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Often when I post a cocktail recipe, you’ll see a reference to simple syrup. It’s a bartender’s favorite trick: a splash of simple syrup can be as important an ingredient as that lime or lemon juice. I always have simple syrup in my margaritas and someone tasting them for the first time inevitably asks, “How did you do this? Why is this different?” People are surprised when they learn the power of sweetness.

This year, I have been experimenting with life beyond “simple” syrup. Here’s a lovely idea, just one step up from the basic sugar + water of “simple” syrup. Add a cucumber, including the peel.

  • Cucumber simple syrup has a wide use in beverages:
  • An ounce of cucumber simple syrup topped off in a flute with sparkling wine
  • A dash in your gin and tonic
  • Lemonade made with this simple syrup and topped with lemon water [2 lemons and 3 cups of water processed in your blender, then strained]
  • An energized mojito with this syrup instead of plain sugar

You’ll find cucumber syrup captivating. Cucumber flavor is outwardly subtle and yet remarkable penetrating. There is this ability of that light flavor to just come through whenever you use it. The notes always ring out, not blaring but surely tinkling.

It’s the height of summer. The cukes are sun-ripened. So, make this syrup today and drink away.

Cucumber Simple Syrup

Yield: 2 cups


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 medium to large cucumber, peeled, seeded, cut into chunks [save the peels!]


Add the sugar and water to a saucepan, stir to mix a bit, then put the heat on medium high. Bring to a boil, simmer for a minute. Remove from the heat and add the cucumber, both the peel and the chunks. Let cool to room temperature, strain into a jar, and refrigerate. [I have seen a suggestion to let this stand in the fridge overnight before straining to get the maximum cucumber flavor but I don’t think this is actually necessary; a couple of hours cooling to room temperature seems to work just fine.]

This will keep in your fridge for up to three weeks, but I suggest using in the first week or so when it is freshest. It’s so easy to make that “fresh” is always just a short time away.

Source: Brian O’Rourke

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/2 for 1/60th second at ISO‑800