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?
- Cucumber and lychee simple syrup (1 oz for one cocktail–a pony)
- 1 cucumber, sliced into coins, thinly
- 1 can of lychee in syrup
- 1.5 cups of water
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- For the final drink
- 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!
Tearah Muns says
I have a bridal shower tomorrow night that I would like to serve this at, but I’m planning for it to be more of a “mix it yourself” kinda bar, What would the measurements be if they were to mix the sake, simple syrup and sparkling water? Could we use club soda? (the date is 9.18.14… I know its supper late notice;)
kesar pista says
My Aussie hubby, born in Malaysia, says “lie-chee”. I’m the American who always says “lee-chee”. My Vietnamese mother introduced me to them and pronouced it that way, too. So i’ve tended to trust her rather than Ozzie hubby, who has over the years attempted to correct me. I suppose both are right – toe MAE toe, toe MAH toe.
My family also refers to it as “lee-chee” too. Vietnamese high-five!
Cathy @ Savory Notes says
Haha, I totally love drinks that taste like Mountain Dew too. This recipe looks and sounds really refreshing and tasty; I can’t wait to try it!
Haha, I keep thinking that I’ll acquire more sophisticated taste when it comes to cocktails and wine as I get older, but that doesn’t seem to be happening!
Thanks for the kind words. :)
This looks great! and so fitting for bringing my japanese in-laws to my very anglo family gathering. I tend to think if I can get a couple drinks in us all everything else will work out just fine! Can’t wait to try it!
Alcohol is a great ice-breaking/party-starter, right? :D Good luck with the family gathering!
YUM! I LOVE lychee anything – by itself, gelato, in drinks especially. This recipe also sounds perfect bc a lot of Chinese folks (I think, may be general East Asian too) are wary of eating too much lychee b/c it’s classified as a “hot” food, as in eating too much of it throws off some kind of balance in your body. It never made sense to me, and my parents don’t know how to explain it to me other than comparing it to feeling feverish/hot/dehydrated (like when you eat too much spicy foods, I think). ANYWAY, with that said, even if that’s not true, I like the combination of it with cucumber, which is definitely refreshing and cool.
very pretty presentation! and i don’t see what’s wrong with asking for water with your alcohol, to each her own right?
cantonese would be “lie-chee”, mandarin “lee-tze”
but as long as they understand you, what’s the harm?
Thanks so much for the explanation, Jen! So are you saying both may be right? ;D