Wednesday, June 8, 2011

cucumber cooler

a toast!

Hello, New Yorkers and lovely East Coast folk, are you sweating yet? Have you wondered what just happened with our seasonal transition? Does the mere thought of having to go outside make you break out in sweat? Welcome to Wednesday. And come tomorrow – it’s gonna get even hotter.

I had to go out and get groceries this morning, and by the time I walked half a block (half a block, people!) I was already sweating. It’s terribly unfair, I think. New Yorkers don’t get a fair shot at spring – we move onto summer almost instantly from the doldrums of winter. Instead of wanting to be outside, I’d rather be indoors, where I have control over the heat. Though truth be told, while we make out like bandits in the winter almost never turning on the heat, in the summer, we pay through the nose. Our southern facing apartment starts feeling oppressive as early as April and so it goes until late into October, when we can finally stop and out the air conditioning to rest.

persian, seedless cucumbers

I wasn’t planning on writing today, except, when I looked at the forecast, I realized tomorrow and Friday are going to be scorchers. As I type this right now, it is currently a sticky 97 degrees outside. I just look at my oven and sigh. All those pies and roasted things I want to make – they’re going to have to wait until there’s a bit of a reprieve. I don’t even want to turn the stove on. Instead, I want to grab a cold drink, make myself a salad, and settle onto my couch with a good book, with the air conditioner on, of course.

draining the makings of a cocktail

But first, I want to tell you to make this drink tonight. Yes, that probably means you might have to swing by the grocery store on your way from work. But look at how few ingredients you’ll need. You’ll be in and out of there in no time. Unless, of course, you go to my local Trader Joe’s, in which case, expect to stand in line, with your three items for over 20 minutes (you’ve been warned).

Here’s why you have to make this tonight. Improbably, but most certainly, it’ll make you almost forget that it’s sticky and scorching outside. Almost. But certainly not enough that you won’t want to make this tomorrow and the day after, because brace yourself – it’s going to get even hotter and stickier come tomorrow and the following day.

cucumber cooler

And if you want to kick it up a notch, just add a splash of gin or vodka to your cocktail to, you know, properly take the edge off and settle into your evening. Just try to avoid standing at the stove cooking yourself dinner for an hour. Something tells me that will be easy to avoid.

cucumber cooler - looks quite chic from above

Cucumber Cooler
Adapted from Everyday Food*

As I said above, no reason to keep this drink PG-rated. Add a splash of vodka or gin (I like Aviation gin here) to make this into a fun adult cocktail that will be refreshing and festive. Or keep things as they are and add a flavored simple syrup instead of honey. Swap in lemon for lime, maybe use half Bruce Cost’s Ginger Ale and half seltzer. Have fun with it – and most importantly, stay cool these few scorching days!

6 seedless Persian cucumbers, peeled and coarsely chopped (6 cups)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
2 limes, 1 thinly sliced, 1 juiced
1 liter seltzer
3 tablespoons honey, more to taste


1. In a blender or a food processor, puree the cucumbers with the water. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve set over a large bowl, pressing on solids (should yield about 2 cups juice). Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

2. In a pitcher, mash the mint leaves with the back of a wooden spoon until bruised. Add cucumber juice, sliced lime, lime juice, and the seltzer. Stir in honey until combined. Fill 4 glasses with ice, top with drink, and serve with thinly sliced cucumber.

Makes 4 drinks.

*I might as well say it now – I have a serious crush on Anna Last and her entire Everyday Food team. That magazine is pure gold, people. I want to cook a dozen things from the last issue. That, like, never happens to me. Expect a lot of Everyday goodness here in the upcoming week or so. Consider yourself warned.

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  • 1
    Whitney said:

    It has been so hot here in Chicago too but thankfully some storms are on the way tonight to cool some things off.

    I will tuck this recipe away for our next heat wave!

    June 8, 2011 5:19 pm
  • 2
    Kasey said:

    I’m jealous! The grass is always greener, I suppose. Here in San Francisco, it’s a chilly 60-some degrees (and foggy, as usual!) I am going to New York next week for a wedding, though, and I am hoping it stays nice and hot for me :)

    June 8, 2011 7:45 pm
  • 3
    Juanita said:

    Cucumber has such a subtle flavour, I bet it lends itself nicely to being accompanied by mint and sweetness!

    June 9, 2011 5:37 am
  • 4
    JenniferA said:

    How refreshing! I love cucumbers any which way so I am definitely on board to give this a try.

    June 9, 2011 9:22 am
  • 5
    nancy said:

    You’re so right, we do not have a fair shot at spring in these parts. Autumn either, some years. (sigh.) I plan on stocking up on cukes at my little local greenmarket first thing tomorrow morning and making a pitcher of this cooler – the hue alone is so soothing. Evening might call for another, adults-only batch :)

    June 9, 2011 3:43 pm
  • 6
    Katie said:

    YUM! This is what I want, with a splash of vodka mixed in, as my go-to summer drink. This sounds incredible.

    June 11, 2011 2:20 pm
  • 7
    Anita said:

    I have a juicer, so I’m thinking I won’t have to blend/strain. Or is that wishful thinking? In any case, lime and seltzer sound like just the thing to add!

    June 11, 2011 10:04 pm
  • 8
    Radish said:

    Anita – I think a juice would work great.

    June 12, 2011 6:40 pm
  • 9
    Aggie said:

    It’s definitely been a scorcher here in FL for some time now…more so this week as we are steadily in the 90s and rising!

    So, tell me about Persian cucumbers? Are they the same as English? And I’m loving the juicer idea from the commenter above. I would most likely be adding vodka to mine… ;)

    June 14, 2011 9:31 pm
  • 10
    Radish said:

    Aggie – they’re similar, in that they’re both seedless. But, I believe, English ones are larger. Really, you can use any cucumber, but with those that have seeds, you have to scrape them out.

    June 14, 2011 9:40 pm
  • 11
    Jen said:

    Wonderful! I just made a ginger pear cooler last week, and this is absolutely tempting, too. I’ll wait to when this Portland weather stops raining, though. THANKS!

    June 15, 2011 8:10 pm
  • 12

    […] Cucumber Cooler – YUM! I love any drink that has cucumber in it. Adding the mint and lime would take it out of this world. I’ll be whipping up a batch of this today. You could substitute stevia for the honey for a sugar-free beverage. […]

    June 18, 2011 12:16 pm
  • 13

    […] were thrilled to find that Olga from Sassy Radish blogged about not one, but two recipes form the June issue! I love that she made the Coconut-Curry Mussels a go-to weeknight meal, […]

    June 20, 2011 1:07 pm
  • 14

    […] Cucumber Cooler on […]

    October 4, 2011 3:49 am
  • 15
    Sonia said:

    Tried this today and loved it! Thank you so much for sharing!

    January 28, 2012 11:11 am
  • 16

    […] you all a very lovely weekend ahead. It’s Cinco de Mayo on Sunday! Might I suggest a few drinks for […]

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