Smoked Tarbooz Recipe

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A vodka-based cocktail always gives stage to all the other flavours. Watermelon and cinnamon work together beautifully. And if you have some single malt whisky kicking about, it really brings a whole other layer to the drink.

Serves 1.


For the cinnamon syrup (Makes 750 mL/26 fl oz):

  • 750mL (25 fl oz) filtered water
  • 750 g (1 lb 10 oz/3 cups) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 50 g (2 oz) cinnamon sticks

For the smoked tarbooz:

  • 50 g (2 oz) good-quality vodka
  • 35 g (1 oz) fresh watermelon juice
  • a squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • 15 g (1/2 oz) cinnamon syrup (see above)

To serve

  • ice cubes
  • 6 drops of Lagavulin or other single malt whisky
  • 1 fresh or dried Indian bay leaf


  1. To make the cinnamon syrup, bring the water to the boil in a large heavy-based saucepan. Add the sugar and stir until it dissolves, then add the cinnamon sticks and leave to simmer for 15 minutes. Take the saucepan off the heat and leave to cool. Once cooled, strain and decant into a sterilized glass bottle. An empty wine bottle with a screw-top is perfect.
  2. To make the smoked tarbooz, put all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Shake and double-strain into rocks glass filled with ice cubes.
  3. Using a pipette dropper filled with a single malt, drop 6 drops onto the ice for an aromatic, smoky finish on the nose. Garnish with the bay leaf just before serving.

More from Kricket:

Cover courtesy of Hardie Grant Books

Recipes excerpted with permission from Kricket by Will Bowlby, published by Hardie Grant Books August 2018, RRP $35.00.

Inspiration for edible alchemy.