Be sure to cut off the bitter ends before you juice the cucumber, but you don’t need to peel it. Makes 4-6 cocktails.
2 stalks lemongrass
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 large cucumbers
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 leaves mint
8 ounces gin
Make the syrup: Smash 2 stalks lemongrass with the back of a knife and chop finely. In a small pot, bring to a boil sugar and water along with the lemongrass. Simmer 10 minutes over low heat and cool. Add the juice of 2 limes.
Make the cucumber juice: Rinse cucumbers and cut off the ends. Save several thin slices for garnish. Process in a juicer or blender and season with salt and pepper. (If using a blender, pass purée through a fine-mesh strainer.)
Combine the cucumber juice with just enough lemongrass-lime syrup to fix the flavor. Refrigerate for up to a day.
Make the Cucumber Cup: Muddle the mint in a cocktail shaker with a little of the syrup. Add the gin and about 2 ounces of cucumber juice mixture along with some ice. Shake and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with thin slices of cucumber.
This recipe is the creation of John Broening, chef at Spuntino in Denver.