Among the antidotes to summer's swelter, cold beer and watermelon surely rank high. Morgan's Pier general manager Joe Crouse has ratcheted that equation to a new level of quench with his Watermelon Ricky.

I'm guessing the 900 or so revelers who slurped them down one recent Saturday night care little that it's an extremely liberal twist on the (properly spelled) Rickey, a fizzy lime highball classic with gin or bourbon (the original) dating to the 1880s.

Just one sip of Crouse's rendition, though, which layers 21st Amendment's Hell or High Watermelon wheat beer over an icy base of house-made watermelon simple syrup and a lemon wedge, and it's clear why it's such a hot-weather hit.

Resist stirring the drink to keep those layers separate, and savor a nip of the beer's bitter crispness on top before plunging that straw deep into the cup's syrupy pink fruit. The brightness of lemon will keep it all in honest balance. At least for the first few.

- Craig LaBan

Watermelon Ricky, $7, Morgan's Pier, 221 N. Columbus Blvd. 215-279-7134.

Want to roll your own?

Morgan's Pier makes it in massive 22-quart batches, which gives you an idea how popular it's been.

Here's a still-sizable version for your next backyard BBQ:

-1 quart seedless watermelon puree (one small watermelon should be sufficient) Blended with…

-2.5 quarts chilled simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, 5 cups each, boiled so sugar dissolves.) Fill bottom third of cup with watermelon simple syrup. Add ice, lemon wedge, and then a float of watermelon wheat beer. Sip and chill down.