A few years back, Mason and I went to a Christmas party where the host served some fantastic, slightly sweet cucumber martinis. Ever since, I’ve been a big fan of cucumber in drinks. When I came up with the idea of a cucumber-basil mojito the other day, I thought I was so frickin’ brilliant. A twist on the classic rum drink, adding cucumber and using basil instead of the traditional mint? Surely no one else had come up with the same concept.
Alas, my claim to booze brilliance was short-lived. A few Google searches revealed that I was not, sadly, the first person to come up with this idea. I didn’t like any one of them in its entirety though, and some had no mojito-like qualities at all, like the one that used gin and lemon juice. What? Anyway, I adapted several recipes to come up with my own version, which Mason and I both agree is quite tasty. For a non-alcoholic drink, try using lemon-lime soda instead of the rum.
6 basil leaves, roughly chopped
5 1-inch pieces of peeled cucumber, one of which is finely diced*
3 tsp simple syrup (or finely granulated sugar)
2.5 oz dark rum (anyone who tells you that a mojito must contain light rum is a liar, but feel free to use it if you prefer)
Splash of lime juice
Splash of club soda
Slice of cucumber, for garnish
Put basil and syrup or sugar in the bottom of a glass. Muddle the basil with the back of a spoon or the side of a measuring cup — you just want to bruise it to release its flavor. Fill the glass with ice and add rum, lime juice, cucumber, and soda. Stir to blend, and garnish with a cucumber slice. Makes 1 drink.
*I like how the drink looks with both chunks and small pieces of cuke floating around. Also, finely dicing one of the pieces releases a little more cucumber flavor into the drink.