Monday, July 14, 2008

In that case, what's a "Gotham City?"

Cucumber is an idea which has come up a number of times when Wayland and I have discussed possible vodka infusions, and several of our readers have also mentioned it in comments and e-mails. For a long time, however, we put the thought on the back burner, thinking that the mild flavor of cucumber may not come through as easily as many of our other vodka flavors.

Eventually, we discovered a cocktail which made us rethink the role of cucumber, as it pertains to vodka: the Metropolis, courtesy of Svedka Vodka. (Warning: this website involves sound, and is also annoying in myriad other ways. The drink we're referring to is the first to appear under "future cocktails.") We were intrigued by this unusual-sounding drink, which involves muddled cucumber slices, vodka, sour mix and a splash of vanilla vodka, and determined to try it out. It was, in fact, very refreshing and tasty; we wondered if it could be improved by an actual cucumber infused vodka, and what other creations such a vodka could inspire.

Wayland began the experiment by slicing a cucumber, then cutting each slice into quarters to increase its surface area. We then cut off the skin, to prevent bitterness.

We sliced away the skin using a straight cut from corner to corner, resulting in small, triangular wedges. This was a time efficient method, though as my calculations determined, we discarded more than a third of the cucumber this way:

Sadly, this is not the first time we have used algebra and alcohol in conjunction.

Since cucumber is, as we said, a fairly mild flavor, we're estimating that this infusion will take at least three weeks. We will update with its status after the first tasting. Meanwhile, stay tuned for the results of our notorious bacon infused vodka, coming later this week.


Heather said...

Another use for cucumber-in-alcohol is the British staple "Pimms" cocktail. Pimms is a gin/cognac based liquor. Mint, cucumber, lemons... it's a refreshment in a cup. Or a rocks glass.

Here's a handy BBC link:

Dinah (MetaGrrrl) said...

You may want to run a parallel experiment WITH cucumber skin. In my (non-infusing) experience that's where a lot of the most interesting parts of cucumber flavor are happening. Garnishing a Pimm's Cup (Mmmm) with a strip of peel is not uncommon nor is the use of peels to give a light flavor to a pitcher of water.

Brendan said...

Thanks for the tip; we'll try an infusion with the skin on in the future. We'll have to look into this Pimms you speak of; I've heard of it, but not much. It may not be available around here.

Unknown said...

Novelist and drinking expert Kingsley Amis invented a drink called the Lucky Jim that uses cucumber juice; the recipe he gives is:
12-15 parts vodka
1 part dry vermouth
2 parts cucumber juice
stirred with ice and garnished with cucumber slices. He claims it's deceptively "mild and bland."

jim kay said...

Just found the site - greetings from Asheville. Pimms is available in our local ABC stores. I assume that means you should be able to find it in the Raleigh stores.

Erik the Viewing Squid said...

Don't worry about mixing in a bit of math with your drinking. A friend and I did the same thing when mixing and dividing sake screwdrivers. If you need any future calculations, hit me up. I'm a math major.