I LOVE the summer heat and a cool refreshing cocktail. What says cool more than a cucumber? Certainly not the back side of your pillow! Yes, cucumber is the theme this month along with crisp soda water, lemonade and my favorite; lemongrass. Here are the recipes for Thirsty Thursday :
2 shots Hendrick’s Gin
1 Large handful of ice cubes, plus more for each glass
8-10 large leaves of Thai basil cut into chiffonade, plus two stems for garnish
12-14 slices of English/Persian cucumbers (8 for shaker)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 can San Pellegrino orange soda
Add a handful of ice, gin, basil chiffonade, 8 slices of cucumber, and lemon juice to a shaker. Shake vigorously.
Add a few cubes of ice to two glasses. Pour half of the San Pellegrino into each glass, and top with half the icy strained goodness from the shaker. Garnish with a sprig of thai basil and a few slices of cucumber. Admire, then stir, sip, and be cooled!
Cucumber Melon Sangria
1 (750 ml) bottle dry white wine
3/4 cup gin
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1/2 honeydew melon, cubed
1/2 seedless cucumber, sliced
1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves
1 cup sparkling water or club soda
Combine all ingredients except sparkling water in a large pitcher and still well. Refrigerate at least 3 hours (more if possible).
Just before serving, pour in sparkling water and gently stir to combine. Serve over ice.
Lemon Verbena Lemonade
6 cups water
8 fresh lemon verbena leaves, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups fresh lemon juice
Ice cubes as needed
2 lemons, thinly sliced
In a saucepan over high heat, bring 2 cups of the water to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the 8 lemon verbena leaves and sugar, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Let steep for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Add the remaining 4 cups water and the lemon juice to the lemon verbena syrup and stir well. Fill 6 to 8 tumblers with ice and divide the lemonade evenly among the glasses. Garnish each glass with lemon verbena leaves and lemon slices and serve. Serves 6 to 8.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Two in the Kitchen, by Christie Dufault & Jordan Mackay (Weldon Owen, 2012).
Ginger Lemongrass Lemon Basil Sparkler
* 1-2 Tablespoons ginger and lemongrass syrup
* 4-5 Lemon Basil leaves
* handful of ice, about 1 cup
* 1 cup sparkling water or club soda
* lemongrass leaf for garnish, optional
Combine the syrup and the lemon basil leaves in a tall glass. Use a wooden spoon to gently smash the basil leaves to help release their flavor. Add the ice and club soda. Stir to mix and then garnish with a lemongrass leaf, if desired.
* 1/2 cup peeled and diced ginger
* 1/2 cup thinly sliced lemongrass (bottom part of the stalks only- remove the woody top section)
* 2 cups sugar
* 1-1/4 cup water
Combine the ginger, lemongrass, sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stir to combine and then bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes to let the mixture reduce a bit. Remove from heat and let cool for about half an hour.
Strain the mixture into a bottle or jar. Use immediately or refrigerate for future use. Will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.