Cucumber adds a crisp, refreshing note to the classic Gin Fizz, along with basil, mint, and elderflower liqueur for a botanical twist. This is the perfect classy cocktail for warm evenings - brightly-flavored, cold, and bubbly, and neither overly strong nor overly sweet.
Unlike a straightforward margarita or mojito, this gin cocktail is one of those recipes that's truly hard to give a proper name. It's a cucumber gin fizz, but it's also an elderflower gin fizz, and you could definitely make an argument for calling it a Tom Collins as well. But it's really not as simple as any of those names might imply - there's mint and basil in the mix too. Although it may sound like there's a lot happening in one drink, one sip will make you understand that these flavors are clearly meant to be together.
This is the kind of cocktail you'd expect to find at an upscale bar - and that's precisely where I found the inspiration for it. The ingredients are somewhat unconventional, the flavor is unlike any specific cocktail you've probably ever had before, the presentation is (of course) classy, and together it all just magically works.
What is a Gin Fizz?
So let's break down some names here, shall we? A Gin Fizz is a cocktail made with gin, lemon juice, simple syrup (or another sweetener), and club soda. It's typically made in a cocktail shaker, shaken with ice, and strained into a highball glass. The shaking action combined with the club soda makes it fizzy, hence the name Gin Fizz.
This recipe basically checks off all of those boxes, but with a bit of a twist. Instead of simple syrup, it uses elderflower liqueur, and instead of club soda, it uses cucumber soda. It is shaken with ice, but it's also served over ice, so we're breaking the rules here a little bit.
Gin Fizz vs Tom Collins
Here comes the confusing part; differentiating a Gin Fizz from a Tom Collins. Both drinks contain the same ingredients, but the common consensus is that a Tom Collins is assembled directly in a serving glass filled with ice (no shaking involved), making it not quite as fizzy. A Tom Collins is also typically served in a larger glass than a Gin Fizz (12-16 oz vs 8 oz).
That being said, most sources note that these days the two names are used fairly interchangeably. Like a Tom Collins, this drink is served over ice in a 12 oz glass, so in this case either name is (at least partially!) correct.
You'll need three basic tools to make this drink - all of which are good essentials to have on hand for any level of a home bar setup:
- cocktail shaker
You can even combine the first two items in the list by using a shaker with a built-in strainer.
Also nice to have, but technically not required:
- jigger (great for measuring standard, small amounts of liquid for cocktails)
- citrus squeezer (helps to get the most juice out of your citrus as possible)
- freshly-squeezed lemon juice (or lime if you want to switch things up)
- sliced cucumber
- spearmint & basil leaves
- elderflower liqueur (This contributes most of the sweetness to the drink instead of using simple syrup. Saint Germain is arguably the most common and widely available brand, but I've also used Thatcher's.)
- dry cucumber soda (I like the DRY Soda brand, which is easy to find in most grocery stores.)
- ice (of course)
Make this gin fizz
Start out by combining the lemon/lime juice, sliced cucumber, and mint/basil leaves in a cocktail shaker. Muddle them together, and then add the gin, elderflower liqueur, and ice. Shake well.
Pour the cocktail over ice in a highball glass, and top with cucumber soda. If you're feeling fancy (and I highly encourage it), garnish with a cucumber ribbon, a sprig of mint or basil, a lemon wedge, or any combination of the three.
If summer called for a drink, it would be this cucumber gin fizz; it's bright, crisp, bubbly, and refreshing. The flavor is a mix of cool, clean cucumber and mint, bold and vibrant lemon and basil, and delicately sweet, floral elderflower and gin. Together they make a drink that's fresh and light, botanically-leaning, and easy-sipping.
While you can really use any type of gin to make this cocktail, my go-tos for both flavor and accessibility are Bombay Sapphire and Tanqueray. That being said, any gin with a more pronounced botanical flavor would lend itself well to the herbs and citrus in this recipe.
Slice the ends off of a cucumber, and then slice the cucumber in half, length-wise. You can either use a Y-Peeler or a paring knife to cut a thin strip of cucumber. Holding one end of the strip in each hand, twist the strip in opposite directions to form a ribbon shape, and then carefully insert the cucumber ribbon into your (empty) serving glass.
More cocktail recipes
While you've got your shaker out, here are a few more cocktail recipes you can try!
Cucumber Gin Fizz
Cucumber adds a crisp, refreshing note to the classic Gin Fizz, along with basil, mint, and elderflower liqueur for a botanical twist. It may look fancy, but it's easy to make!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 cocktail 1x
- Category: beverages
- Method: shaker
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
- ¾ ounce freshly-squeezed lemon or lime juice*
- 3 slices cucumber
- 7 spearmint leaves
- 4 basil leaves
- 2 ounces gin
- 1 ½ ounces elderflower liqueur
- 3 ounces dry cucumber soda
- optional garnishes (cucumber ribbon, lemon/lime wedge, mint or basil sprig)
- Combine ingredients in shaker: Combine lemon/lime juice, cucumber slices, mint, and basil in a cocktail shaker and muddle together. Add gin and elderflower liqeuer. Fill shaker with ice and shake well.
- Strain and serve: Strain mixture into a highball glass filled with ice (and cucumber ribbon, if using) and top off with cucumber soda. Garnish as desired and serve immediately.
*Lemon and lime will each add their own subtle twist to the flavor of this cocktail. Lemon is the more traditional choice for a Gin Fizz, but both work well here. Feel free to go with your preference or what you have on hand.
Keywords: cucumber gin fizz, elderflower gin fizz, gin fizz, Tom Collins, elderflower gin cocktail, cucumber gin cocktail
This is an updated version of a post that originally appeared on Bright-Eyed Baker in 2015. Updates include new text and photos; the recipe is unchanged!