Cu-cumba

Recipe by Evan Lipson

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz. Wódka Vodka
  • .5 oz. Chareau Aloe Liqueur
  • 1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
  • .75 oz. Passion Fruit Syrup (Small Hand Foods or B.G. Reynolds Preferred)
  • 1 oz. Ginger Beer (Fever Tree Preferred)

Preparation: Slice off the top inch of a chilled whole fresh cucumber and then peel the skin around the exposed edge of the cucumber with a vegetable peeler/corer. Core the cucumber with the opposing end of the vegetable peeler/corer. Situate the prepped cucumber on a metal tripod egg stand holder placed in a rocks glass. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker except ginger beer. Fill with ice cubes and shake vigorously until chilled. Add ginger beer and gently roll or stir to incorporate. Double-strain into prepped cucumber vessel. Garnish. Remove cucumber in its holder and double-strain remaining liquid into the rocks glass (serve as a sidecar). Garnish and serve with a straw.

Garnish: Paper Parasol

Glassware: Hollowed out cucumber situated/balanced in a metal tripod egg stand holder and a rocks glass

Cocktail Inspiration:

In the Fall of 2012, I migrated to Chattanooga Tennessee. A few months later, my co-conspirator Rick Weaver followed suit. During the first three wintry months Rick resided in Chattanooga, the house he occupied had a rat problem, broken central heating, and a roof gradually caving in over the kitchen sink. It was here that Rick and I would spend evenings in this collapsing tomb-like kitchen, working our way in chilly conditions through the many classic tropical cocktail recipes listed in Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s seminal “Remixed” and “Sippin’ Safari” cocktail books. After shaking and straining and “flash-blending”, and taking the first sip of the “nectar of the gods,” our gloomy disposition would lift, and the environment would suddenly transform.

One drink in particular that stood out in my memory from that period was Joe Scialom’s Cou-Cou-Comber. Here was this unusual Vodka-based tropical cocktail served in a hollowed out cucumber being held together by duct tape after a somewhat botched coring attempt. It amused us to no end how this rather comical and ostentatious drink seemed to perfectly compliment the comically precarious state of the setting. The Cu-cumba (deriving its name from the Jamaican pronunciation of the word “cucumber”) is my turbo-charged homage to that time, that drink, and to my dear friend Rick. The assertive quality of the Wódka vodka, with its solid rye backbone, stands up beautifully to the bold tropical flavors, and lends a wondrously pleasant weight to the overall mouthfeel.