This simple cucumber cocktail is next level easy and incredibly delicious. Once you've mixed your first Cucumber Herb Wine Spritzer, you'll definitely become a fan.
It's cool, refreshing white wine cocktail for fans of spa water and summer flavors. Best served at the end of the day, the start of a weekend, or with a bowl of fresh guacamole (made with California avocados, of course!)
Choosing wine for this herb + cucumber cocktail:
You'll want a crisp, dry white wine for this cocktail, which pairs well with the flavors of the herbs and the cucumber.
I wrote this recipe for a wine cocktails cookbook for California Wines, so I'm using Golden State wine, of course. I recommend Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc or Viognier here.
About the wine suggestions:
Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio
With crisp stone fruit and bright citrus flavors, California Pinot Gris (a.k.a. Pinot Grigio) adds a refreshing note to most light meals. The grape itself has a pinkish-grey skin, hence the name gris (French for grey).
Crisp and refreshing, vintners often put their own spin on this classic varietal, with flavors that range from vibrant lemongrass and herb to tart green apple, melon and fig. My friend Amanda McCrossin of SommVivant calls Sauvignon Blanc the "Little Black Dress" of California winegrapes, because it goes with almost everything.
A full-bodied varietal is known for its floral aromatics, lushness on the palate and long finish. An array of complex flavors, from apricot and orange blossom to violet and rose, give Viognier an irresistible allure. Viognier is possibly my favorite white wine varietal, and my favorite option for this (and any) white wine spritzer.
Ingredients for this cucumber cocktail recipe:
- fresh mint
- fresh basil
- California white wine
- cucumber (we used Persian cucumbers, but any will work)
- plain or lime sparkling water
To cut cucumber ribbons for your cucumber cocktail:
The easiest way to make cucumber ribbons is to trim the ends off a cucumber with a knife, and then use a vegetable peeler to cut ribbons lengthwise from the cucumber. If you have a mandoline, you can adjust it to cut the ribbons a little thicker than a vegetable peeler is capable of cutting.
If you use Persian or other smaller cucumbers, you can use the whole thing for cucumber cocktails. Should you choose larger fruit (yes, they are a fruit!) you'll want to cut ribbons from two sides, and then chop the remaining seedy center for cucumber salad or salsa or to mix into your favorite salad.
Here's a video from my friend Jerry James Stone showing you how to cut ribbons:
Here's a few more wine cocktails to try:
Cucumber Herb Wine Spritzer
- 3 mint leaves
- 2 large basil leaves
- Juice of ½ a lime
- 6 ounces California white wine such as Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc or Viognier
- 3 cucumber strips
- 3-4 ounces plain or lime-flavored sparkling water
- Garnish: lime wheel mint leaf & basil leaf
- Tear the mint leaves and basil leaves into large pieces and add them to the bottom of a wineglass or tumbler.
- Add the juice of half a lime and use a spoon to stir, muddling the mixture a bit to release the flavor of the herbs.
- Add ice to the glass, then the white wine. Tuck the cucumber strips throughout the mixture and stir gently to combine.
- Top with sparkling water, then add the lime wheel and more mint and basil as garnish.
Photos: Meg van der Kruik