by MJ Smith

“Assume Nothing!” A mantra for The Crown as we worked towards opening our doors in March of 2019, the phrase became a Menu section, encouraging our visitors to drop their preconceptions and be open to new and delicious experiences. And now it’s the title of a recipe series, for you to recreate at home. Here’s to a year of assuming nothing!

I’m beyond thrilled to bring y’all this zesty yet refreshing drink to spice up your summer and awaken your taste buds (or send your hangover packing in a hurry)! I’ve had the idea for a cross between an iced Americano and a Bloody Mary percolating in my head for almost a decade… Thanks to some help from our tasting room manager Josh, we’ve come up with a truly outrageous and exciting new beverage, the Watermelon Bloody Meri!  

My original trial runs just consisted of espresso, water, and whatever store-bought Bloody Mary mix I could find at the time, and the results were…interesting to say the least. They weren’t necessarily “bad,” but I could tell there was some real potential behind this idea that was still just waiting to be unlocked. After doing a little research using our handy dandy Flavor Bible (by Karen Page & Andrew Dornenburg) to see what foods and flavors paired well with tomato, we decided that a watermelon Bloody Mary sounded incredible and perfect for summer. When it came time to put it all together, we made a watermelon agua fresca, combined it 3-1 with an all-natural Bloody Mary mix, and lemon juice, and added some habanero simple syrup to give it that extra kick! Then, we filled a tall glass with ice, equal parts water, and the WBM mix (about 110g of each), and topped it with a double shot of espresso. Finally, the rim of the glass is garnished with chamoy sauce and Tajín seasoning, and a strip of freshly zested lemon flavedo. The results had every single taste bud in the building buzzing with excitement! There’s a bit more prep involved with bringing this drink to life (surely a lot more than just saying its name in the mirror 3 times…) but, in my humble opinion, the flavor experience is totally worth it! 

Here is the recipe:  

Combine the following and stir them together 

  • 3 parts watermelon agua fresca 
    • Watermelon Agua Fresca: for a large batch of WBM mix, all you need is 3 small watermelons, a little bit of water, and a blender. Cut the skin and rind off the watermelon so that you’re left with just the pink fruit, then cut the fruit into pieces you can fit in the blender. About half of a small watermelon will fit in an average-sized blender pitcher, so add the fruit and a tiny bit of water to the pitcher and blend until smooth.  
  • 1 part habanero simple syrup 
    • 1-pint water 
    • 1-pint sugar 
    • 2 habaneros 
    • Combine the water and the sugar in a pot and bring them to a simmer to dissolve the sugar into the water.  While the water is heating up, slice the habaneros into thin coins, then add them to the pot.  Let the syrup simmer lightly for 10 minutes, then remove and let cool. Once cool, strain the habaneros. 
  • 1 part lemon juice 
  • 1 part Filthy bloody mary mix 

To Finish the Watermelon Bloody Meri, combine 110g of water with 110g of the bloody meri mix and add a double shot of espresso.  Stir, top with some lemon rind and zest, and enjoy! 

Check out the Assume Nothing series, and if you are in the Bay Area, stop by The Crown to taste the seasonal signature beverage.