Cool, crisp, and refreshing, this cucumber-mint gimlet is destined to be your new go-to warm-weather drink!
I conquered more fears than I can count last week.
It started with a road trip to Chicago. We planned to leave on Wednesday but left a day early due to the weather. Impromptu plans like that tie my stomach in knots. But I got in the car and I did it anyway.
We stayed at Kyle’s sister’s house about an hour outside the city. We rode the train into Millennium Station on Thursday, and my palms were sweating the entire way. But I did it anyway.
Kyle worked for the entire day, so I had to spend about 9 hours in an unfamiliar city all by myself. Mind you, even being home alone for that long can send me spiraling into panic if I’m not careful. But I wanted to prove to myself that I could, so I plucked up my courage and I did it anyway.
I spent the whole day exploring the Loop, wandering in and out of coffee shops to work on blog posts. I ended the day by sitting at the bar at South Branch Tavern and Grille, all by my little self. I think the bartender might have felt bad for me, because she came by to check on me about 6,000 times even though I only had a beer. Little did she know, I was on top of the world. It feels amazing to conquer your fears and prove to yourself that you actually are bigger than everything you’re afraid of.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I have panic disorder. It’s no secret at this point; I try to be as open as possible about it so that others who struggle with mental illness might feel a little less alone. I haven’t gone into detail about what causes my anxiety, though, and I think it might be necessary for a bit of context here.
Long story short, I have health anxiety. 90% of my fears can be distilled down to a basic, primal fear of either death or vomiting. (Good topic for a food blog, Emily. Nice.) BUT WAIT! Stick with me here.
The point is, my brain fears the absolute worst at every turn, and it’s significantly worse when I’m alone. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I feel like I’m in danger because no one is around to protect me. There was a point earlier this year when I literally COULD NOT be alone without having a panic attack. Not my proudest moment.
So the fact that I was able to walk around Chicago, completely by myself, unencumbered by horrific existential thoughts, is huge. By the time I found myself sitting at that bar, I felt like I was on top of the world. And I really felt… like I deserved a drink. I got a beer then, but I wish I’d had a gimlet.
Today I encourage you to celebrate your small successes. Those little wins — checking off a to-do list item you’ve been putting off, finally waking up a little earlier like you told yourself you would, getting on the train even though you were terrified — are what keep us moving forward.
I’ve always told Kyle that my favorite part of doing anything that scares me is that moment afterwards when I can look at him, smile, and say the words, “I did it.” It’s a feeling unlike any other, and I’m here to push you towards it too. Go out and do something that scares you, even if it’s something that seems inconsequential.
And after you’re finished, you can mix up a drink, kick up your feet, and tell yourself, “I did it.” And you will breathe a sigh of relief and revel in the light and airy feeling of being stronger than you were the day before.
But enough about the scary stuff. Let’s talk about this here cucumber-mint gimlet.
I first had a gimlet at a very bougie farm-to-table restaurant called Ollie Food + Spirits right here in Ypsilanti. The original is just gin, lime juice, and simple syrup. Nothing crazy, but I’ll tell you what: this drink is strong and refreshing and perfectly balanced. It’s a drink that makes me want to throw around the word “nuance,” especially with the additions of cucumber and mint.
My version, of course, uses the latter add-ins, because we can’t do anything basic around here, no sir. It looks and sounds fancy, but it’s really pared down. Just muddle some cucumber, mint, and simple syrup in a glass. You can use the end of a wooden spoon if you don’t have a fancy muddlin’ stick.
Add in a bunch of ice, a shot of gin, and a healthy squeeze of lime, and shake it up! Strain it into a glass, because this drink is served neat. I strained it twice to get all the floaties out, but you don’t have to!
Just like that, with just a few simple ingredients, you’ve got a cocktail that’s worthy of celebrations both big and small. Go ahead and tally up your little victories, friends, because each one is something to be proud of. Love y’all. Drink up.Print
This simple, refreshing cocktail uses just a few ingredients and comes together in minutes! Make it for one or for a crowd; it’s guaranteed to be the highlight of any celebration.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 cocktail 1x
- Category: Drinks
- 1 2-inch segment cucumber, (peeled, quartered and diced)
- 4–5 mint leaves
- 1 1/2 oz gin
- 1 lime, (juiced)
- 1/2 oz simple syrup*
- Optional: More mint leaves and cucumber slices, (for garnish)
- Combine cucumber, mint leaves, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Muddle until the cucumber is softened.
- Fill the shaker with ice and pour over the gin and lime juice. Shake for 30 seconds, or until the shaker is frosty and completely chilled.
- Strain into a coupé glass if you want to look fancy, but any glass will do in a pinch. Garnish with more mint and cucumber slices if you’d like, and drink up!
*You can sub agave nectar if you don’t feel like making simple syrup, but I highly suggest just making a batch to keep in the fridge, because a cup of sugar is a whole hell of a lot less expensive than a bottle of agave nectar.