Cucumber Spirits for Warm Weather SippingBy Stephanie Moreno
As temperatures rise, we find ourselves to craving that which is cool and refreshing. One craving that always fits the bill is the mighty cucumber. Fortunately for us, there are a host of gins and vodkas that feature this restorative fruit. We suggest you pick one of these cucumber spirits for your next summer cocktail.
When Hendrick’s launched in 1999, no one expected such a revelatory expression. Nearly 20 years has passed and this gin is still going strong. The eleven botanicals used include elderflower, chamomile and yarrow. Post-distillation, cucumber and Bulgarian rose are added, giving the gin its now classic flavor profile.
This gin comes in two different proofs, a standard 80 proof and this Westbourne Strength version, which clocks in at 90.4 proof. Although the ingredients themselves are the same, the proportions differ. The gin features ten botanicals, with the spices and earthy botanicals distilled separately from the citrus peels. These two gins are then blended together with a cucumber distillate. Lastly, Icelandic water brings the gin down to proof before bottling.
3 Badge Mixology founder August Sebastiani created Botanical Gin in 2012 to honor his uncle, Zio Valerio. A retired physician, Mr. Valerio is also an avid cook and gardener who uses the plants that he grows in his garden to prepare his food. Using the same types of plants and herbs that his uncle would, Sebastiani created Botanical featuring juniper, cucumber, lemon, sage and lavender.
Notably, Square One is one of the few brands to put out only USDA certified organic spirits, including this Cucumber Vodka. Organic American rye forms the base for the neutral spirit to which the essence of organic cucumbers is added. Water from the Teton Mountains brings the spirit down to 80 proof.
A trio of Ketel One Botanical marques came to the market this spring, including this refreshing Cucumber & Mint version. Each of the variations starts with Ketel One Vodka, which is made with 100% non-GMO grain. To that, a botanical recipe is added and the product is redistilled in copper pot stills. Then it is infused with “naturally-extracted essences of crisp, fragrant fruits and botanicals”. No artificial flavors, sugars, or artificial sweeteners are added.
This bottling marks yet another new cucumber vodka to hit the market this past spring. As an extra added bonus, select retailers have a packet of Tajín chile seasoning affixed to each bottle.
-2 oz gin or vodka
-¾ oz fresh lime juice
-¾ oz simple syrup
Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker. Fill with ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. No garnish necessary, but a lime wheel would be suitable. Note: Traditionally, a Gimlet used Rose’s Lime Juice. If you’d like, substitute ¾ oz of this in place of the lime juice and simple syrup.
-2 oz gin (traditionally gin, although you can use vodka)
-1 oz lime juice
-¾ oz simple syrup
-8 to 10 mint leaves
-sprig of mint for garnish
Gently muddle mint leaves with simple syrup in cocktail shaker. Then add remaining ingredients, aside from the garnish. Fill with ice and shake. Double strain (use a Hawthorne strainer to strain over serving glass through a small strainer to catch large bits of mint) into a chilled cocktail glass. Slap a mint sprig to release aroma and garnish. Note: If you want, serve a Southside Fizz—pour into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with club soda.
-2 oz gin or vodka
-¾ oz lemon juice
-¾ oz simple syrup (or to taste)
-lemon wheel for garnish
Add the first three ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Top with club soda. Garnish with a lemon wheel!