This cocktail is for my grandfather, Wesley Clark, and his wife, Maxine Rockoff. Not only are Gramps and Maxine generous backers of Cucumbers and Gin, they’re also welcoming the production into their home. When we shoot on April 2, we’ll be shooting in their lovely apartment with an incredible view of Brooklyn and the harbor. I’m so grateful. I hope they enjoy their cocktail, the challenge of its invention, and the bunch of musicians and filmmakers they’ll be hosting next month.
This one was a real challenge. My grandfather drinks frozen Chopin vodka, which is delicious, but no source of inspiration. When she’s out Maxine drinks whiskey sours, which is also hard to work into a cucumber and gin cocktail. But when she’s at home, Maxine drinks manhattans. Now that I can work with!
A manhattan with cucumbers and gin, you say? Sounds crazy. But I thought it was worth a shot. Turns out it is crazy; crazy delicious.
Maxine’s Cucumber Manhattan
-2.5 oz. Hendricks gin (optional: infused with cucumbers)
-1 oz. sweet vermouth
-a dash of bitters
-5-7 thin slices of seedless cucumber for garnish
Stir the gin and vermouth with ice, then pour into a rocks glass or martini glass over the cucumber slices and add the dash of bitters. You can also skip the stirring and add everything to a glass with ice if you just can’t wait to try it.
I can tell, you’re not convinced. It’s just a regular manhattan, but you switch out the traditional bourbon or rye for Hendricks gin (bonus points if you infuse it with extra cucumbers, as we’ve discussed before), and ditch the maraschino cherry for slices of seedless cucumber. If you’re still not convinced, try thinking of it as a very wet cucumber martini. Instead of dry vermouth we have sweet, and instead of a bare whisper we have quite a lot of it with a dash of bitters besides. If you still think this cocktail is a tragedy, just remember that you’re not the one with a nearly full bottle of sweet vermouth in the fridge waiting for judgment day (I think I’ll give that to Maxine, actually).
As an interesting side note, I’ve recently learned that since vermouth is basically wine with extra stuff in it, it is susceptible to the same dangers of heat and oxygen as wine. So it’s best kept in the fridge once open. Who knew? Stay tuned for the rest of our recipes. Next up: Sarah Wheaton.