There are many reasons to have a toast right now—it’s the weekend, marks are in and I did well on my immunology exam, it’s a hot and sunny summer and Mama Nature is giving us some love… just to name a few. The most important reason for my toast today, however, (besides an excuse to make a delicious cocktail) is to celebrate you! Yes, that’s right, you–my readers and (fingers crossed) soon-to-be readers. It’s the official launch of my blog and for the past two years you, my friends and family, have been encouraging me to start this thang. It’s for you that I am writing this blog. I hope you will love it as much as I think that I will.
For those of you who I see regularly: It’s because when we’re together and you’re eating my food, I delight in your enjoyment, your questions of how I made it, and I am secretly thrilled when you help yourself to seconds. I am moved at how you relax into our company at our dinner table and open up your life to us, sharing in the joy of a simple meal and truly amazing connections. For those of you afar: You write me regularly when I post about my latest creation on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Taking pictures of each thing you eat can be a bore or a joke to some, (which I also totally get!) but you embrace my love of food (and let’s face it, my sheer geekiness) and you encourage more.
I hope that I won’t disappoint. There is lots more to come… there are so many ideas a brewin’! As I learn the ropes in the new blog world I will be making lots of delicious food to share with you. But let’s not think about the future right now. Let’s be here today, because today is about celebration!!
So make this drink. Do it. Seriously. Then when you’ve got it, hold your glass up
high, and hear my genuine words of thanks! This drink is for you! Cheers!
Cucumber Mint Lemonade (Serves 2)
With inspiration from Food and Wine Magazine
// Ingredients //
2 tbsp freshly chopped mint
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp honey, or more to taste
¼ cup cucumber juice (see note)
1 tbsp water
½ cup chilled club soda
1 ½ ounces gin (optional)
Place ice in a chilled highball glass.
In a cocktail shaker, muddle the chopped mint, honey, lemon & lime juices, and the water until the syrup is dissolved. Then add the cucumber juice and gin (if using) and shake well. Strain into the prepared glass and stir in the club soda. Garnish with a slice of cucumber and a sprig of mint. This can be easily doubled or tripled though you may need to do the shaking in batches.
***Note: Cucumber juice can be made VERY easily at home. Trust me on this one. Puree peeled cucumber chunks in a blender and then strain through a fine sieve. One large cucumber yields about ¾ cup strained juice. I wasn’t sure if our sieve was fine enough so I put a piece of cheesecloth in as well. There was more than enough juice in a matter of minutes. If you don’t want to make the juice, you can buy it from a juice counter. If that seems like too much, skip it all together and muddle some cucumber slices in your shaker along with your mint and honey just to get the essence.