4-5 fresh mint leaves, torn
1 1/2 ounces bourbon
Splash of chilled Prosecco

Make a simple syrup using equal parts sugar and water. (Put water and sugar in a sauce pot- stir to combine.  Bring to boil, once it boils remove from heat. Stir to dissolve sugar and let cool completely.

For 1:
Muddle 4-5 fresh or frozen blackberries and 4-5 torn mint leaves in a shaker with an ounce of simple syrup, crushing the berries and bruising the mint.  (I allow to sit for a while to absorb- but you don't have to)

Add 1 1/2 ounces bourbon- we used Buffalo Trace for this recipe.

Shake well. Taste. You may want a bit more simple syrup depending on how sweet the berries are.

Pour over crushed ice and top with a float of chilled Prosecco.

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