The Pause That Refreshes: Cucumber Gimlets
It's hot out. You need a drink. We need a drink.
There's a couple of ways to incorporate the refreshing coolness of cucmber into America's beloved summer standby cocktail, The Gimlet. One, you can infuse your vodka with cucumber slices by simply soaking 1/2 a peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber in 3 cups of gin (sealed in a jar) for 3 days and then strain through a coffee filter or, two, you can craft a cucumber simple syrup that should keep in the fridge for at least a week. We've talked about alcohol infusions A LOT here at Cafe Drake HRV in the past so let's make the syrup.
Bring one cup sugar and one cup water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Boil for one minute and remove from the stove. Stir in 1/2 of a regular cucumber, shredded, seeded but unpeeled. A box grater works well for this and buying a seedless cucumber makes things even simpler.
Steep the grated cuke in syrup for 30 minutes; strain through a fine mesh sieve and push down on the cucumber bits to extract as much liquid, flavor and bright green color as possible. Allow to cool before using. Store in the refrigerator, tightly covered.
To make the Cucumber Gimlet, add, per person, to a cocktail shaker: 2 1/2 oz. gin, 1 oz. cucumber syrup and a healthy squeeze of lime juice. Add some ice to the shaker, shake and strain into cocktail glasses. Serve straight up with garnish of choice - lime peel, cucumber slice, or as we did above, a single borage flower. Note that the herb borage boasts a pronounced cucumber flavor in both its leaves and flowers.
When a tamer drink is appropriate, try mixing the cucumber syrup with seltzer for a surprisingly adult soda.
Vodka may be substituted for the gin and white rum makes a spectacular novelty drink.