Years ago, when I attended New England Culinary Institute there was a little, local distillery that made a cucumber flavored gin. We had discovered it by accident, but I was glad we had as it made the greatest Gin & Tonics I had ever tasted. While the juniper flavor was still there it didn’t overpower and the combination of the cucumber, lime and tonic created a wonderfully refreshing beverage meant for chasing the heat of summer away. Veranda Gin was well ahead of its time. It was one of the few well crafted gins being created in small batches and using flavors beyond juniper to give their drink a unique taste all its own. Today many distilleries are experimenting with gin and flavors besides juniper, but it took them 10 years to catch up to what Vermont Distillers had created. Unfortunately, I believe that Vermont Distillers no longer exists as I’ve spent a number of hours searching the web to find any information on them. Most references I find are dated from the mid 1990′s and earlier. I had never forgotten those Gin & Tonics though and over the years I have perfected my own cucumber accented Gin & Tonic, which I happily share with you all.

Cucumber Juice
1 1/2 Cucumbers
2 Tbsp. Water

Peel the whole cucumber, but leave the 1/2 cucumber unpeeled. Roughly chop and place in a blender along with the water. Blend until as smooth as possible (about 1 minute). Strain through a fine mesh strainer pressing down on the pulp to extract as much liquid as possible. Depending on your cucumbers this should yield approximately 2 cups-plenty for a night of drinking with friends and then some unless you’re a lush like me!

Summertime Gin & Tonic
1 1/2 oz. Gin (preferably one with a little less juniper flavor such as Plymouth’s or Tanqueray 10)
2 oz. Cucumber Juice
2 wedges Lime (cut into 1/8th)
Tonic Water

Fill a tall Collins glass with ice. Add the gin and cucumber juice. Squeeze 1 wedge of lime into the glass and drop the lime in also. Fill with tonic water and garnish with the additional lime, allowing your guest to add more lime flavor if they want.

Be Sociable, Share!

15 Comments

  1. Haven't tried cucumber juice but it looks really refreshing.

  2. I had totally forgotten about Veranda! I think Jim Rivis (remember him?!) even brought in a bottle for beverage class. That stuff was the bomb!

  3. A GREAT refreshing drink if you like cucumber. I had juice left over and, not knowing how long it would keep refrigerated, I decided to make ice cubes to use in my next try at this. I am drinking that as I speak and it works! Take ice cubes out of tray and put into plastic bag and back into the freezer immediately (to try to keep them from freeing together). When mixing your next Cuc. Gin & Tonic, put 2 or 3 cubes into glass, add the GIN and THEN the regular ice, and finish the drink as above. It will start with a gentle cuke flavor that gets stronger as the cuke ice cubes melt. Too strong by then? Just add more gin (maybe also tonic :-) ).

  4. Sounds like a great idea. I'll try that next time I make them and have leftover cucumber juice.

  5. Actually, I found out that the cucumber ice cubes last longer than 1 drink; they give a more subtle flavor to 2. I liked it that way. However,next time I might try pulsing them in a blender with the gin until liquid and then finishing the drink. Will that "bruise" the gin?

  6. Suggestion: Use Hendrick’s gin as it is already infused with cucumber. Toss the limes and through in a 1/4 to 1/2″ round of cucumber…it will soak up some of the gin and serve as a tasty little snack! Cheers.

  7. Thanks for the suggestions. I really like Hendrick’s so I will try it with that. I like garnishing with the cucumber, but personally I would still keep the lime as I like the flavor it adds.

  8. Also use Hendricks gin. This has a hint of cucumber already in it. Great martini with a thin slice and caper juice.

  9. This was particularly good tonight after a warm day today. I will be blogging about it shortly and link here. Cucumber and gin is a natural!

  10. No idea if anyone will see this. But if you do, send me a mail – jknott@voicenet.com.

    Remember Veranda Gin well, still have a smidgen left – for a truly special occasion. Out of 6 bottles originally.

    Bought it on a journey through the area in, gee not sure, maybe 1987 maybe 88.

    In any case, best stuff I’ve ever tasted. Unfortunately, never opened it for years and didn’t know what I was missing. Once I tried to find it again – gone, or no response from the then website or phone number.

    Great memories though.

  11. If I had known that Veranda Gin wouldn’t stay around I would have invested in a couple of cases!!!!

  12. I remember Veranda Gin! We had moved to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and found Veranda on a trip to Montpelier. A little light in alcohol, lots of botanicals (I hadn’t recognized the cucumber!) and made the best Gin & Tonics ever. Very bummed when I could no longer find it. I’ll try the Hendricks.

  13. I am very surprised by the number of people who have come forward saying that they remember Veranda Gin. I loved that stuff!!

  14. My all-time favorite gin & tonic recipe is very simple – just gin, tonic, and a little grenadine with ice. I first had this drink about 30 years ago in a hotel bar in Cairo, Egypt. It had a name, but I do not know what it was. I have used both Rose’s grenadine and also Maraschino cherry juice instead of grenadine. I use just enough of either to impart a pinkish color. No lime or lemon, or anything else, except ice. Experiment to see how much grenadine/cherry juice you prefer. Given a choice of any cocktail, I will always take this one.

  15. Dennis, I might just have to give that a try. You might also want to check out my newest gin drink in my June 17, 2012 post. I think you will enjoy it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

© 2009-2014 onceachef.com All Rights Reserved -- Copyright notice by Blog Copyright