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This drink recipe was on the first page I dog-eared in Emeril’s new grilling cookbook. I have long time declared my love for cilantro. I feel refreshed by cucumber water at spas. Pink grapefruit is a favorite fruit for its color, aroma and bright flavor. Gin and tonic is my “usual.” HOW COULD THE SUM OF THESE PARTS HAVE GONE WRONG FOR ME?

This drink taught me not to be 100% sure of things. On a warm day last week, I made a special trip to the store for the ingredients so I could feature the summery drink during a Friday evening picnic on our deck. (You can see my full menu plan on my chalkboard door pictured here. Thank you Design Sponge!) I took the above photograph with thoughts of titling this post “The Best Summer Drink Ever.” I handed out the coolers to my guests. We tried them. We wanted to like them. But we didn’t.

Give it a try. Prove me wrong. Tell me you love it. You can even watch Emeril himself make it here. Anyone have a better summer drink cocktail recipe to cheer me up?

Gin Cucumber Cooler

Ingredients:
1 large cucumber (10 to 12 ounces), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch half moons
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 quart ice
1/4 cup Cilantro Syrup, recipe follows
3/4 cup freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice
1 cup gin
1/2 cup grapefruit soda (i.e. Blue Sky or Fresca)

In a food processor, combine the cucumber and cilantro and pulse until pureed and chunky. Divide the puree among 4 12-ounce glass tumblers. Add 1 cup of ice, 1 tablespoon of cilantro syrup, 3 tablespoons of grapefruit juice, and 1/4 cup gin to each of the four glasses and shake vigorously using a shaker. Return the cocktail to the tumbler and top with the grapefruit soda and serve.

Cilantro Syrup
Yield: 1cup syrup

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 bunch cilantro stems and leaves, washed and patted dry

In a 1-quart saucepan, combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil. Stir the pan occasionally to help dissolve the sugar. Once the pan comes to a boil remove from the heat and completely. Once cool, strain through a fine-mesh sieve and store in a re-sealable plastic container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

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15 Responses to “Gin Cucumber Cooler”

  1. Dana McCauley Says:

    Love this idea! Does it really need the grapefruit soda or can it be made with plain soda or tonic?

    I love gin and tonic: http://danamccauley.wordpress.com/2008/03/24/gin-and-tonic-revisited/

  2. Sues Says:

    Oooh wow, this sounds perfect. Now if only it would warm up a bit in Boston. It’s been soo chilly. I need to make this for my friend who’s obsessed with cilantro; she’ll love it!!

  3. Meg Says:

    My favorite summer drink is simple. I’m allergic to most alcoholic drinks (sulfites) and ANY wine (very allergic to grapes) so I can’t have wine coolers.

    I love ANYTHING pomegranate, so my fiancee got me a sample bottle of Pama to try out. I mixed it with ginger ale and it’s been a favorite for the family ever since!

    hmm… it would probably be good with some berry puree…

  4. Jen Says:

    What a bummer! I’m not usually a gin and tonic gal, but my man (a bartender) makes me a combo I can’t resist. It’s now my summer cocktail. Plain & simple: glass of ice, 2 shots Bombay Sapphire gin, half tonic/half soda water, lots of lime and lemons wedges, squeezed and hammered with a straw while sipping. Cheers!

  5. molly Says:

    that cilantro syrup probably makes this drink. I love the sounds of it and will make it while in MI next week. The perfect summer deck cocktail.

  6. molly Says:

    I see the problem right away. the puree takes the drink over both in flavor and texture.Cucumber is so strong and grassy. If the cilantro is muddled like mint in a majito (sp?) and the cucumber is simply sliced.. AND the syrup is grapefruit based.. then maybeeee..

  7. ms Says:

    My friend once either juiced or blended up a watermelon. It made a great base for mixed drinks!

  8. Kelly D. - ThreeLittleApples Says:

    I’m a huge fan of Sangria in the summer. Just take any wine (red is common, but you can use white) and mix it with sliced fruit (orange, lemon, lime) and citrus flavored soda or sparkling water.

    It’s a really pretty drink and usually even non-wine enthusiasts enjoy it :)

  9. Caroline Says:

    I think that the goopy cucumber, too many flavors WAS the problem. Love the ideas… pomegranate, watermelon, white sangria… is it 5 o’clock yet?

  10. katie Says:

    Wow, your home is beautiful! I am sorry, but other than the classic mojito I don’t have much advice. I like a mojito with a little macerated strawberry added and bruising a couple of basil leaves alongside the mint.

  11. ahfah Says:

    Molly is right… straining bits of cilantro with your teeth does not soothe. Also, there are just too many ingredients here I think. Cilantro AND cucumber AND grapefruit? Its too much. Try muddling the cilantro with the gin, strain it well through a sieve, make sure it is really cold, add a tiny bit of sugar and dilute a bit with soda water. Or just use mint and cucumber but not cilantro and a bit more sugar for a sweeter drink. Also, it is worth using Hendrick’s gin. It has cucumber infusion already which is nice. We have been enjoying these summer cocktails on the deck in Cape Cod and Brooklyn for years. Simple, yes, but simple is good.

  12. jeni Says:

    Favorite Summer Cocktail

    IT’S REALLY HOT in south florida. I mean, its like an OVEN outside. When we do make it out, this is a drink we love–and much more mellow than the drink you featured. hope you like it.

    1 pitcher of filtered water 3/4 full
    1 large cucumber, sliced thin
    2 trays of mint ice (ice cubes with mint frozen in)
    1/2 cup bombay saphire gin
    12 sugar cane sticks (for garnish when serving. not necessary)

    Mix up the pitcher of water with cucumber and let stand in fridge for 20 minutes. before serving add the gin and ice. Pour into tall glasses and garnish with sugar cane sticks. It’s light and refreshing.

  13. The Spice Doc Says:

    That’s too bad you didn’t dig it. I recently made a gin with lemongrass and ginger ale drink and it was delectable if you are into the G & T drink world. I believe I put it on my blog but it also might be on my facebook ‘fan’ page: http://www.thespicedoc.com
    You can make your own ginger gin by marinating gin with ginger (one week is a minimum amount of time) and then add simple syrup, lime, ginger ale (whatever brand or home made), a whole lemon grass stick, done. Deeelish. Enjoy.

  14. Tribeca CSA Newsletter – Week 6 « Tribeca CSA Says:

    [...] Another Emeril drink: Gin Cucumber Cooler [...]

  15. Aaron Says:

    This sounds VERY good…..I will be making one this weekend! ;-)

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