Whenever I slice cucumbers I always think how fresh they smell. Even in the middle of winter you can get a hint of summer freshness when cutting up a cuke. They’re great on their own and in salads, of course, but can also lend a fresh hint of flavor to cocktails. Add some sweet, juicy watermelon, the quintessential summer fruit, and up the refreshment factor even more.
The folks at Minnesota’s own Prairie Organic Spirits take it a step further and feature a cucumber-flavored organic vodka in their lineup, which also includes certified organic vodka and organic gin.
The spirits are made from single vintage organic corn that is grown on a handful of family-owned and operated farms. After the harvest, the corn is brought to the farmer-owned distillery in Benson, Minnesota; a sustainable co-op that converts leftover corncobs into fuel and returns the leftover distillers grains to local farmers for use as feed. Once it leaves the distillery in Benson, Minnesota, Prairie is bottled in the town of Princeton by Ed Phillips and Sons—a fifth generation and family-operated distilled spirits company.
As noted on their website, since they don’t use herbicides, they create old-fashioned prairie fires to naturally control unwanted weeds. And because they don’t use pesticides, they rely on native birds and bats to consume their insect populations, turning the fields into complete ecosystems that flourish with all kinds of wildlife.
So you can raise a glass to summer, the garden, and the spirit of sustainable farming and environmentally friendly cocktails! (And maybe some bats to help with any pesky mosquitos in your own backyard?) Cheers!
Cucumber Gin Cooler
1.5 oz. Prairie Organic Gin
4 cucumber slices
¼ lime, sliced
4 oz. tonic water
6 mint leaves
1 tbsp. sugar
Add mint, lime, gin and sugar to a shaker and muddle. Add cucumber slices to the shaker and shake vigorously. Pour mixture over glass filled with ice, top with tonic water and stir.
2 oz. Prairie Cucumber-Flavored Organic Vodka
2 1-inch cubes of seedless watermelon
1 diced lime (bitter ends removed)
1 oz. organic agave nectar
1 cucumber slice
Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake, then serve in a lowball glass over ice with a lightly salted rim. Garnish with a slice of cucumber.
Want to learn more about spirits? Make sure to check out Minnesota Monthly’s Fine Spirits Classic on July 30 where you can sample this and many other spirits as well as tasty food.