Cucumber Martinis are as cool and refreshing as cucumbers themselves. Literally cool from being shaken with ice and figuratively cool in how hip they are.
Common garden cucumbers or hot house cucumbers are perfectly fine in these cocktails, but if you have another type of cucumber on hand, this is a great place to use them and appreciate their slightly different flavors. Lemon cucumbers, in particular, are a fun choice. To give these lovelies an extra dose of cucumber, whip up a batch of Cucumber Vodka ahead of time—even a day out and you'll get some extra cucumber flavor.
Cucumber Martinis are can certainly stand on their own come cocktail time, but they are also particularly delicious alongside a selection of raw vegetables and a smooth, cooling summer dip such as a Yogurt Mint Dressing.
This recipe is for a single cocktail but is easy enough to double or triple—it all depends on how big your cocktail shaker is! It is better, however, to mix fewer at a time in more batches than try to do one giant batch where they don't get properly shaken.
- 3 thick cucumber slices
- 2 1/2 ounces vodka or gin*
- 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
- 1 cup ice
- 1 to 3 thin cucumber slices
- Put the 3 thick cucumber slices in a cocktail shaker (a jar with a screw-top lid works very nicely as a stand-in). Use a muddler or a wooden spoon to muddle, or crush, the cucumber slices a bit to bring out more of their flavor. Pour in the vodka or gin and the dry vermouth. Swirl just a bit to combine, then add the ice.
- Put the top on the cocktail shaker (or jar). Shake and shake and shake. Seriously, shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds (this may seem like a long time). You're not just mixing the ingredients, you're trying to melt some of the ice into the cocktail to soften its edges and blend the flavors.
- Strain the mixture into a martini glass (or vessel of your choice). Add the remaining 1 to 3 thin slices of fresh (un-muddled and un-bruised) cucumber, and serve immediately.
- Add a grind or two of freshly ground black pepper (it adds a lovely bit of heat to the cool cucumber, as well as a floral note to the final cocktail)
- Include few fresh green herbs in the shaker (mint, thyme, or basil are slam-dunks here, chervil is an unexpected twist, and dill, if used sparingly, is tasty, too)
- Garnish with a twist of lemon or lime
Remember: like all martinis, these pack a punch. The first one is divine, but watch out for the second one: it will make a third seem like a good idea, which it is most definitely not.