I am too hipster to buy cucumber vodka in a store. I’m a snob. There, I said it. “Oh, this wasn’t artisinally made for by subsistence farmers in a village that doesn’t have power or running water? WELL, NO THANKS, SIR.” But Malabo isn’t like that. There are for sure subsistence farmers on Bioko Island, and there are also farmers who are growing crops for sale, but the vast majority of produce available for purchase here is imported from Cameroon.
As our preference is to support local producers, we buy most of our vegetables from a neighborhood security guard who tends a small plot across from his place of employment. He’s a great guy, and I admire his entrepreneurial spirit. He doesn’t grow tomatoes, and when Bertrand mentioned that he wanted to buy locally grown tomatoes a couple of kilos at a time, this guy found a friend that would sell them to us for slightly above wholesale prices, but far below retail prices. He gets a cut, his friend makes some money, and everyone’s happy.
He also doesn’t grow cucumbers, or at least, grows them in such small quantities as to be unhelpful to my family, who eats several kilos of them a week. How does that even happen? Alas, I am still buying cucumbers imported from Cameroon.
It took me a few tries to get this recipe for cucumber vodka exactly right and replicable (needless to say, I now have a LOT of cucumber vodka to use up over the next few years). Two weeks of infusing gave the vodka a delightfully cucumber scent, but also picked up the bitter notes of the cucumbers here. Two days was too short; the vodka smelled like cucumber in my fancy-dance mason jars, but didn’t really impart its refreshing cucumber flavor to a vodka Collins. The sweet spot for me was one week, but your mileage may vary depending on your local cucumbers.
Cucumber Infused Vodka
- 4 cups of peeled, seeded, and chopped cucumber
- ~32 oz vodka
- Dump the cucumber in a 32 oz mason jar*.
- Cover cucumber with vodka and close the jar.
- Infuse for one week in a cool dark place, shaking every day.
- Strain the cucumbers out of the vodka, first using a fine mesh strainer, then using a coffee filter or nut milk bag.**
If you’re not sure about the quality of your cucumbers or worried about bitter notes, make a smaller batch. I ran my test batches in 8 oz jars, then scaled the recipe up to 32 oz for the final version (and so I could get great photos).
Cucumber Vodka Rickey
- 2 parts cucumber infused vodka
- 1 part fresh squeezed lime juice
- soda water
Pour vodka and lime juice over ice. Fill glass with soda water. Garnish with cucumber instead of a spent lime.
* I know it’s really trashy for a diplomat to be cheap as shit. I am cheap. I have a house full of mason jars because they are useful. Fuck no I am not buying special equipment so that I can booze better.
** Cheap as shit, I said, I don’t have coffee filters and a nut milk bag is good enough for when I don’t care about clarity.