P-Mag’s Ultimate Cocktails: Spicy Gin Cucumber Lemonade

In a move that surprises absolutely no one who knows me, I decided to make another gin cocktail for our ongoing drink-of-the-day series this month. I’m not sure from where I first stumbled across this recipe for boozy lemonade, but I’m glad I did. It’s adaptable to your tastes and level of laziness, and once the weather heats up, it will be perfect for outdoor drinking.

Spicy Gin Cucumber Lemonade - ingredients
The Whyte Laydie gin is made by Montgomery Distillery in Missoula, MT. It runs $27-31 per bottle. My cayenne pepper is courtesy of the bulk bins at my local natural grocery.

This Spicy Gin Cucumber Lemonade recipe comes from Heather Christo, who runs a food-related site that has an ongoing #ThirstyThursday feature. Though this involves more than three ingredients, I thought it still looked like a manageable and quick concoction.

Here’s what you need for 1 drink:

  • 2+ ounces (approx. 60 ml) of gin
  • 8 ounces (approx. 240 ml) of lemonade
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 4 thin slices of cucumber
  • lemon slices
  • ice
Spicy Gin Cucumber Lemonade - in process
Here’s how much gin and cayenne I used. The measuring cup on the left holds 2 ounces (or 1/4 cup).

I followed the recommendations of the recipe and used a highball glass and also measured the liquor. Since this was a new-to-me drink, I wanted to see how all the original flavors meshed together before I decided if it needed to be stronger.

Put a handful of ice in the glass, then add your cucumber slices and pinch of cayenne. Add gin and however many lemon slices make you feel fancy. That’s it!

I was a wee bit concerned about the cayenne, but that tiny pinch added a savory (but not too spicy) element to the drink that I really enjoyed, though the cayenne does tend to settle at the bottom. With my second drink, I added a touch more gin and nixed the cayenne, and it was still quite tasty. And on the laziest end of the drink-mixing spectrum, just lemonade and gin is also delicious.

If you’re unsure about the gin, it is definitely not an overwhelming flavor here. I had my gin-hating husband try a sip, and he said that it mostly tastes like a cucumber-lemonade. He wouldn’t make one for himself, but he didn’t dislike the drink. The cucumbers hold up well, so they’re fun to eat after you reach the bottom of the glass. Then again, I’m that strange person who likes to eat the limes in my Russian Lit. Your mileage may vary.

I can picture these being quite good at summer BBQs or any other outdoor gathering, and I’m thinking that cucumbers should be a regular feature in my cocktail-making. What about you? Any cucumber-based favorites? Give us a shout  in the comments.

Spicy Gin Cucumber Lemonade
The finished product! Deliciousness can be yours.

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Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

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