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Something more exciting

I have a bad case of Book Brain. Oh, people, is it ever bad. It doesn’t matter what I appear to be doing - eating, sleeping, bathing, talking, writing this sentence - because I am not really doing it. I am thinking about how to revise my manuscript. I am useless. Also, I am boring. Last week, Brandon and I had an argument over vanilla extract. When you argue with your husband over baking ingredients, you are a very boring person. This week, if we argue, I hope it’s over something more exciting, like bank robbery, or politics, or lace underwear, or who gets the last drop of gin from the cocktail shaker.

On Saturday, in an effort to combat Book Brain and feel less boring, I decided that we should have a dinner party. So I called our friends John and Olaiya, who kindly acquiesced, and we threw together a menu. John and Olaiya brought olives and beer, and Brandon and I made this old salad, which never really gets old, and this old pasta, which also never gets old, and I baked the chocolate bundt cake from Sunday Suppers at Lucques, which got old very quickly, because it wasn’t that great. But the best part, aside from distracting myself for a few hours with some of my favorite people, was the aforementioned cocktail shaker and the cocktail it contained.

I am not ordinarily much of a mixed-drinks person. I am mainly a wine, beer, and occasional gin-and-tonic kind of girl. But I have found my Summer Drink of 2008, and it is called a Gordon’s Cup. It starts with lime and cucumber, which are muddled together into a pale green pulpy mess that smells like Mexico and the beach and a hammock in the shade, and then you add gin, a smidge of simple syrup, and some ice, and you shake the whole thing until it’s nice and cold. And then, blessed be, you get to drink it. I found the recipe a couple of months ago, in the April issue of Bon Appétit, but until this past weekend, the weather didn’t feel quite warm enough to warrant bringing the gin out of the cabinet. However, now that it has come out, I don’t think it is ever going back in, because I need more Gordon’s Cups. But only after my revisions are done. Because I am boring.

Gordon’s Cup
Adapted from Bon Appétit, April 2008

We used Tanqueray gin for this drink – it’s our usual brand – but Plymouth would also be very nice. We served it in wide-mouth champagne glasses, but you could also use a rocks glass, which is what the original recipe recommends. Oh, and before you start, note that the quantities listed below make only one serving. You can scale them up easily, though.

To make the simple syrup called for below, combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan, and stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat, and boil for 1 minute. Cool the syrup to room temperature; then store it in the fridge indefinitely. (Or, if you cannot be bothered to make simple syrup, you can use superfine sugar to taste.)

2/3 of a small lime, cut into 6 wedges
2 (½-inch-thick) rounds of peeled cucumber
¼ cup gin
1 to 1 ½ Tbsp. simple syrup
Pinch of sea salt

Place the lime and the cucumber in a cocktail shaker, and mash them with a muddler or wooden spoon until the lime is juiced and the cucumber is pulpy. Add the gin, 1 Tbsp. simple syrup, and 1 cup ice. Cover, and shake vigorously three times. (At this point, I recommend tasting a little bit: you might want a splash more gin, or a bit more simple syrup.) Pour the contents of the shaker into a glass – with or without some ice, as you see fit. Sprinkle with salt.

Note: To garnish this, you could use a wedge of lime or a thin sliver of cucumber. Brandon, however, wants to try a sprig of mint or cilantro next time.

Yield: 1 serving


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I made this over the weekend using Hendricks gin - I'm sure it was delicious with Tanqueray, but with Hendricks, believe me, it's divine. It's more of an herby gin, with a slight bit of citrus. It's known as the gin you should garnish with cucumber, instead of lime.

5:08 PM, May 27, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can also muddle fresh mint in the mix, and let it all steep in teh gin for a while. Then, strain and top with seltzer.

5:12 PM, May 27, 2008  
Anonymous Lindsay said...

Yummy! That sounds so refreshing! Have you tried a Pimm's Cup? It sounds similar to this, my mom ordered one on Mother's Day at Rouxan, an amazing Cajun restaurant here in Portland - you must try on your next trip! Skip the Julep and go for a Pimm's Cup, it's slightly herbal, fruity and simply delicious!
Congrats on the book, I can't wait to buy it!

5:17 PM, May 27, 2008  
Blogger jOoLz said...

anonymous the first needs to get out of my head! i was thinking hendricks as soon as i saw the cocktail had cucumber in it.

i bet it is divine.

5:40 PM, May 27, 2008  
Blogger lotta said...

I've been visiting your blog for a while and I love your way of writing, the recipes, and now I realized that we have the same drinking habits. Gin and tonic is about as adventurous as it gets... I'll definitely try this combination. It sounds delicious and refreshing.

5:41 PM, May 27, 2008  
Anonymous KatyBelle said...


I love gin, and I'm always looking for a good gin cocktail!

6:19 PM, May 27, 2008  
Anonymous Meryl said...

Hi Molly,

I just wanted to tell you how much I've loved your column in Bon Appetit! So far, I've made every recipe you've published and I can't get enough!! I look forward to reading what you'll come up with next!

Thanks for the recipes :-)

6:29 PM, May 27, 2008  
Blogger lucy. said...

Wow, that cocktail sounds fantastic! I'm a big fan of the gin and will make this very soon indeed.
With the warmer weather here I'm ready to replace my gin dirty martini with a refreshing cocktail. Thank for the inspiration and best of luck on your book.

6:43 PM, May 27, 2008  
Blogger hannah said...

it just so happens that i made some simple syrup last weekend... and i have cucumber. hmmm, sounds like i need to pick up some gin.

revisions!!?? not boring! well, maybe a bit.

7:38 PM, May 27, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i read about this site in bon apetite - i'm sorry, its boring.

7:56 PM, May 27, 2008  
Blogger Renee said...

Molly, I love that you love gin!! Cucumber and gin - it sounds so refreshing! Thanks for the writing. I love to read what you have cooking next!

8:38 PM, May 27, 2008  
Blogger Michelle said...

I've been looking for a new summertime drink. Guess I'll be picking up some gin this weekend.

11:24 PM, May 27, 2008  
Blogger Emily said...

Best of luck with those revisions. You can do it and make it great, I'm certain of that. Just- I'm sure you know this and keep it in mind, anyway, but just try to take breaks and get your mind off it sometimes. Perhaps this is a good excuse to go get a massage. :)

11:37 PM, May 27, 2008  
Blogger Alice Q. said...

You're a crackup! And I'm quite certain you're not boring. I will definitely have to try these cocktails when the weather heats up. I think the cucumber cocktail thing is going to be big when it's 100 degrees outside. I also made that cake btw - and I loved the sound of it, but thought it wasn't as good as it should have been. I made a couple of modifications though, so I thought it might be my fault. I did candy some kumquats and glaze it with syrup, which helped!

I'm loving your tag posts on flickr, but when are you going to start Twittering??? ;-)

12:59 AM, May 28, 2008  
Blogger Gemma said...

Mmmmmm - that sounds really good and really refreshing, must try. I have tanqueray, I have cucumber, I'm halfway there already but it is 10am and I'm at work so not just yet!

2:00 AM, May 28, 2008  
Blogger Victoria said...

My own house gin is Plymouth, the gin of Winston Churchill. Someone once told me I shouldn't, but I keep it in the freezer. I use it to make 'tinis, gibsons, gimlets, and even bloody marys. But, as your first commenter mentioned, my first thought when reading this recipe was it would probably be good with Hendricks. However, I may never know because my Plymouth and I shall not be parted. I'm trying this tonight! Good luck with the book.

3:41 AM, May 28, 2008  
Blogger Aran said...

Molly, I doubt you are boring... maybe focused, obsessed, driven about your book, but not boring. When someone takes photos like that, they are not boring. That is just beautiful. I can't wait for your book. It is in my shopping bag at Amazon and it says estimated shipping date April 2009. That's far away...

4:45 AM, May 28, 2008  
Blogger Katie said...

YUM! Always looking for a good new drink and I'm so a gin person, this is totally up my ally. I'm going to have to try this soon. Thanks!

4:45 AM, May 28, 2008  
Blogger sheri said...

my drinking habits are the same as yours, beer, occassionally wine, and definitely gin and tonics. but i recently burnt myself out on beer on my two week honduras vacation. now i am so excited to have something new to add to my repetoire! thanks for the recipe!

6:26 AM, May 28, 2008  
Anonymous Rachel said...

One track mind can be so exhausting. I hope you are able to relax a bit this week. And, I am not normally a gin drinker, but this has me intriqued...I think I know what our vacation drink is going to be next week!

6:56 AM, May 28, 2008  
Anonymous rebekka said...

Just wanted to tell you that I LOVED your jam article in Bon Appetite, and I can't wait to try out the recipe. I've got my mind on strawberry-basil jam, so I may see if subbing strawberries for the berries you recommended works ok. Not sure if I need to tweak the sugar or not, but...anyway, I'm excited!

7:04 AM, May 28, 2008  
Blogger Rosiecat said...

It's interesting to me how the comments section of Orangette is subtly changing as your star continues to rise, Molly. For example, today we have an Anonymous who declares Orangette "boring." I beg to differ! I actually think Orangette is about ten times better than your Bon Appetit columns. There's something about the blog, the freedom from editorial restrictions and page limits as well as the links to cool recipes, photos, and people, that makes the blog so much more ALIVE to me. I really feel like your blog showcases the best of your writing. Three cheers for Orangette!

10:31 AM, May 28, 2008  
Blogger The Bitter Foodie said...

I saw this recipe - so glad I got a realtime review before trying it.I love summer drinks!

Do you have any recipes using dry white wine??

P.S. I'm boring too. :(

11:15 AM, May 28, 2008  
Anonymous EB said...

Next to the mint julep this is my favorite drink! I'm so glad you've discovered it. Isn't it like summer in a glass? It's brilliant. And Molly... you are of all things... not boring. At least not to us :)
It's not like you're hearing crickets here in your comment section now are you?

11:52 AM, May 28, 2008  
Blogger Sylvie said...

Mmmhhh mmmhhhh, gin is one of my favourite liquors and this sounds just wonderful and refreshing. Will have to give it a go. My favourite gin is Bombay Saphire.

11:54 AM, May 28, 2008  
Blogger Flutephobia said...

This sounds wonderful. I'd love to try it with Hendrick's. I'll add to my summer drink list, which now consists of 2 drinks: Campari and soda and this.

1:18 PM, May 28, 2008  
Anonymous Dana McCauley said...

Being married to another chef we argue about pantry items all the time. Our last pantry focused tiff was about using fleur de sel inappropriately.

As for book brain, I can relate to that problem, too. Manuscripts are like children, they cause you a lot of anxiety and they never turn out exactly like you imagined the would.

Good luck, enjoy cocktail hour and remember that life has a life of it's own and always works itself out.

1:23 PM, May 28, 2008  
Anonymous Rachel said...

Ooh! I will try a Gordon's Cup - I am currently obsessed with refreshing citrusy beverages that aren't too sweet. And I am always searching for the perfect one when out for a drink but they come close but no cigar for one reason or another. The Orbit Room on Market St. in SF (for any Bay Area people, or when you visit, Molly) is a great place to get a freshly muddled cocktail. They have an awesome drink with fresh cilantro muddled with ginger, lime and tequila. Light and great. I also had a great drink with campari and whisky (don't be scared- I know lotsa people hate Campari!), fresh grapefruit and bergamot syrup. It wasn't bitter at all.

2:17 PM, May 28, 2008  
Anonymous Caroline said...

This is my kind of beverage! Love cucumber martinis.... and love lime. yumm. Good luck with the book writing!

3:04 PM, May 28, 2008  
Blogger Brudet i Palenta said...

I am not a gin lover... so I made it with vodka, and it is soooo good. And for my friend who is not a gin or vodka lover I made it with some yummi portorican rum. Still delicious.

3:54 PM, May 28, 2008  
Blogger Erin said...

We have been crazy for this drink, since we first saw it in Bon Apetit. We have fixed it with Tanqueray & with Aviator Gin. Both are lovely. And, since we have a lemon tree, we often drink this with lemon, instead of lime. Different, but equally delicious.

9:21 PM, May 28, 2008  
Blogger Who Has Time To Cook? said...

Great site. I especially love your photography. You have a real talent.
-- Jean

6:54 AM, May 29, 2008  
Blogger Lydia said...

i like your picture of the top of the wine bottle and the limes! it took me a while to figure out what is was,...it looked like a really large olive! ;)

10:46 AM, May 29, 2008  
Blogger babyjenks said...

hendricks is our favorite too. we used to drink tanqueray, but the last time we bought gin had to spring for the hendricks. i'm excited to try that cocktail, it sounds amazing!

and thank you for the braised onion recipe, we made it last week (with gluten free pasta for the gf hubby)and it was delicious!

12:21 PM, May 29, 2008  
Anonymous michelle @ TNS said...

i've always thought i didn't like gin, but this sounds gooood. maybe i've just been drinking shitting gin, which is entirely possible.

12:25 PM, May 29, 2008  
Anonymous Hillary said...

It's no wonder you like this drink if you're an occasional gin and tonic kind of girl. I am too, and Tanqueray is my favorite brand of gin too! The lime cucumber mixture sounds a-ma-zing.

2:34 PM, May 29, 2008  
Blogger Jackie said...

That sounds positively delicious. I have been looking for a new spin to my g&t. Thanks!

2:58 PM, May 29, 2008  
Blogger cindy* said...

i am usually a vodka/tonic kind of girl, but this may sway me.

ps...i love your blog.

8:33 PM, May 29, 2008  
Blogger Tina said...

You have a wonderful blog! I am a big fan!

12:47 PM, May 30, 2008  
Blogger Joy of Cooking said...

I have some simple syrup in the fridge and will grab some gin and give this a try tonight! thanks. It may have to replace my favorite summer drink: campari and soda. I wonder if you're a fan? thanks for the jam recipe in current b.app. I will try it as soon as I get to pick fresh blackberries this summer...

12:58 PM, May 30, 2008  
Blogger ahmad wiyono said...

nice blog you have!....keep up good work...

7:20 PM, May 30, 2008  
Blogger Cinemon Girl said...

Can't wait to make this tonight- sounds fabulous! Love your blog, it has really inspired me.

8:15 AM, May 31, 2008  
Blogger mrs moon said...

Yum! Roll on 10pm when I finish work and will definitely be heading home for a gordons cup! I love your description of the smell, so inticing.

AND on another note, I LOVE your blog, since a friend introduced me to the 'to brandon, with nutmeg' muffins I've been hooked.


11:28 AM, May 31, 2008  
Blogger Ann said...

Oh, Molly! Do not despair, my dear! The creative process is such a...process...and how dare it? The ebb and flow - but it's the ebb that can really just slay one, yes? That incalculable moving target that is the creative process - I can only imagine the effort you're pouring out and continually pouring out during Book Brain. The brilliance will come, as it always does with all things Orangette. :)

5:05 PM, May 31, 2008  
Anonymous The Jew & The Carrot said...

Since the weather got warm here in Brooklyn, I've been craving shmushed watermelon and vodka (and even indulged once at a local bar!) - but this sounds even more refreshing.

8:33 PM, June 01, 2008  
Blogger Camden said...

Dear Molly,

I'm absolutely over the moon in love, head-over-heels you might say, with your blog; you bring simple food to life with your well-chosen words and elegant pictures. One of my favorite posts, or series of posts, was describing your wedding, and I have to say that I wish you and Brandon all the best in your life together. I was reading from the gathered works of M.F.K. Fisher and in one of her short stories she cited this quote from Richardson Wright that I knew I should share with you from the moment I read it, and so here goes: "I am convinced that a man and wife with congenial appetites and a knowledge of foods and cooking have the basis for lasting happiness".

I hope you get the chance to read this. May your love of food and love of love always bring you happiness.

11:24 PM, June 01, 2008  
Blogger msb said...

I usually stick with mint julep when the temp. goes into the triple digits and stays there (for three months here in Tucson), but this sounds like a good way to branch out!

Your photography is beautiful... would you mind sharing why you switched to polaroids?

3:02 AM, June 02, 2008  
Anonymous Amy said...

I tried this drink as well when I saw it in BA; it's so refreshing!

7:17 AM, June 02, 2008  
Blogger Molly said...

Good lord. Did I not reply to a single comment last week? I am the worst. I think I fell into a hole or something. And I am not yet sure that I have reemerged. But anyway, a couple of quick replies, because you guys are so good to me:

To all who suggested Hendricks, thank you! I really, really need to try that stuff. It's next on my list.

Rebekka, that jam recipe works beautifully with strawberries. I've done it many, many times. In place of the berries, just use two pounds of strawberries, and otherwise, follow the directions as written.

Joy of Cooking, I'm not sure how I feel about Campari. I've only had it in a Negroni - one of my mother's favorite drinks - and I didn't like that at all. But I should maybe try it on its own, huh? With soda?

Camden, that is the loveliest, loveliest quote! Thank you so much for sharing it with me.

And to all who asked about or commented on my Polaroids, thank you! I didn't mean to switch over to Polaroid entirely here; it just sort of happened. Many years ago, my dad gave me his old SX-70, and I pulled it out a couple of months ago to try playing with it, only to find that it was broken. I took it to a camera shop to have it looked at, and instead of having it fixed - too expensive for my blood - I bought a cheapo Polaroid Spectra instead. And I fell head-over-heels in love. (I also bought a Pentax K1000 film camera, which I have been loving too. Hopefully I'll be posting some photos from it here soon.) I absolutely adore the look of film and the way it captures light and color. And I love the element of chance that comes with it, too - that feeling of anticipation as I wait to see if my shot turned out. I have hardly touched my digital camera since I started using film! The poor thing looks kind of lonely. I have no doubt that I'll get back to using it, but as long as my supply of Polaroid film holds out, that's what I'll reach for first.

11:37 AM, June 02, 2008  
Anonymous Tamami said...

hi. my first time posting a comment here.
mmm... love gin. And as for your polaroid photography, I absolutely love it. It makes me go get one too...(if i had the money that is!)

3:53 AM, June 04, 2008  
Blogger Island Girls said...

Your blog is great! We are big fans of Tanqueray but sounds like we'll have to taste test Hendricks. Thanks for the fabulous recipe ... can't wait to try it out.

Your blog is great... wait... did we say that already! HMMFH

2:58 PM, June 07, 2008  
Blogger amisha said...

a fellow gin-drinker... hurrah! this sounds like the epitome of summertime refreshment. xo

7:48 PM, June 08, 2008  
Blogger Lisa said...


I may never drink another things again. O sweet, sweet summer.

8:21 PM, June 11, 2008  
Blogger FJK said...

I haven't tried Gordon's cup yet, but it reads like something I'd like.
Reminds me of a Pimm's Cup, which if I remember correctly needed a special kind of gin called Pimm's Cup which I think had a spice and fruit flavoring ... I haven't had it in years, though. This seems much lighter in taste.

11:18 PM, June 18, 2008  

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