I feel a bit like a traitor posting this. When it comes to cocktails, I’m a purist – booze, ice, maybe some more booze, and just enough mix so that the first drink doesn’t kill you on the spot.
But when my dear wife and I had lunch the other day at our favorite Mexican restaurants, they had a Cucumber Margarita on the menu. It might have been the fact that it was 95°F outside with 150% humidity, but damn, that actually sounded good.
“Really?” My dear wife gave me a look when I ordered it.
“No, it’s good.” The waitress assured me. “They infuse Cuervo 1800 Silver with cucumbers and then mix it with fresh lime and a little simple syrup.”
The drink arrived on the rocks. It had a pale yellow color and smelled a little like honeydew melon. I took my first sip – wow – summer in a glass! It was a real margarita alright, but with a bright, fresh, green taste and smooth finish.
I offered it to my wife. she took one sip and said with a smile, “Well, we got some cucumbers at the farmers’ market, didn’t we?”
I don’t think I had the car in the garage before she was in the kitchen cutting and pouring. For our test run we went with one sliced pickling-sized cucumber put in a jelly jar filled with Sauza Añejo and stashed in the fridge for 24 hours.
2 double old fashioned glasses, filled with ice
4 ounces infused tequila, strained (reserve a couple slices for garnish)
Juice of 1 lime (about 1/4 cup)
2 ounces simple syrup (recipe follows)
2 teaspoons orange liqueur
Combine tequila, lime juice, syrup, and orange liqueur. Divide into glasses. Top with a cucumber slice and maybe a sprig of fresh mint.
Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Stir in 2 cups of granulated sugar. Reduce heat to low and stir just until the sugar dissolves completely. Remove from heat and let cool.
Just 24 hours of infusing pulled all of the bite out of the tequila and replaced it with mellow hints of melon and mint. Almost like Midori, but not so sweet. Very refreshing. I could see a pitcher of these making a summer day just slide right on by.
For the next batch I’d go with a blanco tequila for a little more bite, and try a 3 to 5 day soak time. Better start cutting the cukes now.