This year has seen a balance shift from the beer-centric libations that have long anchored my evening hours, to cocktails. Gin and rye are the main players but we see appearances from vodka, scotch, tequila and campari. Tried and trusted combinations are great after a long day or when the booze muse is absent: old fashioneds or gin and tonics get high billing.
The real fun is when time and ingredients are on your side and you get to create something new and (potentially) delicious. Pictured is my Cucumber Hendrick’s, using the gin that lends itself especially well to the vegetable at hand.
While I have long believed that there had to be a hierarchy amongst alcoholic beverages, one in which beer is best, my view of the world is expanding. Gone are the days of trying to convince people that they’ve been disillusioned by beer’s so-called bloating effect and higher caloric bill. My knee-jerk default to beer, when offered a beverage, is tired and arthritic. Tolerance and open-mindedness have quieted the vicissitude of my desire.
It’s a new world, people. One where I may even wake up some day to see Two Hearted and Bulleit Rye in hand-to-hand combat, battling it out for my affections. Maybe I’ll be surprised and rye will triumph.
Ha. Now we’re just getting carried away.
Erika’s Cucumber Hendrick’s (makes 2 cocktails)
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped (plus slices/ spears to garnish)
- 2 sugar cubes
- juice of 1 lemon
- 3 oz. Hendrick’s Gin
- Club soda
Place a sugar cube in each of two rocks glasses. Distribute cucumber between glasses and muddle until sugar is broken down. Add a few cubes of ice to each glass, and squeeze the juice of one lemon between the two. Add 1.5 ounces gin to each cocktail, top with club soda, and garnish. For a smoother drink blend the first three ingredients and strain, before adding gin and soda.