At last we have weather worthy of drinking a “cooler”. For a group of six thirsty drinkers, start out with 1 cup of mint leaves, packed with no stems. You’ll also need 3 japanese cucumbers preferably from Mair Farm-Taki at the Farmers Market. Regular or english cukes will also work but these japanese cucumbers are definitely a step above the others.
Rinse 3 limes, slice thinly and place in a pitcher. Squeeze the juice from 3 more limes and add to the pitcher along with the mint leaves and 2 sliced cucumbers. Then add 1/2 cup sugar and try to work up a sweat by muddling all the ingredients together.
Add 2 cups gin or vodka (if you are trying to keep it local, we suggest Aviation Gin, distilled in Portland). Place in the fridge and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
Peel the remaining cuke and cut lengthwise into spears to use for garnish.
Fill 6 glasses with ice, strain the mixture from the pitcher into each glass. If you’d like, top off with sparkling water. Garnish with a cucumber spear and a sprig of mint, sit back and sip away.
A version of this recipe was a winner in the 2006 NYTimes summer cocktail contest. It was adapted from Adam Frank.