Cucumbers are wonderfully versatile and refreshing. The flavor is unmatched for vivacious clarity. And while it once was a summer food alone, now we find great kukes year round.
In a cocktail, the bright flavor of cucumbers is best matched with pure liquors, like gin or vodka. You need complimentary flavors, not dominance.
This martini was inspired by a recipe at www.diffordsguide.com but I have played with it. You’ll want to experiment, too. The flavor can vary with the vodka you use and certainly with the ripeness and intensity of the cucumber.
Yield: 1 medium-sized drink
• 1 three-inch slice of a medium-thick cucumber, peeled, and cut into a half dozen chunks
• 2 ounces vodka
• 1 ounce sugar syrup
Remove any seeds that freely come from the cucumber chunks but do not obsess: you do not want to lose any of the cucumber juice.
Place the cucumber in the bottom of a cocktail shaker and muddle for at least one minute. It’s impossible to crunch down every single fragment of cucumber, but that’s your goal.
Add the vodka — you could use a lightly flavored vodka here, say, lemon. In that case, I would suggest 1 ounce of flavored and 1 ounce of pure. Add the sugar syrup, ice, and shake.
Pour into a cocktail glass filled with either ice cubes or shaved ice.