As usual, the recipes I share are based around the ingredients I have been hung up on lately. This time, it is the humble cucumber.
You know how cucumber water is somehow like a thousand times more refreshing than normal water? I’ll assume you do. I wanted to make a spring/summer cocktail with that same freshness, but of course with the important inclusion of alcohol. Summer cocktails are right up there with watermelon and barbecue in my book.
I will admit that this isn’t the simplest of cocktail recipes. That, for the most part, is because I only halfway believe that muddling is the most effective way of incorporating flavors into a drink. So instead of just squishing a chunk of cucumber around in a glass, this recipe does require a puree. That said, it still takes around 5-minutes to make, it just won’t be ideal for guests to have to make themselves at any grilling parties.
The minimal effort is also well worth it, when you can sit back and beat the heat with cool cucumber and a refreshing fizz to your cocktail.
You will need:
- 1/3 cup chopped cucumber (peeling is up to your preference)
- 1 Tbs lime juice
- 1 Tbs simple syrup
- Around 6 mint leaves
- 3 oz cucumber vodka*
- 8 oz club soda
*Due to my aforementioned cucumber obsession, I actually own a huge bottle of cucumber vodka. If you’re interested, I use the Effen brand. If cucumber vodka isn’t something you want to commit to, you can always just infuse vodka with a few cucumber slices for a few hours, or even just use plain vodka.
The quantities in this recipe, like in a lot of my recipes, don’t need to be followed exactly. Drinks at home are pretty easy to eyeball or to adapt to different quantities. These quantities are for a large glass like the one in the photo.
After you’ve chopped up your cucumber, add it, the lime juice, simple syrup and mint leaves to a blender. I’ve also found that it saves me the trouble of washing my entire blender if I just use my immersion blender and a separate cup. Blend until smooth, then strain to remove any solid bits. You should be left with roughly 2 oz of liquid.
If you were to make these for a party, you could just increase the amounts and do this part in advance. You could just fill a pour bottle with the cucumber liquid and include it and a little instruction card at your bar. Although, do people, really have cocktail parties with a “house cocktail” anymore? Or is that just something cooking shows and magazines have convinced me is something real adults do? Either way, you do you.
For the cocktail assembly, add 2 ounces of the cucumber mint puree to a glass, followed by ice, the vodka and the club soda. Since the club soda is fizzy I usually don’t see a need to shake or stir the components together; it kind of does it on its own.
You’ll see in the photo that when I make this drink I like to add even more cumber in the form of extra slices and a garnish. Extra sprigs of mint also make for nice-looking garnishes.
P.S. That pulp that you strained out of the puree? I used to just throw it away, but if you are a stickler for food waste, you can add some olive oil to it and use it as a sweet and tangy cucumber mint salad dressing.