We wanted to mix up something festive for Fourth of July weekend. It had to be red, so it would go with our decorations. It had to be refreshing and summery. And, in the spirit of celebrating America, it had to use something that celebrated an independent food producer.
The result was a riff on the Cucumber Cape Codder, a recipe we had clipped a couple years ago from Martha Stewart Living. It uses cucumber simple syrup to sweeten up and add dimension to a classic vodka and cranberry highball.
But our version strays in two delicious ways. First, we chose super-deluxe cranberry juice from Vincent Family farm in Bandon, Oregon (look for it at places like Whole Foods and New Seasons). Because the cranberries are allowed to ripen until they’re deep red all the way through, they develop a rich and intense flavor that’s like Ocean Spray all grown up. And we added some sparkle with Cucumber Dry Soda (found at Zupan’s). Sparkling water just seemed to dilute the mix, but the not-too-sweet cucumber soda doubled up on the drink’s cool and breezy flavor and added a festive fizz.
For the kids, we mixed up a simple mocktail of 3 parts sparkling apple cider, to 1 part cranberry juice. Then we added a squeeze of lime to each glass and a fun garnish of raspberries and blueberries.
Ruby red drinks in hand, we raised a toast to friends, family, and our country, where anything is possible.
Makes 1 cocktail
If serving a crowd, make a big batch of the vodka mixture in a pitcher and refrigerate until the party. Then set out the pitcher, a bucket of ice and the chilled sodas, and let everyone mix their own.
2 ounces Cucumber Simple Syrup (see below)
1 ounce Vincent Family Cranberry Juice With Palm Sugar
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1 1/2 ounces vodka
4 ounces Cucumber Dry Soda
Garnish: cucumber slices or lime wedges
Fill a Collins glass, 3/4 full with ice. Add the simple syrup, cranberry juice, lime juice and vodka. Stir to combine. Top with soda and garnish.
Cucumber Simple Syrup: In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup water, 1 cup granulated sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. When sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and stir in 1 peeled and grated cucumber. Allow to sit until cooled to room temperature. Strain out the solids.