There’s a double dose of wine in this cucumber white wine fizz, thanks to the Sauvignon Blanc base and the addition of sparkling wine. The sparkling wine brings the bubbles and more flavor. In a classic wine spritzer, the bubbles are usually provided by club soda or a flavored soda.
Sauvignon blanc comes from grapes grown originally in the south of France, and are now grown in wine regions around the world. Fumé Blanc, which is primarily a California concoction, can also be used. Sauvignon Blanc and Fumée Blanc both have herbal overtones which is why they play nicely with the cucumber and mint in this drink.
Choosing a sparkling wine
Buy a sparkling wine that you like but don’t go overboard on price and likewise don’t buy the cheapest stuff you can find. Once you start to mix in sugar, another wine, cucumber water, etc., you start to cover the taste of the sparkler so why use a $50 Champagne? Still, that dirt-cheap champagne might be bitter. You can also use cava, Prosecco or a California sparkler. I used a $12 Italian Prosecco for my drink, and it tasted wonderful. Lots of fruity notes in both the Sauvignon Blanc and the Prosecco. (Some Sauvignon Blancs can be grassy, but mine was not.)
When I am at a restaurant with an interesting cocktail menu, I look for something with gin and cucumber. I love that combination, which is why this drink appeals to me. (Plus, I do like bubbles tickling my nose.) Cucumber is so aromatic and refreshing that its essence lends itself nicely to cocktails.
I made almost half a cup of cucumber water from one medium cuke, enough for two drinks. That’s after saving a few slices for garnish. Use a wide bowl to catch all of the juice and pulp, and don’t worry about peeling the cucumber since you will strain the liquid. Blend the meat, seeds and peel along with mint leaves, then put through a fine-mesh strainer to collect all the refreshing green juice.
Serve the Mint Cucumber White Wine Fizz as the signature drink for your next party. It’s a refreshment good for all seasons but is especially welcome as the dog days of summer slip into fall.
- 2 ounces (about 2 tablespoons) cucumber water
- 5 large mint leaves
- 3 ounces (about ¼ cup) Sauvignon Blanc
- Juice from ¼ lime (about ½ tablespoon)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3 ounces (about ¼ cup) sparking wine (French Champagne, Italian Prosecco, Spanish Cava or American sparkling wine)
- Whole mint leaves and cucumber slices for garnish
- Make cucumber water by grating cucumber, peel and all, then blending with the mint leaves until pulpy. Push through a fine-mesh strainer and collect the green juice. (What you don't use can be refrigerated in an air-tight container. It will keep for a couple days.)
- Add cucumber water, Sauvignon Blanc, lime juice and sugar to a cocktail shaker. Shake with ice. Strain into a serving glass and top with sparkling wine.
- Garnish with a slice of cucumber and a mint sprig if you'd like.