Back when I was a young gun, perfecting my cocktail craft with The Match Bar Group, Kevin Armstrong – head honcho bartender extraordinaire unveiled a drink for a new summer menu he had created called the Nicola’s Six Punch.
I had never seen the combination of Strawberry & Cucumber used so well and as a result of this drink, this bold combination has stuck with me ever since.
The Nicola’s Six featured muddled Strawberry & Cucumber with raspberry vodka, lemon & sugar. Shaken & served up with pink fizz. Sexy and delicious.
The blend we prepare and make available from 1 May to 1 October pays homage to this drink and we’ve created some new drinks of our own showcasing this combination which I think you’re gonna love.
Before we get to those, here is our recipe for our Strawberry & Cucumber blend:
|Cucumber Syrup (1:1)||50%|
|Squeezed Lemon Juice||19%|
There are two methods we have employed to make cucumber syrup and I will describe them as The Easy Way & The Hard Way.
The Easy Way (you need a centrifugal juicer)
Wash and chop fresh cucumber. Keep it whole and chop it in to large, thick discs that your centrifugal juicer can deal with. Juice your chopped cucumber using a centrifugal juicer to extract fresh cucumber juice. Slowly add an equal quantity of caster sugar to your fresh cucumber juice, mixing well as you do – creating cucumber syrup.
To make approximately 1 litre of cucumber syrup, you need roughly 3 cucumbers. I get roughly 200ml of juice per cucumber so 3 cucumbers will yield approximately 600ml of juice. Combine with 600ml (or an equal amount of caster sugar to juice).
If you don’t have a centrifugal juicer than you might be stuck with…
The Hard Way
This a rustic, but effective way of making a delicious cucumber syrup – getting the most out of the cucumber’s flavour – skin, seeds and all.
Measure and set aside your caster sugar. For 1 litre of finished cucumber syrup, you will need 600g of sugar. Minding your fingers, grate 3 cucumbers in to your sugar and with clean hands, fold the cucumber juice, seeds and skin in to the sugar and leave for 30 mins to 1 hour. This will allow the cucumber to infiltrate and get in to the sugar granuales. You can then proceed to make your cucumber syrup as you might a usual 1:1 simple syrup – adding your cucumber and sugar mix to 600ml of water, mixing to dissolve as you go along. The only thing left to do is to strain your brand new syrup through a fine sieve to leave behind any unwanted bits of skin and seeds.
This is a great ingredient in itself. Cucumber loves tequila, gin and vodka, probably in that order.
In fact, as I write this, I can picture a tequila based cocktail with cucumber syrup, squeezed lemon and crème de cassis. Served up. I reckon there is a drink in their somewhere.
But I digress. For the purposes of our blend, the cucumber syrup will form a great base on which we’ll lay some additional flavour. In this case we’re adding the freshest and tastiest strawberry puree we can lay our hands on and blending the whole thing with squeezed lemon juice to make sure our eventual cocktails are perfectly balanced.