Juan Meloncamp 2

Ted Gibson, bar manager at Rancho Valencia’s The Pony Room, concocts a tequila cocktail fit for a rockstar.

Juan Meloncamp

Few flavors tap into the nostalgia of summertime like fresh watermelon.  Tequila, vermouth and basil provide a delicate herbal backdrop, and a few dashes of bitter Campari help to balance the  sweetness of the watermelon and honey. A pinch of salt is rarely a bad idea and helps to elevate the cocktail’s flavors.

Sticking with our theme of classic rock-riffed cocktail names, this one seemed to fit. Of course, we took some liberties with the spelling, and John became Juan as soon as tequila entered the equation. Quoting Señor Mellencamp, “make it hurt so good.” Cheers!


1 1/2 ounces tequila blanco

3/4 ounce dry vermouth

3/4 ounces honey

1/2 ounce lime

4 cubes fresh watermelon

3 basil leaves, torn

3 dashes Campari

Pinch salt


Add the watermelon, honey and lime to a shaker and muddle. Tear fresh basil and add the remaining ingredients with ice and shake. Double-strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Enjoy.



Surf, travel, fish tacos, tequila— Ted is inspired by his passions to create perfect cocktails.