Every time one of my friends has a birthday I let them choose the kind of cake I will make for them. I am the baker in our crowd and even though I am very average my friends accept me and love my baking anyway. In fact they usually rave which is very sweet considering most of what I am making for them I am diving into for the first time and I often like to stray from recipes which leads to mixed results. At any rate, it has become a wonderful tradition that the birthday friend gets to choose their dessert pleasure and whatever it is (even mint chocolate chip ice cream cake which would be my own personal dessert nightmare), I’ll oblige. Lately I have done carrot cakes, german chocolate cakes, brownies, a yellow box cake (this is my picky beloved brother—he only likes yellow cake out of a box) and various cupcakes.
This past week we were celebrating another dear friend’s birthday and so I said to her: ‘You get to choose the cake, of course. Just let me know by Wednesday.’ To my surprise she said straight away, ‘I’m ready now. CHOCOLATE.’ She was not any more specific but she seemed to have a glimmer in her eye that meant she wanted the real deal. So, I went straight for what I had been dying to make for some time—Molly’s wedding cake (look for a more updated version in her book). It was very easy to make (I adjusted the recipe to have less sugar in it and that worked out just perfectly) and really very delicious.
But as I was making the cake I somehow didn’t feel satisfied with serving the usual dessert and wine pairing. Maybe it is because it’s the end of August and ‘back to school’ time and that makes me feel antsy for change? Maybe I’m trying to stretch out the summer cocktail season? I don’t know. Regardless I was convinced that I had better really wet people’s whistles too. I wanted to make a special cocktail—one that was not too sweet (I really dislike sweet cocktails) and that would go nicely and refreshingly with the rich chocolate cake and whipped cream. So I did some web research and inspiration hunting and in the end, here’s what I came upon…
I’ll call it …
You will need:
1 cup agave nectar
4 large cucumbers
12 fresh mint sprigs
Using these notes you’ll make about a dozen drinks in short tumbler glasses. Oh and if you’re not a drinker just take out the vodka and try some well-steeped lemon squeezer tea or perhaps some unsweetened cranberry juice or even just add more soda at the end.
: : :
The day before you’re going to serve the cocktails throw 1 cup of agave in with 1/4 cup of boiling water and 1 large cucumber peeled and sliced. Stir it up, cover it and put it in the fridge overnight. If you’re running late and don’t have an overnight, try to at least give it 8-10 hours of steeping.
When you’re ready to get your drink on prep your station—peel and slice up the cucumbers, cut the lemons in half, get your vodka, agave mixture and soda out and prep the shaker with some fresh ice. Take out two small tumbler glasses (you’ll make these drinks two at a time) and fill them with about 5-6 slices of cucumber and several cubes of ice.
Add a couple good glugs (or about two shots) of vodka to the shaker, one glug (or about one shot) of the agave syrup and the juice of one entire lemon all to the shaker. Give it a good shake! Feel free to add more of the agave syrup if you like your drink on the sweet side.
Pour the contents over the two glasses and add enough soda to top it off. Drop in a mint sprig and perhaps a small straw and serve it up!
Let Summer go on and on and on and on.