This has to be one of my biggest sellers in the summer. People love the idea of gin, mint, and cucumber on ice with a dash of tonic, and this recipe mixes this idea up, making the cucumber the headliner for a change, not the gin. We love these on a buttermilk-fried chicken burger, or used to garnish the edge of a gin martini glass instead of an olive.
makes 4–5 x 10-ounce jar
1 Thai chili
1 lime, zest and juice
2 cups white wine vinegar
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1½ tsp sea salt
12–15 juniper berries (3 in each jar)
1–2 large cucumbers
8 baby round shallots
2–3 sprigs fresh mint
⅓–½ cup gin (13/4 tbsp per jar)
Finely chop the chili (and deseed if you like) and put in a medium, stainless steel saucepan with the lime zest and juice, vinegar, sugar, salt, and juniper berries. Bring to a gentle simmer, dissolving the sugar and infusing the flavors for around 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and leave to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.
Finely slice the cucumbers—a mandoline does this perfectly but you can slice them with a knife if you don’t have one or prefer thicker slices. Peel and finely slice the shallots Strip the mint leaves from the stalks.
Start by stacking layers of cucumber, shallot, and mint into warm, dry sterilized jars until the jars are half-full.
Add 1¾ tablespoons gin and 2 juniper berries (from the vinegar brine) to each jar and continue to stack, until the vegetables are about ⅓ inch below the rim.
Fill the jars with the vinegar brine, distributing the remaining spices (in the brine) evenly between them and gently pushing down on the contents to let the air bubbles out. Tap the jars gently on a hard surface to remove any more bubbles, add more brine if necessary to completely cover the vegetables, then seal.
Eat the next day if you like a crunch to your pickle, or keep sealed for up to 4 weeks in a cool, dark place to allow the flavors to marry.
Keeps for up to 6 months unopened. Once opened, refrigerate and eat within 4 weeks.
how to eat
These are sharp, boozy, and spicy.
Try with chicken, fish, or beef burgers. They are also great with smoked/steamed/baked salmon or trout or simply spice up your work lunch sandwich with a few
If you prefer these without a chili kick, deseed the chili for a milder flavour.