Welcome to the first post of my new Summer Cocktail Series. There’s nothing that Kramer and I love more than hanging around our apartment, watching movies and sipping on some creative cocktails. It’s always fun to get the shaker out and try something other than the usual stand-by (in our house, this would be whisky straight up, whisky on the rocks, or a gin and tonic), isn’t it? Earlier this spring, I discovered this fabulous list that New York Magazine put together of 107 Spring Drinks, but I think that they translate just as well as we head into the warmer summer months. Some of them are sort of complicated, or require buying liqours that I have never even heard of before, but this Sumo Cucumber Collins from Fort Defiance in Red Hook, Brooklyn really caught my eye. Kramer and I are big gin people – it’s certainly my alcohol of choice, and this cocktail is a good way to change up a classic Tom Collins. The cucumber pairs beautifully with the Hendrick’s gin, and the entire drink is more than refreshing – it’s absolutely perfect for a hot summer day, not to mention that it’s fairly simple to make! It may only be Wednesday, but that just means that we’re two days closer to Friday, so drink up!
Your ingredients. I always have simple syrup in my fridge, but it is really easy to make! Just combine 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 cup of water, bring to a boil, and stir until the sugar has dissolved, then allow to cool and use as you please!
- 14 slices of cucumber, peeled and sliced as thinly as possible
- 4½ ounces fresh lemon juice (about 1½ lemons)
- 3 ounces simple syrup (1 cup sugar + 1 cup water; directions follow)
- 6 ounces gin (I recommend Hendrick’s)
- lots of ice
- 6 ounces club soda or seltzer water
- cucumber and/or lemon slices, for garnish
- mint sprig, for garnish
- Firstly, simple syrup is very easy to make – it just takes a little preparation, as it needs to be relatively cool, or at least room temperature, before you add it to the cocktail. In a small, heavy-bottomed pot, stir together 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then stir until the sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from heat and pour into a heat-safe bowl or container. Place in the fridge (or freezer, if you are impatient like me) until no longer hot. You can keep any extra simple syrup in an airtight container or squeeze bottle for up to a month.
- Peel your cucumber and slice paper thin. Place the slices in the bottom of a shaker and muddle with a pestle or heavy wooden spoon. Add in the lemon juice, simple syrup, and gin. Fill to the top with ice, and shake for 30-60 seconds, until cold and well mixed. Fill 2 glasses with ice, and, using a strainer, pour the drink into the glasses. Garnish with a sprig of mint, a cucumber slice, and/or a lemon slice. Serve immediately. This can easily be made in a large jug (just stir instead of shaking and only add ice before serving) for parties!