Zero Proof: Cucumber Basil 'Gimlet'

[Photo: Christianne Winthrop]

My husband and I attended seven weddings over the summer of 2008. We attending eight weddings in 2009, and six last year. My Macy's card is about to go platinum and we have enough airmiles to fly first class to Fiji—if only there was a free weekend. So it wasn't really a surprise that the last few brunches I've attended have included several of my girlfriends saying "None for me, I'm expecting" when offered a mimosa. Just as one baby was born, another friend would announce her pregnancy at brunch. In a matter of a few months, I'd become the only one drinking before noon.

Rather than find new, single friends and endure another rash of weddings, I decided it best to develop a drink for us all. This faux gimlet's cucumber and basil flavor is refreshing and unexpected. Make the base in a pitcher for brunch, and pour into ice-filled highballs, topped off with sparkling water and garnished with thinly sliced cucumber rounds. It might feel more festive in a cocktail glass, as long as any toddlers at the table promise not to knock it over.

About the author: Christianne Winthrop is a freelance food writer, caterer and culinary instructor. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband Bob and their beta fish, Hercules.

Zero Proof: Cucumber Basil 'Gimlet'

About This Recipe

Active time:5 minutes
Total time:5 minutes
Special equipment:muddler, cocktail shaker, cocktail strainer


  • 2 inch piece of English cucmber, thinly sliced
  • 4 basil leaves
  • juice of one large lime
  • 1 tablespoon simple syrup
  • ice
  • sparkling water


  1. 1

    Place cucumber and basil in the cocktail shaker and gently muddle with either a cocktail muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon.

  2. 2

    Add lime juice, simple syrup and ice. Cover shaker and shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass or chilled cocktail glass and top up with sparkling water.


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