Take The Bite Out Of Vodka With Refreshing Cucumbers

When it comes to creative cocktails, infusions of all kinds can change the game — by transforming the flavor of your base drink. Infuse your go-to spirit with your choice of fruits, vegetables, citrus, herbs, and the like, and you'll convert your original drink into something that's entirely its own. In particular, slivers and slices of crisp, fresh cucumbers lend themselves perfectly to vodka. Given the light, mild, and versatile qualities of the produce, it makes for an easy and well-balanced addition to any vodka cocktail. 

As for why cucumber, specifically, works so well, consider the flavors — and strengths — of both vodka and cucumber. Due to its cool, slightly sweet, and refreshing nature, cucumber helps to offset the intensity of vodka, adding subtle flavor to an otherwise strong standalone. Cucumber also pairs well with other ingredients, so it's a great base for more fun and funky cocktails. Sure, you can add only cucumber to vodka — but you can also keep your recipe flowing with extra additions like mint and lime. 

Cucumber works well not only in vodka but also in gin. These two spirits are among the most common options for cucumber infusions, as they take better to new flavors than darker and more robust drinks. So go ahead and prime your cucumbers for your liquor. Finishing an infusion may require patience, but the process is straightforward — and well worth it. 

Combine cucumber with vodka for a cocktail-friendly infusion

For cucumber-infused cocktails, you could flavor your spirits with infusion kits, or even just buy ready-infused cucumber vodka. However, it's easy and so much fresher to make your own cucumber vodka. 

Basically, you simply have to mix vodka and cucumber together ... then wait. To start, you'll need your vegetable peeler or favorite kitchen knife. Just don't use the outer green skin of your cucumber, which can result in a slightly bitter taste, so peel that off first. Once the vegetable is cut, combine it with your vodka in an airtight jar. Shake the ingredients, and store them in a cool place. When roughly 4 to 5 days have passed — though you can wait a little longer, if desired — strain the mixture. 

The key to this technique is, of course, patience. When making cucumber water, the two can meld for just two hours, but you'll need more time for vodka, as it's considerably stronger than water, so the taste takes longer to permeate. Waiting guarantees your vodka will actually taste like cucumber. From there, try your hand at all your favorite vodka cocktails — only with cucumber as your starting point. Think: a cucumber-vodka collins, lemonade, or gimlet. Once you know how to make your own cucumber-infused vodka, you can try any recipe — and maybe invent some of your own. And don't forget to add a cucumber garnish to your glass.