Put cucumber in a drink and you are guaranteeing that I will order it. Although rum and cucumber are not a super traditional pairing, they combine beautifully in this drink to make the mojito even more refreshing than any beverage has the right to be. Add in the trifecta of limey-ness (syrup + sparkling water + juice) and you’re basically doing the drinking equivalent of plunging into a lake (but without all that work of actually, you know, moving around).
½ cup white sugar
3 large limes, zest removed in wide strips
2 mini cucumbers (you will need 4 extra if you want to use them to wrap around the inside of the glass as garnish)
4 sprigs of mint
2 oz fresh lime juice
2 oz white rum
Lime-flavoured sparkling water, to serve
Lime wedges, cucumber slices, and mint sprigs, to garnish
Place the sugar in a medium saucepan along with ½ cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves completely. Let cool 5 minutes then add the lime zest strips and let sit for 30 minutes to steep. Strain the lime syrup through a fine-mesh sieve. Set aside.
If doing the complicated cucumber-glass-wrap garnish, thinly slice 4 cucumbers lengthwise. Using 1 strip at a time, wrap the cucumber into circles, just overlapping the ends slightly. Align with the inside edges of the glasses and push down with the handle of the spoon, rotating the glass so as to evenly push down the cucumber. Repeat until the glasses have been completely lined with the cucumber slices. Set aside.
Chop off and discard the knobs of 2 of the mini cucumbers. Slice each cucumber in half lengthwise then chop coarsely into 4-6 pieces. Place the cucumber pieces into a cocktail shaker, add 4 sprigs of mint and 1 ½ oz lime syrup. Muddle until the cucumber is broken up (but not mush), at least 30 seconds. Fill the shaker with ice and pour in the lime juice and rum. Shake well until thoroughly chilled and well-mixed. Regardless of whether you chose the fancy cucumber garnish option or not, fill both glasses with ice. Strain the chilled mojito evenly into the glasses. Top up with the lime sparkling water. Garnish with lime wedges, cucumber slices, and mint sprigs. Let’s never let summer end, okay?