When the air heats up and we're trying to stay cool as a cucumber (pun intended!) we love this cocktail. It combines cucumbers, limes, mint, and one of our favorite gins, Hendrick's.
Called The Cuke, it was developed by Adam Frank as part of a New York Times summer drink contest in 2006. It's light and fresh, and the perfect drink for sipping after working in the garden. Cucumbers and mint are in season now, and they're also two common items in home gardens, so if you've got prolific mint and cucumber plants, this is a good way to use them up.
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.