Maybe it started with the mint in the mojito. Maybe it's those wonderful drinks with lots of basil and ginger you find in Vietnamese restaurants or fusion cafes. Whatever the reason, when it comes to cocktails, it feels like an herbal moment.
What could be cooler than a cucumber martini? Why, an herbal cucumber martini. Take a handful of chervil from the farmers' market -- the flavor is as delicate as its leaf, almost like tarragon that's been sent to finishing school. Muddle it with cucumber in a mortar, and infuse it into gin with a splash of dry white vermouth, then strain it into a martini glass. How elegant! How sophisticated! It's light years away from those terribly sweet martini variations.
COOL CUCUMBER MARTINI
MAKES 1 SERVING
1 (2-inch) piece cucumber, peeled and chopped, plus
1 (4-inch) thin strip for garnish
2 tablespoons chervil leaves, plus sprig for garnish
1 / 2 teaspoon Key lime juice
3 ounces Bombay gin
1 / 2 teaspoon dry white vermouth
1 / 2 cup ice cubes
Muddle the cucumber, chervil leaves and lime juice together in a mortar.
Pour the mixture into a glass measuring cup or small pitcher and add the gin and vermouth. Allow to infuse for 5 minutes.
Add the ice cubes and stir until the drink is chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, pressing to extract any juices. Garnish with a sprig of chervil and a peeled cucumber strip on a bamboo skewer.
Per serving: 197 calories; 0 protein; 1 gram carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 0 fat; 0 saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 1 mg. sodium.
Donna Deane writes for the Los Angeles Times, which provided the recipe and analysis.