At the end of every year, all the experts love to predict what will be the new superfood, hot workout, haircut, and top dog names for the next 12 months. For example, we found out in December that green is officially the color of 2017. It’s fitting then that, according to Firmenich, the world’s largest privately owned flavor and perfume business, the flavor of 2017 will be… drumroll… cucumber! It’s not because of the emoji (though that doesn’t hurt). They say that lighter, “green” flavors are becoming more popular, and in the last five years there’s been an almost 400 percent increase in the use of cucumber as a flavor globally.
What better way to celebrate this news than to raise a cucumber-cocktail-filled glass? Here are six recipes to get you started:
Consider this the vodka gimlet’s fairer cousin, says Gates Otsuji, co-founder of Swig + Swallow, which produces fresh mixers for iconic cocktails. The elderflower and crisp cucumber in this cocktail counterbalance the zesty fresh lime.
- 2-3 cucumber slices
- 1 1/2 ounces vodka
- 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1/2 ounce lime cordial
- 1/2 ounce St. Germain
- 1 thin cucumber ribbon, for garnish
Muddle cucumber slices in a mixing glass or tin. Add remaining ingredients and ice. Shake 15 to 20 seconds and double strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a thin cucumber ribbon.
Fancy spas offer cucumber water, but spiking it makes it even more relaxing. This margarita twist also has some kick, though, so you won’t fall asleep during your happy hour.
- 1 1/2 ounces Tres Agaves Blanco tequila
- 1/2 ounce triple sec
- 2 ounces fresh squeezed lime
- 2 ounces simple syrup
- 2 cucumber slices
- Chipotle chile salt (equal parts kosher salt and chipotle chili), for garnish
Mix together tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and simple syrup . Muddle 1 cucumber slice in a shaker. Add tequila mix, shake, strain, and serve over ice. Rim glass with chipotle chile salt and garnish with remaining cucumber slice.
This drink from Hendrick’s brand ambassador Mattias Horseman combines the cucumber-infused gin with apple and spicy ginger for a taste of fall anytime.
- 3 cucumber slices
- 1 lime, quartered
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 8-10 mint leaves
- 1 ounce apple juice
- 2 ounces gin
- Ginger beer
Muddle 2 cucumber slices, lime, and brown sugar in the base of a Collins glass. Spank the mint and add to glass along with apple juice and gin. Add crushed ice and stir. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with 1 sprig of mint and remaining cucumber wheel.
Not all cucumber drinks need to be green. Cranberry juice and Cointreau mix with homemade infused vodka in this tart, citrusy, ruby drink. The vodka doesn’t have to be refrigerated, but keeping it chilled will enhance the cooling effect of the cucumber, Otsuji says.
- 1 1/2 ounces cucumber-infused vodka (see below)
- 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1/2 ounce Cointreau
- 1/4 ounce cranberry juice
- 1 edible flower, for garnish
To make the vodka, slice and crush 1 whole cucumber and place in a glass or non-reactive container. Add 1 bottle of vodka. Cover and let rest in a cool, dark place for 4 hours. Strain and discard cucumber.
To make the cocktail, build all ingredients in a mixing glass or tin. Add ice, shake 15 to 20 seconds, and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with an edible flower, if desired.
Horseman likens this drink to “a gentle Caribbean breeze over mountain fields with accents of citrus and rose at the backbone.” We translate that to “fresh and refreshing,” thanks in part to the coconut water.
- 2 ounces gin
- 2 ounces coconut water
- 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1/2 ounce tonic syrup
- 2 drops saline solution (mix 20 grams salt and 80 grams water)
- Rose water, for garnish
- Fresh grated nutmeg, for garnish
- Long cucumber slice, for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and add ice. Shake and strain over ice or serve neat. Garnish with a spritz of rose water, grated nutmeg, and cucumber slice.
The Summer Wind
The cucumber and dill add a pleasing and complex savory note to this light, herbaceous, thirst-quenching drink, Otsuji says. Drink to cool off on a hot summer day or on a cold winter day when you’re dreaming of warmer weather.
- 1 1/2 ounces dry gin
- 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 ounce simple syrup
- 1/2 ounce fresh cucumber juice
- 1 pinch dill
- 1 thin, long cucumber slice, for garnish
Build all ingredients except seltzer in a mixing glass or tin. Add ice, shake 15 to 20 seconds, and strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Top with seltzer and garnish with a long thin cucumber slice wrapped on the inside of the glass.