17 June 2006

High Maintenance Cucumber Gimlets

One can divide most of human activity into two components: process and product…process being the manner in which an activity is carried out, and product being the result of that process. I like to take this description a step further and break down a process into high maintenance or low maintenance (HM and LM), these adjectives clarifying how much effort goes into said process. The resulting product is then described as a high quality product or a low quality product (HQ or LQ).

Allow me to present you with a visual explanation and some concrete examples of various process vs. product combinations:
(scroll down to the gimlet recipe below if you don't care about my theory and you just want to make the cucumber gimlets right now)

Many would agree that most advantageous quadrant to inhabit is Quadrant IV, in which one achieves fabulous results (HQ) with a minimal amount of effort (LM). Quadrant IV people are usually wildly successful beyond your dreams because everything they do comes naturally to them, and everything they touch turns beautiful, and they still have time leftover to exercise and sleep well. I wish I was a Quadrant IV person.

Those who dwell in the first two quadrants, I and II, are those who consistently attain low quality results, whether they are trying too hard (HM) or not trying at all (LM). Most Quadrant I folks, though, are content with not over-exerting themselves, so I wouldn't feel too bad for them.

I am happiest, however, to remain in Quadrant III, where things take way too long to do and I should probably be doing something else that is more productive. But when I am finished with whatever the HM activity is, I am happy because the glorious HQ product is wonderfully worth the effort.

Take these cucumber gimlets, for example. On a hot summer day when your friends are over, should you be spending fifteen minutes making a cocktail? Nooooo. That would be so HM.

But if that cocktail is a cucumber gimlet, then yes, you should spend fifteen minutes making said cocktail because the HQ product is so worth the HM effort. The extraordinary shade of green (not effectively captured in the photograph) will make you want to weep with joy. You probably won't weep, but you will want to. And the taste of the drink, sweet and refreshing, not unlike licking a cold cucumber, will make you so happy with you decision to go Quadrant III and make this HM cocktail.

Cucumber Gimlets
-serves 4 (actually….serves 3 if you have friends who drink like mine)
-adapted from Bon Appétit

2 English seedless cucumbers (the long, skinny ones that you buy already wrapped in plastic…you could use the regular, chunkier cucumbers, but once I used those and the gimlets did not taste very cucumber-y.)
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup gin (don’t add an extra lucky shot like I know you usually do…that will cover up the subtle taste of the cucumber)

Peel the cucumbers and cut into large pieces. If you would rather, you could swordfight with the cucumbers because English cucumbers break easily upon forceful contact with other cucumbers, and that method works just fine and is more fun for all involved, including spectators.

Blend the cucumbers until the mixture is very smooth. Here’s the high-maintenance part: strain the cucumber purée through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing on the sieve to push out every last drop of cucumber water. Discard the solids left in the sieve, or, let me know a good use for them, because they seem too lovely to discard.

Add the gin, sugar, and lime juice to one cup of the strained cucumber water. Stir until sugar has dissolved.

Shake with 6 or 7 ice cubes and pour into martini glasses.
A nice garnish, if you want to go even more Quadrant III, is to stick a toothpick through a slice of cucumber and a slice of lime.



Helene said...

You have just made me very very thirsty after a long day at work. I wonder what this would taste like with Absolut Citron. I'll let you know.
I really enjoy reading your posts! Keep'em coming.

debs said...

i love this post! the gimlets look amazing!

Alanna said...

Just gorgeous ... is one allowed a gimlet at 7:07am?

Erielle said...

Helene, did you quench your thirst eventually? I hope so! As for Absolut Citron, it would probably still be very good. The cucumber water is so sweet that I bet it pairs well with any other clear, clean, tart liquour.

Thanks, Debs...they look so much better in real life, too!

AK, I see no reason why one could not enjoy a cucumber gimlet at 7 am! I suppose one could always make it in the morning without the gin, and still sip it in a martini glass of course, and just pretend to have returned home after a long day's work.

Helene said...

YEs I sure did! I enjoyed it very much. Hubby was quite sceptic and stuck to his Jameson. I am actually going to fix me one right now, i have had a long day in the kitchen!

Rachael said...

Okay...YUM! I am SO in. Beautiful pics too.

kiplog said...

To reach the upper reachest of the HG quadrant, I would highly recommend Hendrick's Gin for this recipe.

Hendrick's is a Scottish gin with a unique herby quality that marries with cucumber like no other gin.

And no, I don't work for Hendrick's. I've never even been to Scotland.

Erielle said...

Kiplog~ Thank you for the tip! I will definitely be trying Hendrick's next when my too-huge bottle of Tanqueray is depleted, which hopefully will be soon.

meriko said...

Hah! Kip, I hadn't ready your comments, but when I mixed up a batch of these last night, I went straight for my bottle of Hendricks.... ;)

Posted ours up at gastronome. Thanks for a lovely evening cocktail inspiration!

jaime said...

please come back so we can make these again!

torie said...

I'm such a low maintenance person, aspiring to be a high maintence person but just, normally, too lazy. But your cucumber gimlets inspired me and today I made myself some. The boyfriend is far too skeptical - which means I get the whole batch to myself tonight.

As for what to do with the foam left over - how about a posh garnish for a refreshing gazpacho...? Superb.

Thank you!

emily said...

so i made these last night and OHMYGOD i will never drink another cocktail. in a dance of joy after my first sip i knocked over the cup that contained the gimlet that didn't fit in my martini glass and i cried. then i scraped what was left off the counter back into a cup. and i drank it. and it was still perfect.

Erielle said...

Rachael~ I visited your site and when I am sick of making cucumber gimlets I am totally going to make your tequila-raspberry popsicles. Wow, what if there were gimlets and popsicles on the same night? Totally high-maintenance.

Jaime~ Yes, we need to make these again. Maybe we should experiment and add some herbs...cucumber-basil gimlets?

Torie~ I cannot think of a better use for leftover foam than your idea of garnish for gazpacho. And now I can't think of a better garnish for gazpacho! And I do believe that gazpacho and cucumber gimlets(s) would be a tasty pairing! Good one.

Emily~ It really is the nectar of the gods, isn't it? Happy gods, that is. The angry gods were the ones that spilled your drink.

smartie said...

In typical me fashion, I'm a year behind, but I've just discovered gimlets this weekend and this recipe looks faaaabulous!

laurie said...

I have been making these gimlets since they appeared in Bon Appetit (wasn't it the summer of 06?). I find it helps to up the proportions of lime juice a tad. On the extreme Quad III end, we love them so much that we made them the signature cocktail for our daughter's wedding this past July - picture the effort it took to make GALLONS of cucumber juice (my husband is a saint). Of course, they were the perfect color for the wedding theme.

Jessica said...

I had never heard of the cucumber gimlet until two nights ago when we ate at Ocean Prime in Miami. They were dee-lish and after thinking of them for 2 days, I googled it and voila! Found your recipe! I am going to try it tonight to see how close it is. Thanks!

Rachel said...

Here's what we did to be high-maintenance one day and low-maintenance for several times after: we also fell in love with the bon apetit cucumber gimlet recipe - so we bought a boat load of cucumbers and pureed and cheese-clothed ourselves silly and then FROZE the cucumber juice :-) Right now I have a container of cucumber juice thawing on the counter and was too lazy to dig through my magazines to find this recipe, but found the recipe here. Thanks so much!

Nicole said...

I second the Hendrix! Truly the best gimlet gin.

pfa8680 said...

That isn't a gimlet it's a gin rickey not that it really matters. Gimlet's usually use rose's lime juice or some other form of concentrate. Whereas a gin rickey uses fresh lime juice with the addition of raw sugar or simple syrup. Just found this out myself. And yes you have to try your next cucumber gin drink with hindrick's it is the perfect accompaniment.