Are you ready for the springiest of spring cocktails?
Wednesday calls for cocktails. And right now, I am DEMANDING spring. This cocktail is beyond necessary…and appropriate. This whole in-between-seasons stuff is getting on my last nerve. I either want it to be cold and snowy or warm and sunny. Things around here have been gray, gray, gray…with temperatures topping off in the 40s and 50s and still cooling down to the 20s! Not fun. I am dying to take the baby for a walk every day, and I feel like I can’t quite do that yet with this weather. We’ve squeezed a few in here and there on sunny days, but I’m still experiencing some heavy duty cabin fever.
Anyway. While I wait for spring to hit me full force, I’ll drown my seasonal sorrows in this amazingly refreshing, totally-seasonally-appropriate cocktail. It’s perfect for April Fools with it’s intense green color, too. Ya know, in case you want to tell someone you’re serving chilled slime for cocktail hour. Hopefully that didn’t just turn you off from trying this. Even I can admit that color is….well, I said it already and I’ll say it again: INTENSE. It’s good, though! Promise!
It’s been a few years since my first cucumber cocktail, and it seems that they are all the rage these days. Most menus include a cucumber variation of some kind, and I am usually tempted to order it. I adore the bright flavor of cucumber, and pairing it with vodka and a little sweetness makes it even better (really, though, ANYTHING would get a little better with some vodka and sweetness. Right?).
It all starts with some homemade cucumber-infused vodka, which is SO good on its own. I tasted it just because I was curious, and the cucumber freshness totally cuts down on the hard alcohol punch. It’s divine just shaken over ice. But I couldn’t leave well enough alone, and so I went ahead and made a fresh cucumber juice to shake up with the vodka. Fresh cucumber juice is really easy to make, and as long as you give yourself a little chilling time in the fridge, it makes marvelous cocktails. You could add it to all sorts of things: mojitos are the first thing that come to mind. Lemonade even…for a virgin mixer. Heck, if you love cucumbers as much as I do, you could even drink it plain over some crushed ice. This stuff is really wonderful. So fresh, so yummy, and packed with spring flavor and color.
Man. I brought up the color again. I should stop doing that.
1 (750-mL) bottle of plain vodka
1 large English cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 large English cucumber
2 cups water
½ cup sugar
Pinch of fine salt
1 cup of the cucumber juice
½ cup of the cucumber vodka
2 tablespoons melon-flavored vodka (optional – I used Van Gogh)
Juice of 1 lime
Sliced cucumber, for garnish
Place the cucumber in a large mason jar. Pour the vodka over top and seal the lid on the jar. Allow the vodka to sit at room temperature for at least 3 days and up to 2 weeks. Strain out the cucumbers and discard. Chill the vodka before using in drinks.
Chop the cucumbers into small pieces.
Place the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook until the sugar is dissolved and then add in the chopped cucumber. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the cucumber is very tender. Allow to cool slightly.
Add the cucumber mixture to a blender and puree until completely smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Discard the pulp and transfer the liquid to a mason jar or other resealable container. Chill the juice until ready to use.
To a shaker filled with ice, add the vodkas, cucumber juice, and lime juice. Shake vigorously until well mixed and chilled. Pour into chilled martini glasses and garnish with sliced cucumber. Serve immediately!