For the Pickled Watermelon Rind:
- 1/2 small watermelon
- 1½ cups vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
- Fresh ginger, cut into 5 slices
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
For the cocktail:
- 2 sprigs mint
- Ginger, cut into 3 slices
- 3 ounces watermelon juice
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- 1 ounce pickled watermelon rind liquid
- 1 1/2 ounces gin
- Ginger beer
- Pickled watermelon rind, for serving
- For the pickled watermelon rind, use a peeler to remove the outer green layer from the watermelon. Cut watermelon into 1-inch wedges and remove flesh. (A little pink leftover on the rind is okay.) Set aside flesh for juicing). Cut the rind into 1-inch cubes and set aside.
- In a medium pot, combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt, ginger slices, cinnamon stick, black peppercorns, and fennel seed. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Add watermelon rind to the pot and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let mixture come to room temperature. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for at least 8 hours and up to 2 weeks.
- Prepare watermelon juice by adding watermelon flesh into a blender and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Strain by pouring juice over a mesh sieve into a large glass or bowl. Then, set aside.
- For the cocktail, muddle mint springs and ginger slices in the tumbler of a shaker. Add watermelon juice, simple syrup, pickled watermelon rind liquid, gin, and ice. Shake until the tumbler is cold, about 30 seconds. Fill a rocks glass half way with ice and then strain the cocktail over top. Top with a splash of ginger beer and garnish with a pickled watermelon rind on a skewer. Cheers!