Time: 15 minutes, plus 30 minutes' chilling
6 limes, rinsed
1 cup packed mint leaves, no stems, plus 6 sprigs for garnish
3 unwaxed cucumbers
½ cup sugar
2 cups vodka or gin, preferably Hendrick's gin
1. Thinly slice 3 limes and place in a pitcher. Juice the rest and add juice to pitcher. Add mint leaves. Slice 2 cucumbers and add, then add sugar. Muddle ingredients. Add vodka or gin. Place in refrigerator to steep 30 minutes or longer.
2. Peel remaining cucumber and cut lengthwise into 6 spears.
3. Fill 6 highball or other large glasses with ice. Strain mixture from pitcher into each. Top with a splash of sparkling water, garnish each glass with a sprig of mint and a cucumber spear, and serve.
Yield: 6 servings.