Recipes: 'The Backyard Bartender' "A new cocktail is like sparkling conversation — it's surprising, it's refreshing, it leaves you with a tiny buzz," says T. Susan Chang. Try out the Pomegranate Smack, a sweet, tart, and irreverent twist on a martini, or the Tamarindo, orange, mango, tamarind and ginger.
NPR logo Recipes: 'The Backyard Bartender'

Recipes: 'The Backyard Bartender'

Lawn Mower

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Get more recommendations from T. Susan Chang.

These recipes appear in The Backyard Bartender by Nicole Aloni, Clarkson Potter 2007.

The Lawn Mower

Makes 2


Glass: Chilled martini or flute

Garnish: Melon balls and mint leaves on a skewer

Delicate melon, mint, and a hint of vanilla make this into a silky textured refresher. The Lawn Mower would be perfect at an engagement party or as a signature drink at a summer wedding.


1 cup diced, ripe honeydew, cantaloupe, or seedless watermelon

1 ounce premium vanilla vodka (like Stoli Vanil)

1/2 ounce Cointreau

3/4 ounce fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh mint

About 1/2 cup cold brut Champagne or dry sparkling wine


Puree the melon in a blender (add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water if necessary). Press the melon mixture through a strainer into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Add the vodka, Cointreau, lime juice, and mint. Shake vigorously to infuse. Strain the mixture into the chilled glasses and top with Champagne float. Stir once. Garnish.

Pomegranate Smack

Pomegranate Smack

Makes 1


Glass: Chilled martini

Rim: Pomegranate molasses and sugar

Garnish: Kumquat or star fruit slice


The Smack showcases the exotic and seductive taste of pomegranate molasses — one of the decade's new super ingredients found in everything from salad dressing to cheesecake. This zingy martini was created by Matt Skeel, the gifted bar manager at Serafina restaurant in Seattle.


3 ounces vodka

1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses

1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon simple syrup

Splash of soda water, optional


Use your finger to smear a thin coating of the pomegranate molasses on the rim of the glass. Press the rim into a saucer of sugar. Fill a cocktail shaker three-quarters full with ice. Add the vodka, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Shake to chill. Strain the drink into the chilled glass. Garnish.