It can be a bit of a challenge to come up with a flavorful cocktail in short order. A bartender is trained to do it, but at home we tend to move a bit slower. If you want a cool beverage, now and with no fuss, where can you turn?
This idea uses ingredients readily at hand: some mint, some cucumber, vodka and club soda.
The original recipe calls for a 12-ounce glass, but I like a smaller 8-ounce one. That means, necessarily, that when you top off with club soda, there’s less room for the soda and less dilution of the vodka-cucumber-mint component. I don’t like my drinks watered down, literally, so I’m happy with this more intense version.
The technique here calls for muddling the mint in the glass. I will admit that I am not a good muddler. I muddle through, but I just never seem to grind the mint all the way down. My solution here is to quarter the mint leaves to get a head start, then put 2 teaspoons of superfine sugar in the bottom of the glass. Yes, the drink is sweeter. But, also yes, the grit of that sugar enables you to chew up the mint.
Lastly, if your cucumber is filled with seeds, then of course scoop those out before finely chopping.
Cucumber Mint Splash
Yield: 1 drink
- Sugar for rimming
- 4 fresh mint leaves
- One 2-inch-thick slice of peeled cucumber, finely chopped
- Shaved ice for filling the glass
- 1 1/2 ounces vodka
- Club soda
Pour sugar into a saucer. Moisten the rim of an 8-ounce glass and dip in the sugar to coat the rim. Muddle the mint leaves in the glass. Add the cucumber.
Fill the glass with ice. Add the vodka and top off the glass with club soda.
Stir and serve.
Source: The Seven Stars Cookbook
“Rum,” Brian said with confidence. A little too much confidence for my taste, but he was about to be cut down to size.
“No,” I said quietly.
He pondered the pitcher. I knew the mint was distracting him.
“Tequila,” he guessed.
He stooped low to the pitcher.
“NO CHEATING!” I yelled. “You can’t smell!”
“Gin,” he was beginning to snarl.
“No,” I repeated.
“Ah, you’ve tried to trick me. It’s watermelon-flavored vodka.” A bad wild guess on his part. He was wearing down.
“No,” I said. “Give up?”
“Yes, damn you.” He was now meek and tamed, the way any good husband should be.
“Water,” I said.
“Water?” His voice carried terror.
“Yes, water and only water. No booze. No sugar.”
“If I drink that it will kill me,” he protested.
“If you don’t drink it, you’ll wish you had.” Sometimes a wife deserves to be on top.
When it is smoking hot, and for many of you it is triple digit time, this is a most refreshing beverage. Last Saturday we were at Blue Cashew [www.bluecasherkitchin.com] in Rhinebeck, New York for a book signing. Blue is a superior kitchenware store with an upscale stock of goods that will have you happily wandering for hours.
To make a warm day easier, Blue served this delicious water. It’s a simple pitcher with a slice of melon, a slice or two of cucumber, and some mint. Served very cold, it is the perfect pick me up. And, no alcohol. No sugar. Beautiful to behold.
In the end, Brian did taste and he did like it. [I had hidden the sugar container in our kitchen so he had no choice.]
Oh, the book signing was for American Masala by Suvir Saran, a neighbor of ours in the city. Suvir’s Manhattan restaurant Devi has received a Michelin star. You should consider his books or his restaurant for marvelous Indian cuisine.
Watermelon, Mint and Cucumber Water
Yield: 1 pitcher
- 1 thick slice of ripe water melon
- 1 sprig of fresh mint
- 1-2 slices of peeled, seeded cucumber
In a 1-quart or larger pitcher, fill with cold water. Add the melon, mint, and cucumber. Refrigerate until just before serving.
Source: Blue Cashew in Rhinebeck, New York