Watermelon. Honey. Lemon. Gin. Just add summer.
"This drink is named more for "Watermelon Man", one of Herbie's great songs, than for the man himself," says Jason Williams, manager of The Galley Room in Melbourne. "One of the song's lyrics goes, 'Hot and bothered need a little cooling / When I hear your call I start to drooling'." And yes, as you may well have surmised, this cocktail is indeed a very pleasant summer refresher. "The bright, fresh flavour of the melon," says Williams, "is both contrasted and given weight by the honey water, then balanced with lemon." Williams is adamant that the choice of gin is especially important here. "Go with a big, floral style that will shine through," he says; something subtler will get lost. We're hoping Williams will soon be able to furnish us with a complementary sister drink, "The Cantaloupe Island", to complete the Hancock package. The Galley Room, Level 1, 510 Flinders St, Melbourne, Vic, (03) 9629 1350.
THE GALLEY ROOM'S HERBIE HANCOCK
Add 45ml gin, six or seven thumb-sized chunks of watermelon, 20ml of freshly squeezed lemon juice and 15ml of honey water (that's honey dissolved in an equal part of hot water and then cooled) to a shaker half-filled with ice. Shake hard and fast, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon and serve without delay.