Co-ed cocktails are tricky. They can't be too red or pink, otherwise people will assume you're having a lonely marathon of Sex and the City episodes, or the slightly more depressing marathon of 90210 reruns that play on lifetime. I only say this from experience. You can't make a huge batch of vodka tonics, because though they are delicious they aren't too festive. They're also not cocktails, they're highballs. So when an event like a mixed Oscar party rolls around, what's a girl to do? I stick with the easy "what do I like drinking? "route. It's usually a good place to start.
And this time cucumbers sprung to mind. I used to infuse my own vodka with a mix of cucumbers, lemons, limes, oranges, and watermelon to mix with just soda water or enjoy straight up on a hot summer's eve. The taste of cucumber has that lip smacking freshness that pleases every palette, boys and girls included. And without a week available to infuse an entire batch of vodka for my cousins' Oscar party, I had to come up with a quick solution. Luckily I stopped by one of my favorite lunch spots, Lemonade in Beverly Hills, where they serve the most delicious array of salads, sandwiches and lemonade. I usually have the blueberry mint lemonade, but cucumber mint spoke to me and I went with that. Wow, was it refreshing. The perfect balance of sweet and tart with that lovely cucumber flavor. Perfect to drink alone or mix with vodka. So here's my variation of Lemonade's creation. It's delicious, refreshing, and pleases every partygoer. Enjoy!
2-3 large hot-house cucumbers (those really long skinny ones)
3 cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 bunch of mint, leaves removed (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cup sugar dissolved into 1/4 cup water
3 cups cold water
Dissolve the sugar and water in a pan over moderate heat until clear and simmering on the edges. Allow to cool completely (I just chuck it in the freezer for 15 minutes).
Peel and roughly chop the cucumbers. Add them, the lemon juice, mint leaves, and sugar syrup in a blender and puree. Taste and adjust the flavors to your liking, remembering that the mixture will be diluted with water. Pour the puree through a sieve and add the water, just two cups at first. Taste, and add the extra cup if it suits your palette. Pour into a glass with a few ice cubes, a sprig of mint and a shot of vodka for a sophisticated and dangerously refreshing cocktail. Enjoy!