Summer is almost here and that means a new season of cocktails to sip while enjoying the sunshine and more time outdoors with my little family. Last year it was all about the pineapple. These last few weeks, on the other hand, I’ve been enjoying getting out of the house with my husband to enjoy a happy hour or two and I’ve had fun trying all different kinds of cocktails that include one of my favorite summer flavors: cucumber! There’s such something so refreshing about the crunch and freshness it adds to any dish or drink (see my Going Greek recipes using cucumber here).
To make any of these drinks at home you’ll need basic bar tools such as: a muddler (or end of a wooden spoon), zester, citrus juicer, cocktail shaker with jigger. Also, I personally love these plastic squeeze bottles that are perfect for storing juices or simple syrup and these silicon ice cube block trays are great for keeping your drinks nice and cold without watering them down.
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Nothing tastes like summer like cool and crisp cocktails and my favorites lately have been infused with hints of cucumber, mint, and lime for freshness and easy drinking. A few weeks ago I began a quest to find the most delicious cucumber drinks out there and was pleased with what I found. Here are a few of my favorites!
Sparkling Cucumber Mint Gin inspired by this recipe
What a fresh and crisp cocktail that’s easy to sip and even easier to make! Making our own simple syrup with infused mint just takes this drink to another level of flavor that can’t be found in store bought syrups. Add just a splash of sparkling water and garnish with sliced cucumber and mint sprig.
*to make simple syrup for any cocktail just heat equal parts water and sugar and dissolve over low-medium heat. Chill until ready to serve. Infuse mint leaves with the syrup for a fresh mint flavor.
Cucumber Lime Margarita
What a lovely take on the classic margarita on the rocks with the addition of cucumber! All you need is a juicer or food processor to extract the juices from your cucumbers to make a juice of sorts. Add your favorite tequila, lime juice, and pre-made cucumber juice over ice and stir.
The Firecracker – Watermelon, Lime & Cucumber Cocktail
Using a cucumber flavored vodka this cocktail is perfect for those summer days lounging by the pool or enjoying company out on the patio. I love that this recipe calls for fresh summer fruits like watermelon to bring a yummy flavor to the citrus in this drink. I wonder if you can infuse the vodka with watermelon itself without opting for flavored vodkas?
Basil-Cucumber Gin Cooler
At 140 calories and only 4 WW points this gin cooler allows those who are watching their waistlines to not skip the cocktail and enjoy a fresh cucumber drink this summer. Using agave nectar instead of sugar allows you to slice off some calories and still keep the slight taste of sweetness to round out the gin and citrus. Basil is always a fun pairing with cucumber and lime and this drink will be perfect for those days when I crave something a little more savory.
This recipe is for those who love a little bite to their drinks with a jalapeño infused tequila that can be made at home – jalapeño is another fun flavor to experiment with during the summer months if you crave a little heat. This drink requires you to muddle the cucumber and shake with tequila, agave, lime juice and a little sugar then pour over ice and sliced cucumbers. You can even rim your glass with a little sugar and zest of lime!
Craving cucumber but without the booze?
Try some of these yummy mocktails I found:
Sparkling Cucumber Limeade
This alcohol-free drink allows you to enjoy everything I love about these cucumber cocktails by simply creating a cucumber mint simple syrup and combining it with lime and sparkling water! Unfortunately there is a bit of prep but this recipe promises it to be well worth it!
Cucumber Ginger Mocktail
The essence of this drink is in the simple syrup you’ll make and infuse with cucumber and ginger slices for up to 2 hours. Sounds delicious, right?! Once steeped, chill your syrup in a bottle until ready to use and simply stir with your favorite seltzer water for a refreshing and bubbly kick. Garnish, of course, with cucumber slices for the perfect finishing touch.
What cocktails or drinks are inspiring you this summer?