Let me assure you that this will be the only cocktail you’ll want to drink this summer. You just need to try it once and you’ll be hooked. I’ve been a fan of vodka collins since my friend Diana introduced me to them a few years ago. They’re one of those old school drinks so if you order it at a bar, ask how they’d make it. If they’re going to use sweet & sour mixed with seltzer water take a pass. It is not the same. To give you an idea, it’s like having a vodka and Squirt. It’s very refreshing.
The cucumber adds a great twist on an already awesome adult beverage. I tried this version a few weeks ago when I was in St. Helena (outside Napa) at the new restaurant Goose and Gander. As promised I tracked down the recipe. All thanks to the power of twitter. To make the recipe exactly you will have to pick up some items you probably don’t have in your liquor cabinet. If this looks like too much work then skip the blueberry stained pickled cucumbers, but do not skip the yuzu juice. It’s where you get that citrus Squirt-like flavor.
- 1 1/2 oz. Cucumber Vodka
- 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 oz. yuzu juice
- 1/2 oz. 1:1 simple syrup
- 1-2 oz. seltzer
- 4 to 6 slices of cucumber, pickled and non-pickled (recipe below)
Add the vodka, lemon juice, yuzu juice and simple syrup to an empty 16 oz. mixing glass. Add enough ice to fill the mixing glass completely with ice, seal it up, shake hard a few times to mix, unseal, leaving all the contents in the metal half of the shaker. Add the seltzer to the metal half of the shaker, and then dump the contents into a 12 oz. Collins glass. It should fit in nicely with ice filling the glass from the bottom to the top. Using a straw of the back end of a stirring spoon, carefully slide several slices each of the pickled and non-pickled cucumbers down the sides of the glass, so that the ice pushes the cucumber slices attractively up against the glass.
Pickled Cucumbers Stained with Blueberries
- 12 oz. unseasoned rice vinegar
- 4 oz. mirin
- 4 oz. unfiltered cooking sake
- 6 oz. white granulated sugar
- 1 cup frozen wild Maine blueberries
- 1 large English cucumber
Add the vinegar, mirin and sake to a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Next add the blueberries, bring back up to a boil, and simmer for 2 minutes to bleed out the color. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Using a mandolin, slice the entire cucumber up to about the width of a quarter, not paper thin, not too thick. Reserve half of the cucumbers for pickling; the other half will stay non-pickled. Stain the blueberries out of the pickling liquid, and then pour the liquid over half of the cucumbers and let them rest for about 2 hours or long enough to stain them purple. They will last about two weeks in the fridge.