There’s nothing more refreshing than lemonade on a hot summer’s day…unless, of course, it’s a cucumber and mint infused lemonade, spiked with a judicious amount of vodka. This drink is light and super tasty without being too boozy or too sweet. The infusion process actually pickles the cucumbers slightly, so it’s fun to include them in the drinks as a tasty prize at the bottom of the glass. Because the flavour is so delicate, it’s a good idea to use a premium vodka – I am a big fan of the quadruple-distilled, Ontario-made Silver Lake brand. This recipe is best made just a few hours before consuming as it will start to turn a little bitter after about 8 hours.
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) white sugar
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 1 cup (250 mL) packed fresh mint leaves
- 1 baby (6 inch/15 cm) seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
- 6 ounces (190 mL) premium vodka
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ice cubes
- soda water
- lemon and cucumber slices to garnish
- Put the sugar in a medium pitcher.
- Cut the lemon slices in half and add to the pitcher along with the mint leaves.
- With a wooden spoon, stir the mixture (muddle) vigorously to extract juices and aromatic oils from the lemon and mint.
- Add the cucumber slices and stir gently to combine.
- Cover and let sit at room temperature for 1 – 2 hours, stirring occasionally. During this time, the sugar will dissolve into the liquid that gets drawn out of the lemon and cucumber.
- After an hour or two, add the vodka, stir well and let sit for at least an hour, stirring occasionally, to thoroughly infuse the alcohol with the cucumber, lemon and mint.
- When ready to prepare cocktails, add 1/4 cup (60 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice to the vodka mixture.
- Strain the vodka mixture into four cocktail glasses (approximately 3 ounces / 90 mL of liquid per glass).
- Reserve some of the cucumber slices from the infusion; put 2 – 3 of them in each glass.
- Add several ice cubes to each glass and top with 1 – 2 ounces (30 – 60 mL) of soda water.
- Garnish with fresh lemon and cucumber slices.
Makes four cocktails.