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Drinks Using Cucumber

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Well, the seasons are (at freaking last) changing here in upstate NY, add to this that I chose (just like the past six years) to give up booze for lent, and I am certainly feeling the need for a good springtime drink (or two) coming up on Easter. Bar I stopped off in Philly (don't remember the name) was mixing drinks with cucumber infused water. This seemed like a great idea for the warmer months. I haven't yet tried to do this, but I did notice that it plays heavily into F&W's 2006 cocktail guide (FYI apparently Sujo is also "out" of fashion now, although probably not in Andong). Have any of you tried using cucumber water? Here's what I want to know:

(1) Is it tasty?

(2) After making the cuke water, how long can a jar/bottle of it sit in the fridge?

(3) Can anybody recommend any published cocktails with it?

(4) Anybody have any good cuke water drinks of their own genesis?

(5) Any other good springtime cocktails that somebody who has gone 40 days without a drink would enjoy?

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Eben Freeman, the prodigiously talented bartender formerly of wd-50, did a Pim's Cup riff at wd-50 with cucumber foam.

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At La Table @ O&CO (Marina Dist, SF) they always add some lemon and a couple of cucumber slices to the water pitchers and it was so good and so simple I felt rather silly for never having thought of it before. So refreshing - it turns plain ol' water into, well, a 'beverage'.

I once again feel foolish that it had not occurred to me to take the next step and use it as a mixer. The Pimm's Cup has, I think, always been associated with cucumber. Hendrick's Gin also recommends cucumber as a garnish with their product. So I guess I would start there. Having just come from the tabouli thread, mint also comes to mind. Actually I would be happy with a drink that tasted like liquid tabouli and packed a mild punch. Maybe some dry vermouth in it somewhere?

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Someone on here mentioned mixing the salted water from grating cucumbers into nigori. I think that's a brilliant idea. Maybe add some gin?

Some people make cucumber-infused vodka with coriander/cilantro and peppercorns.

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I would infuse some mint, add some lime, something sweet and gin or Pimms.

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Well, the seasons are (at freaking last) changing here in upstate NY, add to this that I chose (just like the past six years) to give up booze for lent, and I am certainly feeling the need for a good springtime drink (or two) coming up on Easter.  Bar I stopped off in Philly (don't remember the name) was mixing drinks with cucumber infused water. This seemed like a great idea for the warmer months. I haven't yet tried to do this, but I did notice that it plays heavily into F&W's 2006 cocktail guide (FYI apparently Sujo is also "out" of fashion now, although probably not in Andong). Have any of you tried using cucumber water? Here's what I want to know:

(1) Is it tasty?

(2) After making the cuke water, how long can a jar/bottle of it sit in the fridge?

(3) Can anybody recommend any published cocktails with it?

(4) Anybody have any good cuke water drinks of their own genesis?

(5) Any other good springtime cocktails that somebody who has gone 40 days without a drink would enjoy?

Do you remember where the bar in Philly was located?? I wanna know who's doing the cool cuke drinks!

You can muddle cucumbers with mint and then do a riff on a Pimm's cup or make a very refreshing gimlet with some Hendrick's, fresh lime juice and some simple syrup. Or you could skip muddling the mint and just muddle the cukes and use a mint simple syrup. Shake, strain and enjoy. Repeat as necessary.

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Why not infuse vodka, instead of water?

I thought this drink from molto e's trip to Ame here in SF looked nice.

Hiro-tini

The Vodka is infused with cucumber & ginger, and the cocktail includes sake.

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It's tough to remember where in philly the bar was, we hit 3 that night and I was having club soda or rootbeer. Gawd am I ready foe lent to be done. My best geuss is that it was in "old city" someplace between sugarmom's & eulogy. I know that leaves a lot of ground to cover.

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What a coincidence. I just overpaid for a copy of On Drink by Kingsley Amis (c1972) and he includes an original cocktail he calls The Lucky Jim. On Drink is pretty hard to find so I'm sure it's OOP and can be excerpted freely here:

The Lucky Jim

12-15 parts vodka

1 part dry vermouth

2 parts cucumber juice

Cucumber slices

Ice cubes

For this derivative of the Vodka Gibson, proceed as for the Dry Martini where appropriate.  The cucumber juice can be made quite simply, though not without some effort, by cuttng off a chunk, or a series of of chunks, about two inches long and applying first one end, then the other, to an ordinary manual lemon-squeezer.  Sieve the result through a coffee-strainer into your mixing-jug on top of the liquor and ice, give an extra thorough stirring, and serve.  What you serve should be treated with respect, not because it is especially strong but because it tastes specially mild and bland.  It looks unusual, rather mysterious in fact: faintly coloured and faintly cloudy, the green wine of the Chinese emperors come to vigourous life.  For visual reasons the cucumber slice you float on top of each glass should have its peel left on.

Notes:

(i) Use a British vodka, the cheapest . . . reliable article.

(ii) The character after whom I have named this drnk would probably make his Clement Freud face if offered one, but he would be among the firrst to apreciate that its apparent mildness might make it an excellent love-philtre to press on shy young ladies, if there are any of these left anwhere in the land.

If anyone is aware of this modest little book still being in print please post so we can remove this excerpt posthaste. However, this book, while charmingly written and solid enough cocktail-wise, is so modest that I would be hugely surprised to learn that it remains in print. It's for Amis fans and/or cocktail book collectors only. Amis' Everyday Drinking is a far superior book (though also, I believe, OOP).

Kurt

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I had a great gin fizz made with Hendricks gin, muddled cuke, and rose water (cuke and rose are ingredients in Hendricks and the addition drew the flavors out of the gin). A fine drink indeed.

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At La Table @ O&CO (Marina Dist, SF) they always add some lemon and a couple of cucumber slices to the water pitchers and it was so good and so simple I felt rather silly for never having thought of it before.  So refreshing - it turns plain ol' water into, well, a 'beverage'. 

...

Thanks for mentioning this, moosnsgrl. I tried this idea at Easter dinner yesterday and it is very nice.

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  I just overpaid for a copy of On Drink by Kingsley Amis  (c1972)

It looks unusual, rather mysterious in fact: faintly coloured and faintly cloudy, the green wine of the Chinese emperors come to vigourous life. 

Whatever the fee to your bookseller, it was worth it for this line alone. Thanks for sharing it for free.

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My wife has been after me to re-create the drink with which Alberta Straub won the '06 Centennial Cocktail Competition here in SF.

Based on the slim coverage of the event and ingredients, I did my best. We both thought it quite tasty.

Something Like Lotta's Fountain

2 oz Gin (preferably Junipero, for quake's sake)

Juice of ½ Lime

¾ oz Cucumber/Ginger Juice*

Splash of spicy Ginger Ale or Beer to top

Thinly sliced cucumber to garnish

Assemble ingredients in an iced high ball glass, stir gently to combine.

*Hopefully you have a juicer. Otherwise, like me, you'll have to follow something like this procedure: Grate 1 cucumber with a box grater into a cheesecloth covered colandar or sieve. Grate 1” length of ginger with microplane grater into same. Gather up ends of cheesecloth and squeeze out as much juice as you can. 1 cucumber yields about enough juice for 4 drinks.

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[...]

The Lucky Jim

12-15 parts vodka

1 part dry vermouth

2 parts cucumber juice

Cucumber slices

Ice cubes

[...]

Kurt,

The prose is entertaining enough to cause me to search on alibris for both books; but, wow, is that a dry cocktail. These sorts of recipes always give me a headache...isn't it something like 1/6 of an ounce of vermouth and 1/3 of an ounce of cucumber juice for a 2 oz portion of vodka!? Big glass of cold vodka, is what that is!

~Erik

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Best cucumber water I have tried was at Wappo in Calistoga, worth giving them a ring e at home.to see how they do it as I could never replicat

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This drink uses a muddled cucumber rather than cucumber water: click

(It's a cucumber margarita and has tequila, agave nectar, lime, cucumber and mezcal in it.)

Another drink that benefits mightily from a whiff of cucumber is Trader Vic's, Suffering Bastard. It is served with a cucumber spear and mint sprigs and there is also lime in the drink. I think I like that combination... :smile: Here's a recipe: click

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I've just become a Pimm's initiate. Check out the Pimm's thread--very informative! Cucumber is an integral ingredient to most drinks made with Pimm's No. 1. I learned there is a tradition of lemon soda or lemonade as well as ginger ale. Eje above suggests using a ginger beer for a little more spice. That sounds yummy. I think making your own ginger ale with fresh ginger would be fantastic.

I didn't see any drinks made with cucumber water, but one person suggested infusing the Pimm's by letting the cucumber sit in it for a couple of hours. I tried it for an hour and then got impatient. It was good! I add a squirt of lemon and some bruised mint to my Pimm's cup; I'm not a soda drinker, and most sodas taste too sweet to me. So far I am using a craft ginger ale. It's good but still benefits from lemon juice to tarten it up.

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There is a regional variation on Orgeat syrup (Horchata) which can be made with any kind of melon seeds including Cucumber. Recipe is here; just use Cucumber for the seeds.

There was a fellow by the name of Jim Ryan who took 2nd at the recent Martin Miller's competition who made (crushed) ice from juiced tomatoes & limes and used a huge bit of cucumber peel as a part of his garnish. I didn't catch the recipe (it was really good though) & it doesn't appear to be printed anywhere, but it's mentioned here.

There's also (as Eje touches on) Alberta Straub's "Spa Mix", which I think can still be found at the ON Network's site...

Another cocktail with Cucumber is the Flamingo (via Trader Vic's 1946 Book of Food & Drink), which is really tasty with the 'reformulated' 7-Up:

1 1/2 oz. Puerto Rican Rum (Brugal)

1 heavy dash: Angostura bitters

1 long spiral: Cucumber rind

Fill: 7-Up

In a 12-oz. glass; add rum, bitters, Cucumber rind & crushed ice. Fill remainder of the glass with 7-Up.

I've just become a Pimm's initiate. Check out the Pimm's thread--very informative!

Mmm...Pimm's...lovely stuff that...

Cheers!


Edited by samuraibartender (log)

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At Comme Ca in Los Angeles they're doing a variation on a Southside, called the Eastside. Same basic recipes but adding a couple cucumber slices to the mint when muddling (lightly of course). Served up, its great. They also serve it in a rocks glass with one 2" ice cube, and call that an Old Maid.

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I would infuse some mint, add some lime, something sweet and gin or Pimms.

i wonder how that would be with some ango and rose water :raz:

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Yeah, that took long enough to figure out. A tiny pinch of salt with the cuke is what brings it all together.

Toby

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And depending on the cucumber, sometimes the peel can give a very green bitter flavor. If that happens, peel before using. Many thanks to Toby for pointing that out to me.

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Was snooping around yesterday for a vodka-based Pimm's riff (don't ask) and found this Cucumber Cooler recipe on Saveur. Seemed a bit off to me so I fiddled with it a little bit. Final version went over very well.

1 2" piece cucumber

sprig or two of thyme

2 oz vodka

1/2 oz simple syrup

1/4 oz lemon juice

1/4 oz Cynar

Muddle cucumber and thyme thoroughly with liquids. Shake hard with plenty of ice, and double (regular and fine) strain over a rocks glass with 2-3 large cubes. Top with soda and garnish with cucumber if you'd like.

ETA soda -- ca


Edited by chrisamirault (log)

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I'm not really a fan of cucumber, but I was at Mitchell's Fish Market recently and saw something on the menu that sounded really good on a pleasant summer afternoon--the Cucumber Collins. Hendrick's gin, fresh muddled cucumber, fresh ginger, and fresh lemon juice. It was delightful. I'd get it again.

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