Cucumber Aloe Cooler

Cool, refreshing, and a little boozy, this simple cocktail was the perfect way to chill out after a long day.

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I’m always experimenting with new ingredients and my latest was this aloe-infused rum. I muddled fresh, peeled aloe leaf with the rum and let it sit for a couple hours. When I came back, I was so shocked to see that the aloe pulp had turned pink! A little googling later, I read that fresh aloe can turn pink or red and it can also revert back to clear again. Apparently it has something to do with temperature changes or oxidation, but fortunately it doesn’t make the aloe unsafe to drink. Strange!

In addition to turning pink, the infused rum mix became a thick, viscous gel, which I wasn’t really expecting. I had thought I would strain out the aloe when it was ready, but that wasn’t possible, it was like smooth aloe booze goo. I’m thinking this discovery will lead to some cool molecular gastronomy cocktails in the future!

The final cocktail, with a cold process cucumber syrup, was really delicious and fresh, the perfect post-workout reward...Not that I worked out. But just saying!

RECIPE:

  • 2 oz aloe-infused white rum*
  • 1 oz cucumber syrup**
  • 3 oz coconut water
  • Squeeze of lime

Add crushed ice to a Collins glass, add all ingredients, more crushed ice, and garnish with an aloe leaf. Best enjoyed with a straw, I recommend a stainless, reusable straw.

Glassware by Hospitality Glass

 Aloe-Infused Rum*

Pick up a large aloe leaf from the grocery store or specialty market. Wash the leaf thoroughly and cut off the green skin and spines with a sharp knife. For every 2 oz of rum, add 1/4 - 1/2 cup of chopped, peeled, fresh aloe. Using 1/2 cup will result in a very viscous end product, so use less if you want it less gel-like. Muddle the aloe in the rum, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours or up to a day. When ready to use, stir and remove any large visible aloe chucks (or leave them, if you prefer!) If the mixture turns pink, don’t be alarmed.

Cucumber Syrup** (Cold Process)

  • 100 g sugar (about 1/2 cup) 
  • 100 ml water (about 1/2 cup) 
  • A medium cucumber, washed and scrubbed

Boil the water with an electric kettle, microwave, or on the stovetop. Remove from heat, and pour over the sugar (in a large mug or small heat-safe mixing bowl). Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add chopped cucumber, including skin, and use a muddler to mash the fruit in the syrup. Cover and refrigerate, stirring periodically, for a few hours up to one day. Strain and enjoy!