We were in Arizona, where the temperatures for the last few weeks had been in the 100-114F range (about 38-45C), and I was asked if I would like to review some Cucumber Gin. Nothing sounded better, a nice, crisp gin and tonic with a hint of cooling cucumber. What a combination, and what a refreshing drink it sounded.
As soon as we were back in England the gin turned up, along with some Franklin’s tonic and a bottle of Qcumber sparkling water. It was in a handsome chunky bottle, the kind that makes it look like there’s more than the usual 70cl. This always cheers me up even though I know it’s not true.
Unfortunately by the time we got back home the English heatwave had disappeared and it was cold and damp – though anywhere would have seemed cold and damp after Arizona, where even the cold water tap comes out warm. But that cucumber G&T still sounded tempting. It smelled tempting too, the slightly sweet, slightly vegetably and very clean smell of the cucumber slightly masking the juniper gin smell. Yes, sweet cucumber and sharp juniper – definitely a good idea.
We decided to start with the Franklin’s tonic, and made about three parts tonic to one part gin. This was stronger than usual – though not as strong as some G&T recipes – and that was a mistake. The cucumber is very forward in the gin, and though initially it tasted refreshing, by the end of the drink we both felt ‘too much cucumber’.
Undeterred, next day we tried just on slug of gin with the Qcumber sparkling water, which seemed counter-intuitive – adding a cucumber-flavoured mixer to a gin that is already strong in cucumber? But strangely enough it worked, and the drink was more balanced. Either that or we’d just got used to the taste.
The following evening – we’re nothing if not thorough – we tried the gin with some Fever Tree tonic, but less gin and more tonic (not our usual battle cry). This worked too. The cucumber was less evident, a better balance, and the clean cucumber taste was matched by the clean Fever Tree tonic for that refreshing summer taste that we’d been hoping for. Using less gin also means the bottle will go further, and we’re in favour of that.
Cucumber Gin is made by The English Drinks Company, and more information is available on their website: www.englishdrinkscompany.co.uk/cucumber-gin/
They also recommend serving it neat over ice, although we found the taste a little too strong for us. Each to his own, though, and some people are sure to love it that way. The judges at the International Wine and Spirit Competition certainly liked it, as they gave it a Silver Medal in 2016.
Cucumber Gin Cocktails
(and a Mocktail)
1 shot gin
large spring of fresh mint
100ml of Qcumber Ginger sparkling water
A slice of kiwi
This is best served in a long tall glass. Add your ice to the glass along with the gin and top the glass up with Qcumber ginger sparkling water serve with a large sprig of mint, a slice of cucumber and a straw. Perfect for those pre-holiday drinks.
1 part gin
2 parts Qcumber ginger spring water
2 parts lemonade
1 part Pimms
1 wedge of lemon
1 slice of cucumber
Grab a long tall glass add ice cubes, gin, and Pimms then add the lemonade and top up with the Qcumber ginger spring water. To serve add a slice of lemon and cucumber and a straw.
50 ml Cucumber Gin
25ml Grapefruit liqueur
25ml Strawberry liqueur
2 basil leaves
2 mint leaves
a dash of Womersley strawberry and mint vinegar
75ml of Qcumber & mint sparkling water
Add all your ingredients to your cocktail shaker and shake rattle and roll. Then pour with a sieve into a martini glass and serve with a slice of strawberry, perfect for a court-side seat.