Last night, we set the clocks forward and, after a week of cold rain, it has been perfect weather here on California’s central coast (perfect=mostly sunny, 70°, slight breeze). This paradisaical atmosphere began this morning when I woke up at 5:00 a.m. and thought ’twas Monday. I started my morning routine of reading both the local and global news and then, of course, getting onto Facebook. It was then that I realized my error. It’s Sunday, dammit.
To make the most of it until the house woke up, I watched two of the Up series films (28 Up and 35 Up (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Up_Series)), which began my day existentially. It would follow, then, that a cocktail would need to be made both to embrace the fantastic weather and to enhance my connexion with the universe and life’s journey. For that, I turned to Martha Stewart, of course.
I have said numerous times that, before I began teaching high school, I was a bartender at T.G.I. Sodium’s for a few years. During that time, I acquired quite a working knowledge of making drinks. But nowadays I feel sorely out-of-date. It seems that “mixology” became the trend at some point in the 2000’s, and dickheads calling themelves “mixologists” were making infusions and syrups and wacky martinis and everything else under the sun to get people’s drinks on. For the record, I am a bartender, not a “mixologist,” as I consider bartending more than just making drinks; a bartender provides an atmosphere of comfort, understanding, patience, meticulousness, promptness, and jocularity. A “mixologist” sounds like a pompous asshole, truth be told.
My wife and I found this cocktail a few years ago and I make the ingredients a couple of times a year. It’s very simple, really, and the cocktail itself is one of the most refreshing drinks for which one could ask. I have served this at cocktail parties and people can’t seem to get enough of them. I figured I’d share both my existentialism and a great warm weather drink. Cheers!
Cucumber-Ginger Fizz Cocktail (thanks to Martha Stewart)
Makes a bunch o’ cocktails
750 ml bottle o’ vodka
2 or 3 English cucumbers, 1 or 2 peeled and coarsely chopped, 1 left whole
ginger simple syrup
For the ginger simple syrup, over medium-high heat, bring 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water, and 1 big chunk of peeled, sliced ginger to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cover, turn off the heat, and let it sit for 30 minutes. Strain it, discarding the ginger, and you have it.
In a glass bowl, combine the vodka and cucumber chunks. Cover it and chill it for at least an hour. Discard the cucumber and you have it.
To make one cocktail:
Fill a collins glass (or whatever glass you have) with ice. With the leftover whole cucumber, peel it and shave some of it, but not the seeds. In other words, make cucumber strips and put them in the ice. Add 1 shot o’ cucumber vodka, 1/2 shot of ginger syrup, and fill it with soda water. Squeeze one lime wedge into the drink, stir it with a straw, and you have it.
I haven’t had one person not fall in love with it.
Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.
©Jon Marino 2013