Summer Sipping: Make FIG's Watermelon Mary

Photo by Lesley Balla
There's nothing better than a Bloody Mary on the weekend--or anytime, really--and FIG Restaurant at the Fairmont Santa Monica knows this. To celebrate the classic drink, creative director Matthew Lehman and chef Ray Garcia have created one of the most unique and ambitious brunch-only Bloody Mary menus in town, with versions that skew from super spicy to light and fruity to, yes, even meaty.

"This grew from our passion for a good AM cocktail," says Lehman. "And experimentation led to the different flavor combinations."

He's not kidding: These go far beyond the traditional tomato juice, vodka and celery spear. There's one made with dill, cucumber and grappa; another with tomato and passionfruit juice; and even one with bacon-infused gin and a bacon-salt rim. The most bizarre? The Foie Mary, which has, you guessed it, foie gras blended right into the drink and a couple of foie-stuffed olives as garnish. It's rich and...interesting.

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One of my hands-down favorites is the Watermelon Mary, a summer cocktail so perfect, you don't have to wait until brunch to drink it. Using both fresh-pressed watermelon and tomato juice, it's a light refreshing take on the classic, with just enough of a sweet tinge.

Lehman suggests making this one with tequila, but I think you can use any spirit. Here's the recipe:

FIG's Watermelon Mary
Recipe adapted from FIG Restaurant
Makes 1 drink

For the juice:
1 cup cubed seedless watermelon
1 ripe tomato, diced

For the Mary:
2 ounces fresh watermelon juice
1 ounce tomato juice
1 ½ ounce reposado tequila (FIG uses Peligroso)
¼ ounce agave nectar
Juice of one lime wedge
Pinch of salt
2-3 grinds of fresh pepper
2 dashes of hot sauce (FIG uses Tapatio)

1. In a blender, puree the watermelon and strain over a sieve into a bowl, reserving the liquid. Repeat with the tomato.

2. In a collins glass filled with ice, combine the juices, agave nectar, lime juice, salt, pepper and hot sauce and stir. NOTE: You can adjust the agave nectar depending on how sweet the watermelon is, and can even omit altogether.

Check out the Bloody Mary and brunch menu at FIG on Sundays from from 11am to 2pm. Make reservations here.

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