I’m really bad at drinking water. Not to say I complete the act of drinking in an ineffective way, but rather, I don’t drink enough of it. It’s a problem. I don’t seem to notice when I get thirsty. I’ll have coffee throughout the day, and then at night realize I haven’t had a drop of actual water! I can tell when I am dehydrated only when I take that first actual sip…and it tastes like what heaven must feel like. It’s almost sweet, and invigorating, and intoxicating and oh my god it’s been a day and a half since I had some! I need to work on this.
When I do remember to stay hydrated I love to drink infused waters. There’s a delightful little shop in Ojai that always has fresh mint water for the customers. I’ll often have a carafe of citrus water in the fridge—especially in the summer months. Well not a carafe, just a pitcher, but I wanted to say carafe. Plus, there is something infinitely relaxing and refreshing about a glass of cucumber water.
I remember the first time I experienced the (perceived) luxury of having cucumber water at a friend’s house when I was a kid. Perceived, because it was and is just flavored water, but we didn’t have “fancy” water at my house as a kid. Water was fancy if I bothered to put ice cubes in it So it’s no wonder—being such an impressionable child—that I remember how impressed I was with the gorgeous glass pitcher, thin cucumber slices—the fact that I even had an option as to what type of water I’d have; sparkling, tap, or cucumber.
I was probably about ten and completely mesmerized by the elegance of it all. Who were these people? I accepted my cucumber water with a please and a thank you—I was always a very well-mannered guest. I believe I even complimented her parents on their ingenuity. I think it was more the idea more than anything else that left an impression on me, but to this day I feel a twinge of extravagance when I sip a glass.
So, anyways, that’s what I had in mind the other day when we had a solitary hot spell in the midst of this El Nino “winter”. I was burning up because I’d been baking (HA! I know…) and I decided to make some cucumber water…some adult cucumber water.
This recipe was completely made up on the fly and I have to say one of my top three favorite cocktails ever! I used Thai flavors for inspiration. It’s fresh, vibrant, and spiked with Heritage Distilling Batch No. 12 gin, so it’s just plain wonderful. I juiced cucumbers, made lemon grass simple syrup, muddled some mint, added some bitters, and gave it a shake. I served it into a tumbler filled with mint ice cubes. (I’ve gotten in the habit of keeping pretty ice cubes on hand for just an occasion using herbs, citrus, rose petals, etc…).
It’s fresh and refreshing and it will make you feel fancy. Try it out! Tell me what you think.
- 5 oz. fresh cucumber juice, about 1 cucumber
- 1-1.5 oz. Heritage Distilling Batch No.12 Gin
- Splash Angostura bitters
- Splash Lemon Juice
- 1-2 Tbsp. Lemongrass simple syrup, recipe below
- 10 mint leaves
- Ice Cubes
- Cucumber slice for garnish
- Lemons zest, for garnish
- Make the Simple Syrup
- In a small sauce pan combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water.
- Heat on medium until sugar dissolves.
- Add in 1 stalk of lemongrass. Remove a few of the outer layers and cut off the top. Cut stalk into thirds and bruise or smash with the back of your knife.
- Simmer mixture on low for about 5minutes or until syrup is infused with lemongrass flavor. Be careful not to burn.
- Discard lemongrass and allow syrup to cool before using.
- Makes enough for two drinks.
- Make the Cocktail
- Place mint leaves in a cocktail shaker and muddle.
- Add in cucumber juice, lemon juice, bitters, 1-2 Tbsp simple syrup, and gin.
- Shake, and strain into a glass filled with ice.
- Garnish with cucumber and lemon zest and enjoy!