Cucumber Gin Cocktail with Basil and Lemon
May 26, 2020
May is coming to a close, which means summer is just around the corner! Growing up by the beach in New Jersey, Memorial Day weekend was the official start of the season, so it’s about time we finally have the weather here in Rochester to feel the same. It’s perfect for enjoying a cucumber gin cocktail with basil and lemon.
The end of May also means this is the last post in my Spring Sips series. I loved making all of these drinks, and so I’m sure I’ll bring back a cocktail series again. Maybe something more themed? Let me know what you’d love to see!
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What You Need to Get Started
- From the Bar: Citrus-heavy gin (I like Black Button’s Citrus Forward Gin, but other options include New Amsterdam or Tanqueray No. Ten)
- Produce: Cucumber, Basil, Lemon
- Other: Soda water, Sugar cubes
- Equipment: Vegetable peeler, Cocktail shaker, Muddler, Citrus juicer, High ball glasses, Reusable straws
How to Make Cucumber and Basil Garnish
When I make cocktails, I like to think about the garnish first, instead of having it be an afterthought. And for these, I new I wanted to do something fun, by lining the glass with thin strips of cucumber and adding a bunch of pretty basil leaves on top.
To make the cucumber strips, you can use a good, sharp vegetable peeler. Instead of using it quickly like you would to peel potatoes, go slowly. Place a cucumber, halved lengthwise, on a cutting board, flat side down. Then, keeping the angle consistent, move the peeler down to get a nice thin slice. These will stick to the glass perfectly! Arrange them as you’d like, with 3-4 in each glass.
Then for the basil, clip off the very top of a sprig, where the leaves are closely clustered. Then you have the rest of the basil and the remaining cucumber to use in the actual cocktail.
Let’s Make a Cucumber Gin Cocktail
Slice the rest of the cucumber half. I used about a quarter of a standard-sized cucumber, or eight 1/8-inch thick slices for each drink. For the basil, you can pick off 5-10 leaves, depending on how large they are. Our basil plant, Count Basil, has some monster leaves right now, so five worked perfectly!
Add the cucumber slices, basil, and a single sugar cube into a cocktail shaker. Then use a muddler to smash everything and until it’s liquidy and the sugar has mostly dissolved. If you don’t have a muddler, you can use the flat back of a wooden spoon, or other utensil.
In the shaker, add a handful of ice, and pour in the gin and freshly squeezed juice of half of a lemon. Then cover, and shake thoroughly for about twenty seconds, or until the outside of the shaker is ice cold.
In the cucumber-lined glasses, add a handful of fresh ice cubes. Then strain the drink from the shaker over the ice. Give it a last little shake to get any liquid out that may be stuck behind an ice cube or leaf. Then top with the soda water.
Add more ice as desired, to fill the glass to the top, and serve with a straw. Remember that sprig of basil we set aside? Gently place it on top of the drink, for the perfect finishing touch!
This is the most refreshing drink for summer! Your new go-to has to be this cucumber, basil, and gin cocktail.
How to Serve a Cucumber Gin Cocktail
A refreshing drink like this is perfect for enjoying outside all spring and summer. Sit on your porch, listen to the birds, and take sips of this light and fresh cocktail. Each drink is mixed by itself, but it’s easy to get into a rhythm to make up a batch of 3-4. If you’re looking to quickly serve a bigger crowd, try a pitcher cocktail like dragon fruit sangria instead.
I consider this cocktail to be more of an afternoon drink than one for brunch, but you can definitely balance it out with something delicious. To stay on the lighter side, try pairing it with a strawberry caprese salad for a simple lunch. Or serve your friends a platter of vegan carrot “bacon” wrapped water chestnuts as a fun appetizer.
On the sweeter end of the spectrum, you can complement the citrus flavor in these with Greek yogurt lemon bars or lemon curd-filled lemon muffins. You could also get into the spirit of summer fun by grilling some banana boats for ice cream sundaes.
Other Fun Cocktail Ideas
- Brunch: You can enjoy this drink with brunch, but for a more classic selection, try a sweet and spicy paloma.
- Refreshing Lemon: For a sweeter drink, try raspberry lemon mojitos or for a different herbal flavor, make some mint bourbon lemonade.
- Super Sweet: If you’re looking for more of a dessert treat, enjoy chocolate turtle martinis, or a cinnamon, pear, and rum cocktail.
Cucumber Gin Cocktail with Basil and Lemon
- 5-10 Cucumber Slices
- 5-10 Basil Leaves
- 1 Sugar Cube
- 3 oz Gin
- 1/2 Lemon
- 2 oz Soda Water
- Basil and cucumber for garnish
- In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, add the cucumber slices, basil leaves, and sugar cube. Muddle until combined, and the sugar begins to dissolve in the liquid.
- Add in the gin and freshly squeezed juice of the lemon. Add a handful of ice to the shaker, cover, and mix thoroughly. Shake about twenty seconds, until the metal outside of the shaker in very cold.
- Garnish a high ball glass with thinly sliced cucumber strips, and add a handful of ice. Strain the drink from the shaker over the ice. Then top with the soda water and additional ice as needed.
- Garnish with a basil sprig, and cucumber slices as desired. Serve immediately.
- This recipe tastes best with a citrus-heavy gin. However, feel free to experiment with different varieties and flavor profiles.
- Use a vegetable peeler to carefully cut the thin cucumber strips for the inside of the glass.
- If you are looking for something a little bit sweeter, add an additional sugar cube to each glass before serving.