It’s not Thirsty Thursday but seeing as how we’re halfway through the week and now on the down slope to the weekend, I figured today would be as good a time as any to post an article on my new favorite obsession – gin. Throw in the fact that I made one of the best drinks I’ve ever had this weekend with gin (prone to hyperbole but with the best of intentions) and my exit from vodka cocktails to gin creations was only hastened. I’ll always be a vodka tonic cognoscente – Lord know I’ve drank enough of them over the last 15 years to merit the title – but gin’s the new girl in town and I don’t see myself emerging from the spell she has cast anytime soon.
The drink that caused me to forego my usual Sunday afternoons spent with Mr. Vodka and Mr. Tonic was the cucumber and lime gin fizz. It’s similar in taste to a caipirinha, exhibiting the same clean and fresh notes but with a little less bite. I imagine it’ll be the perfect summertime drink, a nice late afternoon refresher when the insides of your body need a quick cool down. It takes a few minutes to make – muddling is involved along with a lot of shaking and gathering of green stuff – but the end result is well worth it. It actually took me longer to make the cocktail than it did to drink it. It was just that good … or I’m just that bad at making cocktails. Once you get the hang of it, though, you should be able to bang these out in about three or four minutes.
Following is the recipe I used which you can find here. I’m not an expert on glassware but I’m pretty sure a cocktail/martini glass is not the most perfect fit. I would recommend a highball or collins depending on the amount of club soda you prefer. I used a rocks glass because that’s all that was handy and it wasn’t quite big enough. Also, instead of using turbinado sugar, I used plain old white sugar that I dug out of the pantry and it seemed fine. You can try to shake the ingredients for two minutes but unless you do this motion all the time, you’ll start fighting the urge to give up on the whole process after a minute. That’s what happened with me and seeing as how the ingredients seemed sufficiently agitated after 60 seconds, I erred on the low end of the recommended 1-2 minutes of vigorous shaking.
•2 slices peeled cucumber, plus 1 unpeeled slice for garnish
•6 fresh mint leaves
•2 sprigs fresh cilantro
•2 teaspoons turbinado sugar
•1 ounce fresh lime juice
•2 ounces cucumber-infused gin (such as Hendrick’s)
•3 to 4 ounces club soda
Place the peeled cucumber slices, mint, cilantro and sugar in a cocktail shaker and muddle. Add the lime juice and gin. Fill the shaker halfway with ice and shake vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes (this seems like a long time, but it’s essential).
Fill a cocktail glass with fresh ice. Strain the drink into the glass, top with the club soda and garnish with a cucumber slice.
Recipe courtesy Anne Burrell for Food Network Magazine