This is a special Proper Cocktail Hump Day. As spring dawns upon us (though, admittedly, in pretty damn subtle fashion here in Pittsburgh), this feature intersects with another we had planned. Once each quarter, at the start of a new season, we decided to create a new seasonally appropriate cocktail.
Our creative process for this spring drink worked something like this:
Michael’s phone buzzes.
Fox: We need to make a drink tonight!
Fox: I want St Germain and cucumber in it!
With those base requirements, I sat down and thought about how to best play with those ingredients. I quickly decided that with almost no time to infuse any liquors with cucumber, a cucumber syrup* would be easy enough to pull off.
Gin and vodka both seemed too obvious for a base, but I knew brown liquor would overpower any delicate cucumber flavors…which meant it was tequila time! Clearly, then, lime would be a necessary addition, in order to bring some acidity to the mix. And thus the foundation was laid for our new seasonal cocktail:
The Rite of Spring
1-1/2 oz blanco tequila (we used Milagro)
1/4 oz elderflower liqueur
3/4 oz cucumber syrup
3/4 oz lime juice
shake with ice until tin is frosty; double-strain into a coupe glass, up
The result? A balanced, light, and refreshing success! The slightly salty vegetal character of the tequila really made the cucumber pop, while the St Germain gave a slight floral note (cause, y’know, elderflower). This will be added to our regular home bar menu, for sure. (What, you don’t have a menu for your bar?)
* To make cucumber syrup, we tweaked the recipe from Honestly YUM, using 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of water, with about 18 slices of peeled cucumber. We made a simple syrup by dissolving the sugar in boiling water, then added the cucumber to simmer for a couple minutes. We let the cucumber steep for 10 more minutes off the burner, and then strained the results into a container, pressing the cucumber bits to get every last bit of liquid out. Then we tossed in a shot of vodka to increase its keeping time. (Which will be about 4 weeks if you add the alcohol.)