I love Hys Steakhouse here in our little mountain retreat, but even more I love their cucumber martini :) . For me, I know I’m in the mountains when I get to sip one and then chow down on their yummy Steak Neptune. Thing is…Hys is CRAZY expensive for that steak and martini…and I know how to make a GREAT Steak Neptune myself…sooooo, I had this idea that I’d try to get the recipe from them so that I could enjoy this steak/drink thingy at home…FOR WAY LE$$….but I was certain they’d throw a wrench into my plans by not giving up the all important recipe!…
HA! they were ready to give it up RIGHT AWAY!…so I leaned in close as the bartender was spilling this national secret…and then he mentioned store-bought cucumber vodka! Ewwww…I stopped listening…Why? Because my Twitter #gardenchat pals “grow their own cocktails” all the time and I’ve been fortunate enough to partake in that chat and their knowledge… and after all their trust and time spent sharing their cocktail-growing prowess, I did not want to be a known as their friend who succumbed to the equivalent of fast food vodka and bought it 3F (fake-factory-flavored). So I put all their generosity and my own culinary abilities to use and set out to create my own version…AND I’m so happy I did! I know I’m biased, but there IS a huge difference in how FRESH this tastes. Like I said, Hys is good…but I’m going to “Brag my Truck” (as the Mr. calls it?!?) and say MINE IS BETTER! I love the fresh/sweet/savory/salt&peppery flavors that this drink delivers.
Part 1-Infuse the Vodka
2 cups vodka (I used Stolys)
1/3 long english cucumber, peeled and large chopped (you have to peel it or it will make the vodka bitter)
6-8 leaves fresh basil, rolled and sliced
3-4 good-sized curls of lemon zest (I used a veggie peeler to get a wider peel ensuring more lemon oils)
I put this all in a shallow bowl in the morning, which I covered with plastic wrap and left on the counter, and it was ready by dinner time. You could also do it the day before, but I wouldn’t leave it much longer than that as I found it tended to get bitter when left longer. I liked the flavour of morning to dinner timing the best. When it’s ready, strain the liquid into a bowl and either eat the cucumber ;) or toss it…your choice! But pour the infused vodka into a clean glass bottle or jar and refrigerate.
Part 2- Make a Mint Simple Syrup
1 c. sugar
1 c. water
leaves from 2-3 sprigs fresh mint
Just put it all in a pot and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Cool, strain, and pour into a small pitcher and place in fridge.
Part 3- Make the MountainMartini
Into a cocktail shaker with 5-6 cubes of ice pour:
2 oz. of your self-infused cucumber/basil/lemon vodka
1 oz. mint simple syrup
squeeze the juice from about 2-3 lemon wedges (should have about 1/2 oz. of juice)
squeeze the juice from 1 wedge lime
pinch sea salt
pinch fresh cracked black pepper
Shake this until it’s uber-cold and strain it into a martini glass that contains a slice of cucumber and a healthy peel of lemon that has been twisted to help it release its oils.
Now close your eyes, take a little sip, and breathe in a little air…you’ll swear you’re in the mountains!
P.S. Theirs also didn’t have salt or basil…just in case you were wondering :)