by Annie Fenn
If you’ve secretly wished your spa water needed a shot of tequila, this drink is for you! My Ginger Cucumber Margarita is the perfect August cocktail—think hot summer weekend, back deck, and friends.
The Ginger Cucumber Margarita repurposes the humble cucumber in more ways than one. First, use your blender to transform the flesh into cucumber juice, the wholesome base for your cocktail. Next, perch a cucumber slice jauntily on the salt-rimmed glass, as a reminder that your vegetable intake is virtuously being enhanced. Or, slice up a cucumber spear for use as a swizzle stick—a snack and a drink all in one.
In the morning, cucumbers resurface—sans tequila—for a refreshing and restorative breakfast drink. Add pineapple chunks, a handful of herbs from the garden, a few squeezes of fresh lime for an impromptu Agua Fresca, the addictively refreshing Mexican soft drink consumed on spring break.
As an added bonus, ginger simple syrup extras give a zing to almost any drink—iced tea, watermelon juice, sparkling water, and even beer.
Ginger Cucumber Margarita
Makes four 6-ounce margaritas.
½ cups cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced thin
3/4 cup silver tequila (I’m partial to Patrón)
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (4 to 5 limes)
1/2 cup ginger simple syrup (recipe below)
Kosher or coarse salt
A lime to moisten the glasses
Cucumber slices or spears, for garnish
1. Place cucumber, tequila, lime juice and ginger simple syrup in a blender; whizz until very smooth. Strain into a pitcher and chill for at least one hour.
2. Moisten the rims of two 6-ounce margarita or martini glasses with the cut side of a lime. Spread coarse salt on a small plate. Turn the glasses upside down on the plate to salt the rims.
3. Fill a cocktail shaker ¾ full with ice and add 1½ cups of the margarita mixture. Cover and shake for 10-15 seconds. Do a happy dance and strain into prepared glasses. Garnish with cucumber slices or spears. Repeat.
No cocktail shaker? A chilled mason jar works well as a substitute.
Ginger Simple Syrup
Makes 2 cups, keeps 4
weeks in the fridge.
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
fresh ginger, a 1-inch knob, peeled and sliced into coins
1. Bring the water and the sugar to a boil in a small, heavy saucepan.
2. Add the ginger and simmer, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar, for just a few minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Strain and chill in the refrigerator.
Ginger Cucumber Agua Fresca
Makes 1 quart
1 1/2 cups cucumber, peeled, seeded & chopped
1 1/2 cups fresh cubed pineapple
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1-2 limes)
2-4 tablespoons ginger simple syrup
1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender with 1/2 cup of water until completely smooth.
2. Pour into a pitcher and add 1 more cup of water. Adjust sugar and lime juice to taste. Serve over ice.
After twenty years of practicing OB/GYN, Annie Fenn traded in her surgical gown for an apron and spoon. She now writes about cooking, growing, and foraging for food at www.jacksonholefoodie.com. She splits her time between Jackson, WY and Felt, ID with one very tall husband, two soccer and skiing-obsessed sons, and two semi-obedient hunting dogs.