I’m growing cucumbers for the first time this year, and holy crap did I underestimate the amount of cucumbers that I would yield from that single plant. After already making plenty of tzatziki, raita, cucumber salad, cucumber sandwiches and cucumber sorbet, I was out of ideas. And, as a side note, I was beginning to think that if one more cucumber made its way into my kitchen I was going to take it outside and shove it back into the ground where it came from.
Then I remembered an old stand-by of mine at the restaurant during the warmer months: cucumber infused gin and the delicious cucumber gimlet that results from it.
That’s right. Cucumber gimlets. Best sipped (or guzzled, I’m not here to judge) outside while you read that Book You’ve Been Meaning To Get To all summer and suddenly realize time is running short. I’m an expert in complaining about the summer heat, don’t get me wrong — I yearn for fall with the best of them. But I’m not entirely immune to the twinge of sadness that summer is soon to be over that creeps up on us all this time of year. I think this drink embodies that feeling perfectly. Might I suggest one last summer cocktail before the pumpkin-spice-everything takes over? Let’s. I think I’ll join you.
Cucumber Gin / Cucumber Gimlet
Developed for Hell’s Kitchen
For the gin:
1 hothouse cucumber (seedless)
1 bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin
Peel the cucumber and halve lengthwise. Take each half and cut it in half lengthwise again. Line up the cucumber lengths and chop into smallish pieces. Place cucumber in a large container and then add the gin, reserving the bottle for when the infusion is completed. Stir well and cover with a lid. Place the container in a cool, dry place for at least 10 days and up to 2 weeks. For best results, stir well after 1 week to ensure even infusing. After 2 weeks, strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large container. Using a funnel, gently pour gin from the container back into its original bottle for easy access and storage.
2 oz cucumber gin
1 oz lime juice
1 oz simple syrup
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with a small amount of ice. Shake thoroughly, until the outside of the shaker begins to get frosted over. Strain through the cocktail strainer into a martini glass or other cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel or cucumber slice if desired.