My current work schedule has my week ending on Mondays. This means, while everyone else is just starting their work week, I’m winding down and getting ready for the weekend. More often than not, I wind down with a delicious martini. It also helps that I call it “Martini Monday” so it’s a bit more fitting that way too.
Each Monday, I try a different spin on my martini. However, I always use Hendrick’s Gin. I have met so many people who don’t like gin because they claim it reminds them of Pine-Sol. You can blame the Juniper Berry for that. But wouldn’t you rather smell fresh than like booze? Maybe it’s just me. Well, I never let that stop me from drinking gin. I never really had a favorite kind, though. That was until I discovered Hendrick’s Gin. A glorious blend of cucumber and rose. It’s refreshing, it’s crisp and tastes great over ice with a wedge of lime and slice of cucumber.
Back to the experimenting. I first started making my martini with just Hendrick’s and dry vermouth. Then, I tried adding in a dash of grapefruit bitters. All were delicious. But I still hadn’t found “the one” just yet. That’s when I decided to cut back on the vermouth a tad and add in some St. Germain. This lovely liqueur, if you don’t know what it is, is made from Elderflowers. If you don’t know what those are, that’s fine. All you really need to know is that St. Germain tastes like heaven. The smell alone will drift you off into a field on a mountain top in Austria where you’ll start belting out how the hills are alive. It’s springtime in a bottle (a gorgeous bottle, too). But back in reality, if I had to describe the actual taste of St. Germain (which I do, since I’m telling you), is that it’s a floral citrus flavor. I get hints of grapefruit. It’s just lovely. And it pairs AMAZINGLY well with Hendrick’s Gin.
So I started adding in a drop or two of St. Germain, and it was splendid. It was nearly there. But not perfect yet. That was until last night, whilst watching House of Cards. I filled the shaker up with ice, topped it with the gin, St. Germain and vermouth. I stared at my skewered slices of cucumber waiting to be plopped into my martini glass. A switch clicked on in my head. I cut off a chunk of cucumber, scraped the insides into the shaker and crushed up the remains and dropped them in too. The top of the shaker was smacked on and a few vigorous seconds later, I strained it into my glass, the cucumber giving a pale greenish hue to the clear liquid. Filled right to the rim, I knew that there was no way I could make it to the couch without spilling. So I bent down to drink enough to stop any elixir from leaping out of the glass and hitting the floor (a crime against great liquor).
That cautionary sip was marvelous. This was it! This was “the one!” The added bonus of the invigorating cucumber made the Hendrick’s the star. It rounded out the sweetness of the St. Germain and the vermouth lingered long enough for the classic martini flavor. It was simply perfect. So my gift to the world for the next Martini Monday (or Friday) is this refreshing Hendrick’s Martini (with a splash of St. Germain) recipe.
One special note, you’ll notice that this martini is shaken. Traditionally, a martini should be stirred. This is because you don’t want to cloud it up with water and little bits of ice. But in this case, you want the ice cubes to pulverize the bits of cucumber so they can release all their juices and flavor into the magical mixture. If you decided to leave out the cucumber, then by all means, go ahead and stir!
BONUS: Slap your gin soaked cucumber garnish over your eyes for delicious revitalization. (I don’t know actually know if this works and in all honesty, your face would probably get all sticky, but it’s fun to think about, maybe…)
And if anyone asks, because you’re throwing in cucumbers, this counts as a salad. A healthy salad. Right?