I hate fussy cocktails. Sometimes I come home from work and all I want is a Cosmopolitan. Yet craving just one glass means traipsing to the shops to buy vodka, Cointreau that costs £20 and squeezing around three limes in order to get the right capful of liquid required. Then remembering I don’t own a cocktail shaker and then crying into a packet-made poor excuse for a cocktail from an American chain diner or worse, a drink that contains that classy ‘liqueur’ Sourz. No wonder I reach for the Pinot Grigio instead.
But as New Year draws closer and I have my eye on serving up some delicious alternatives to white or red wine, I have decided to delve into the latest addition to my cookbook library The Sprouted Kitchen for some drinks-piration. And boy does that book wield some winners. Grapefruit martinis, jugs of sparkling sangria and some tasty party nibbles ensure this book will become a staple in my library. But having noticed my most popular post of 2012 is – get this – my Spinach and Cucumber Smoothie, I thought a refreshing alcoholic version would be a nice way to round off the year.
Although I don’t have a fancy juicing machine or an icemaker on my fridge door, this cocktail makes for a classy, elegant drink that is perfect for parties with minimal fuss. The basic mix can be made in advance and stored in the fridge, topped up with crushed ice and sparkling water on arrival. Making around six to eight cocktails in one batch, these crushes can be served in old-fashioned glasses or high-balls depending on the strength you and your guests prefer. A perfect no-fuss party drink that is sure to bring in the New Year in style. Happy 2013!
Inspired by The Sprouted Kitchen
You Will Need
180ml gin (I like Hendricks or London Dry)
3 tbsp honey
1 handful mint leaves
2 handfuls of ice
Wash and dry the cucumber and cut eight circles widthways and set aside. Slice the cucumber lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Slice into half moons and place in a jug. Blitz with a hand blender until pureed then scoop the cucumber mix into a sieve placed over a bowl. Move the puree around to separate the cucumber juice from the pulp. This should yield about a mug’s worth of juice. Refrigerate the cucumber pulp and seeds if you wish to make a Spinach and Cucumber Smoothie later, as the waste is perfect for this recipe.
Roll the lime on a chopping board then squeeze into the cucumber juice. Stir through the gin and roughly chop the mint leaves before muddling in the mix. Whisk in the honey, adjusting to your preferred sweetness. At this point, the cocktail can be chilled for up to one day in the fridge before serving.
To serve, blitz the ice in a blender until snowy and scoop into glasses. Fill halfway or three quarters up the glass with the cucumber cocktail then finish with sparkling water. Garnish with the cucumber slices and add a straw.