But! I want to get better!
Enter this cucumber and lychee sake spritzer. Its genesis was rather uncomplicated. I like cucumbers in water. I like to eat lychee. They’re both super subtle, clean flavors. They can totally team up and to make a “chuggable” cocktail!
Now, when I say chuggable, I don’t mean you should serve this at a frat party next to the keg. (I mean, I guess you could . . .). I mean that you can serve this drink alongside dinner in lieu of water.
(Is it just me? When I go to restaurants and opt for a cocktail or wine with dinner, I ask to have a glass of water, too, because I like to wash down some of my bites. And while no one’s been weird about the request, the fact that water’s not always automatically given to me makes me wonder if other people really just have wine with dinner.)
Wines and strong cocktails are sipping drinks, but you don’t really send food down into your belly with a flood of red wine. I mean, I’d totally be super drunk by the end of the dinner if I did that.
Thus, the cucumber lychee sake spritzer was born!
I remember hearing “white wine spritzers” a lot on TV shows. When I hear the word “spritzer,” I picture a woman in full make-up, dressed in a bathing suit, sitting poolside, and asking for a white wine spritzer. The whole image led me to believe that spritzers are these ethereal, bubbly, and light cocktails that you can drink for breakfast.
So that’s what I was aiming for with this drink.
Was just in the mood. Haha. I thought the creamy, fermented, and rice-y flavors of sake would pair well with the cucumber and lychee. You can certainly use vodka instead, if you’d like. I’d generally stick with those two, though, because other alcohols can easily mute the cucumber and lychee flavors
Do you guys say it “lie-chee” or “lee-chee”? I tend to say the latter. But I’ve been corrected many-a-time at bubble tea joints by teenage girls. So I’m honestly wondering. Am I saying it wrong?
- 1 cucumber, sliced into coins, thinly
- 1 can of lychee in syrup
- 1.5 cups of water
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 4 liters (200 mL for one cocktail--a little under a cup) of sparkling/seltzer water, cold
- 750 mL (1.5 oz for one cocktail--a jigger) of an inexpensive and clear sake, cold
- Lots of ice (a few cubes for one cocktail)
- Extra cucumber slices and the saved lychees for garnishing
- Make the cucumber simple syrup by adding sugar, water, and the syrup from the lychee can (save the lychee for garnishing later!) to a medium sauce pan over medium high heat. Let the mixture heat up, stirring until the sugar has dissolved (about 5 minutes)
- After there are no more sugar crystals to be seen, take the mixture off the heat and allow the cucumber to continue steeping in the simple syrup until the mixture is at room temperature.
- Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.
- In a large, gallon-sized drink container (check out my new toy below!) or a punch bowl, add the sake and the simple syrup (cucumber slices and all) and stir the two together.
- Pour in the sparkling water and also lightly stir until it's well-mixed.
- Top the liquid with a good amount of ice. The ice mostly serves as a way to keep it cold. Since all your ingredients go in cold, it will take a while for the ice to melt, most likely longer than it takes to drink. The drink is sweet and can stand to be diluted over the course of a few hours without losing too much of its flavor.
- Garnish with lychee and cucumber slices and serve!
This is my new toy! I got it at World Market Cost Plus for $25. At first I thought it looked puny and small, only capable of holding six drinks.
Super wrong. This guy is industrial!