On a recent trip up to New York, I dragged Mr. T to the Neue Galerie for a little visit with Gustav Klimpt and some pretty tea sets. Mr. T, usually game for such cultural attractions, wanted to take a nap instead, so we first detoured to one of the gallery’s two cafes for a restorative bit of cake.

He settled on a piece of linzertorte and an espresso. I was entranced by the idea of gurkenlimonada, a lemonade with cucumber. I also just like the word: “gurkenlimonade”. Tee hee.

And it was delicious. With a refreshing flavor that matched its sprightly green color (theirs was greener than mine was… still working on that…) it was just the thing to perk us up for an afternoon of gallery hopping. It’s quite a delicious cooler on its own, but makes for a fabulous end-of-summer cocktail with a slug of gin–a cucumber-heavy one like Hendrick’s would be just perfect to take the sizzle off of hot Indian Summer day.

One word of warning, though. Do this pretty close to a la minute. It tastes lovely, fresh, and cucumber-y when combined together, but as the  mixture sits it gets a little… pickle-y. Not a bad thing, really, but not as good as it is when freshly mixed.

Yield: ~8 servings

1 English (hothouse) cucumber
pinch salt
1/2 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
~ 1 c simple syrup
sparkling water
cucumber slices (garnish)
gin (optional)

Scrub the cucumber well and cut off the top and tail. Slice in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Chop into 1″ pieces and pop into the carafe of a blender with the salt. Add a splash of water just to get things started and blend till thoroughly pulverized. Pass the resulting liquid through a fine strainer, pressing on the pulp to get all the juice out.

In a  pitcher, combine the cucumber juice, lemon juice, and simple syrup to taste. Top with sparkling water, again to taste. Add the optional gin to the pitcher or add it to glasses individually if you prefer. Drink off and be refreshed.