I love cucumbers and I love Martinis so you might think a Cucumber Martini would be a no-brainer addition to my list of favourite drinks. But as all the versions I’d tried were far too sweet or not very cucumbery, I’d written it off as a good idea that just didn’t work in practice.
However, while I was making my punch for Mixology Monday a few weeks ago, I added a garnish of gin-soused cucumbers. The remaining liquid from the garnish was so delicious I not only added it to the punch but it inspired me to finally have a crack at mastering a decent version of this drink.
In preparation I chopped some cucumber into sticks and added them to a clean bottle with some dry gin. After a few days I strained off the cucumbers to leave a pretty, light-green gin infusion. There had been a fairly dense ratio of cucumber to gin and on tasting it, there was a pleasantly cool and green tang.
My first attempt with this was jolly nice but on making a comparison batch with muddled cucumber and ordinary London dry gin I realised the fresh cucumber not only tasted better but had a wonderful aroma missing from the infusion. Actually, now I think about it, the former effect is likely related to the latter… It wasn’t such a pretty colour but on the other hand there’s no preparation required so you can knock one of these together when you get a craving and not three days before – as the adage has it, less sometimes really is more.
2 London dry gin
Roughly chop a 1/4 of a large cucumber, place in large mixing glass or shaker and muddle until cucumber releases juice. Add the gin, vermouth, a few dashes of lime, plenty of ice and stir for at least one minute. Strain into cocktail glass and serve with cucumber garnish.