Bartender and author John deBary has a soft spot for – and fond memories of – the 1997 hit single “Barbie Girl” by the Danish pop group Aqua. Listen to it and read the lyrics here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7FrLagBXng.
He also remains amused that Mattel, which made the actual Barbie doll, sued the pop group over violating its trademark and because, as deBary puts it, the manufacturer believed “the somewhat saucy lyrics. . . tarnished the toy’s long-standing wholesome reputation.” As he tells it, there was a countersuit by the pop group, and eventually both cases were dismissed “with the presiding judge issuing this iconic line: ‘The parties are advised to chill.’ Has anything ever been more ’90s?”
Makes 1 cocktail
2 ounces fresh watermelon juice
1½ ounces pisco (Peruvian grape brandy)
¾ ounce crème de cassis (black currant liqueur)
½ ounce fresh lime juice
Luxardo cherries* or black grapes, for garnish (optional)
In a cocktail shaker, combine the watermelon juice, pisco, crème de cassis, and fresh lime juice. Fill with ice and shake vigorously for 15 seconds.
Strain into a cocktail coupe.
Garnish with Luxardo cherries or black grapes in a pick.
*Dark, rich, and syrupy, Luxardo cherries are described as the original maraschino cherries. While truly luxurious and quite delicious, the candied cherries are also expensive (in the neighborhood of $25 a jar). Black grapes make a good visual substitute here, plus the their taste gives a nod to the grape brandy (pisco) in the cocktail.
— Slightly adapted from a recipe in Saved by the Bellini by John deBary, Union Square & Co., 2023, from “Epicurious”
Recipe tested by Ellen Ficklen; email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org