Cucumber-Basil Spritzers

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This post was originally written in June 2011, after I got back from the first ever Eat, Write, Retreat Conference. I’m headed off to the conference again this weekend and with any luck I’ll come back with even just a fraction of the inspiration and energy that I did last time. The Cucumber-Basil Spritzers are one of my favorite summertime drinks – I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
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When I was in DC for Eat, Write, Retreat last month, one of my first stops was happy hour at Cuba Libre to catch up with some of my old friends. As instructed by the placard on the bar in front of us, Mary asked the bartender about their “new seasonal drinks.” We were rewarded with a cucumber-basil mojito, which was one of the most deliciously refreshing drinks that I’ve ever had. It didn’t take me long to order another.

I knew I wanted to recreate this drink at home, and thought that it would be perfect for our Memorial Day cookout. However, when Memorial Day rolled around it was so swelteringly hot that the mere thought of alcohol made me nauseous. I didn’t want to abandon the idea of a cucumber-basil drink though, so I reinvented the mojitos as a nonalcoholic spritzer. Despite the lack of rum, these spritzers taste surprisingly close to the drink that they were inspired by. The combination of cucumber, basil, lime, and bubbles instantly relaxes you, and is the perfect way to cool down on a hot day. I guarantee that we’ll be enjoying this drink all summer long.

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I didn’t want to post a real “recap” post , but Eat, Write, Retreat was so amazing that I can’t help but sharing a little. If you heard about any of the drama that happened at the other “conference that shall not be named” that was held the same weekend, there was none of that at EWR. At all. It was a great group of about 60 attendees, who were all there to learn, grow, and share. The conference had such a community atmosphere to it, and I came home with new friends, new skills, and tons of inspiration. I’ve been to a few other food blogging conferences (Foodbuzz and BlogHer) and, in my opinion, EWR was hands-down the best one. I can’t wait for next year!

Here are a few of the many lessons/inspirational tidbits that I took home with me. Many of which apply not only to blogging, but to life in general:

  • Don’t take shortcuts. Always try to make everything better.
  • Communicate. Share. Give.
  • When traveling, get off the beaten path and explore.
  • Don’t strive to be “the next so-and-so.” That’s already been done. Be original.
  • Do what you love, do what you love, do what you love. And always be authentic.
  • And perhaps most importantly: if your suitcase contains a 3-gallon ziplock bag of dry thyme, you WILL get a note from the TSA informing you that your bag was searched. Even if said bag also contains a griddle pan, a mandolin, and a ridiculous amount of other fantastic swag. (I’m also pretty sure they helped themselves to a few Goo Goo Clusters while they were searching. I can’t say that I blame them.)

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Cucumber-Basil Spritzers
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 2 Limes
  • ½ cup Water
  • ⅓ cup Sugar
  • 8 Basil Leaves
  • 1 liter (32 ounces) Club Soda
Preparation
  1. Peel and seed the cucumber. Add the cucumber and ¼ cup water to the bowl of a food processor. Process until the cucumber is liquefied.
  2. Make lime simple syrup by combining sugar, lime zest, and remaining water in a small saucepan. Heat until sugar has melted. Chill until ready to serve. (The cucumber puree and simple syrup will keep for several days in the refrigerator)
  3. To make the drink: place 2 basil leaves, juice from ½ a lime, and 1 Tbs of your simple syrup in the bottom of a glass. Use the back of a spoon to muddle the basil. Add 2 Tbs cucumber puree and top with 8 oz club soda. Stir gently to mix.
  4. Sit back, Relax, and Enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Calories: 79 Fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 19.5 Fiber: 0 Protein: 0.5

Comments

  1. I can’t thank you enough for this recipe! The timing couldn’t have been better. I am pregnant this summer and have been missing the refreshment of a gin and tonic on the really hot days. This will be the perfect replacement! I see this being a staple in our refrigerator all summer. It may even become my go-to summer drink after the baby comes.

  2. love this – i love basil in cool drinks in the summer. it’s so refreshing!

  3. I just had to laugh at that last tip! I’m always a bit wary when the TSA people see tons of weird cooking items and spices and herbs in my bag.

    These spritzers sound incredibly refreshing! Cucumbers just can’t be beat when it comes to drinks like this!

  4. This definitely sounds like the perfect warm weather refreshment! All this talk about all these blogger conferences makes me so jealous! One of these days, I’ll get around to attending one of them =)

  5. Hi, Lauren! I’m new to your blog. It’s so well written, with so many great recipes, that I cannot wait to try!! I had my first mojito this weekend, and am a big fan! Even though this recipe doesn’t have alcohol in it, since it was inspired by it, I am going to have to try this! =]

    xoxo,
    Juju

  6. Your blog is amazing! Your photos are gorgeous and so professional and your love for the food just beams from your post and recipes. So glad I found it! Following you now and will be back all the time. Hope your having a wonderful day!

  7. Hi Lauren,

    Thanks for both the delicious recipe and the kind words about Eat Write Retreat. We were thrilled to have you there and so pleased that the weekend turned out to be special for everyone involved.

    I am forwarding a link to this post to my husband, who is our resident mixologist. It sounds perfect for these blistering days (what will July and August feel like?). I can’t wait to try it with fresh basil from our garden!

    Best,
    Casey

  8. Love it and yes, I’m sensing a new trend too :) Basil is the new “black”!!! LOL

  9. Ah – I was wondering when we’d hear a TSA story from EWR! It was good to hear your thoughts on the conference as well.

  10. This is fabulous. I love all of the new drinks with basil, and have not seen this one. We have been having sweltering weather as well and this looks so refreshing and simple in the mason jars, nice touch. Perfect for my summer birthday party theme.

  11. Hi Lauren, thanks for submitting your photo to DMBLGiT July 2011. Wishing you good luck !

  12. Deanna Segrave-Daly says:

    These look amazing and I’m giddy to finally be attending my first EWR – look forward to meeting you there!

  13. kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts says:

    Lauren,
    I’m inspired! I have an infusion pitcher in the fridge, a Mother’s day present, currently filled with strawberries and lime. Since I’ve got a handful of basil leaves from the first CSA farm share also in the fridge, I’m thinking of making a basil-infused water too. Even though I’m not into mixed drinks (I’m real good at using a bottle opener to get to my beer, though) I’ve taken away an idea from this. Thanks!

  14. Natalie says:

    Yum these looks awesome! I see you’ll be attending the Big Summer Potluck this July. It will be my first time going and I’m looking forward to meeting you! xo

    • Lauren @ HealthyDelish says:

      Thanks! You’ll love BSP. This will be my third year there and it’s the one summer event that I refuse to miss. :)

  15. Will have to try this, thanks for posting the recipe.

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