Why It Works
- Mocktails often lack the savory flavors contributed by booze; here cucumber fills in some of those notes.
- Rice wine vinegar adds tangy brightness to this drink, paired with fresh green apple juice for sweetness.
Cucumber and mint are common cocktail ingredients, but this one is a little more unusual thanks to the addition of delicate rice wine vinegar and shiso, a mint relative that's often used in Asian cuisines.
- For the Cucumber Vinegar:
- 1/2 cup sliced cucumber (peel on)
- 1 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
- For Each Drink:
- 2 shiso leaves, plus 1 extra for garnish
- 8 mint leaves
- 1/4 ounce simple syrup (see note)
- 3 ounces fresh Granny Smith apple juice (see note)
- 1 ounce Cucumber Vinegar
- 1/4 ounce fresh juice from 1 lime
For the Cucumber Vinegar: In a small bowl, combine cucumbers and rice wine vinegar. Let stand 5 minutes, then strain. Reserve Cucumber Vinegar for cocktails, and serve cucumber slices as a snack, if desired.
For Each Drink: Add shiso, mint, and simple syrup to a highball glass. Muddle, pressing gently, until mint fragrance is noticeable; do not tear or mash the leaves. Add apple juice, cucumber vinegar, and lime juice and fill glass with ice. Stir until well chilled, about 10 seconds. Garnish with shiso leaf and serve immediately.
juicer or blender, fine-mesh strainer, muddler,
A juicer is the easiest way to make fresh green apple juice. 1 whole juiced Granny Smith apple will provide enough juice for each cocktail. If you don't have access to a juicer, though, you can use a blender. Add two ounces water to a blender, then add 1 chopped unpeeled apple gradually to the blender. (As the apple blends, more liquid will be available to help the mixture blend smoothly.) Blend until uniform, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Use immediately.
To make simple syrup, combine 1 cup water with 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Cool before using. Simple syrup will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.