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.
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)
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.