Guest Post: Blueberry Lemon and Cucumber Gin Mojitos by Justine Celina
So now, onto this cocktail. It’s funny — I haven’t always been a gin fan. In fact, I’ve only come to enjoy the taste of gin this summer. When I was a teenager, my Mom’s drink of choice was a simple gin and tonic. Well, it turns out that a gin and tonic on the rocks and a glass of ice water look exactly the same — that is until you gulp it down, only to realize that your ice water is actually your Mom’s gin and tonic! We had a few good laughs and eventually stopped using the same glasses, but needless to say I’ve only recently acquired a taste for gin as an adult.
This recipe came about organically, as most of my recipes do. During my last visit to my childhood home in rural Alberta this summer, I volunteered as bartender. My Mom, of course, requested a gin cocktail. She knows I love to experiment with cocktails and usually enjoys whatever I whip up, so I happily went to work. In the fridge, I found lots of fresh lemons, along with a gorgeous bunch of mint and some cucumbers. I immediately thought of a gin based, mojito-style cocktail. There were also some fresh blueberries set out for snacking right next to where I was playing mixologist, so I decided to muddle a few in with the other ingredients. I took a sip to test my creation and I was shocked at how much I liked it — gin and all! So, I decided to make one for myself with a few tweaks and that was how this Blueberry Lemon and Cucumber Gin Mojito recipe was conceived.
I’ve been blueberry crazy this summer! We’re coming to the end of blueberry season in North America and I’ve been experimenting with different ways to preserve them to make the magic last. What I came up with is a blueberry simple syrup made from honey, rather that traditional white sugar. I’m all about making healthier, more natural substitutions in my cooking and baking — and yes, even in my cocktails. To be honest, we don’t even keep white sugar in our pantry! My Blueberry Honey Simple Syrup adds so much flavour and a lovely purple hue to these cocktails.
My Blueberry Lemon and Cucumber Gin Mojitos combine sweet blueberries with refreshing lemon, cucumber and mint. A healthy dose of gin unites the flavour profiles of these late summer sippers and a splash of soda water adds just the right amount of sparkle. My gin mojitos are free of refined sugars and made with all natural ingredients — so the next time you’re craving a cooling summer cocktail, indulge yourself with a fresh twist on the classic mojito!
Another thing I like to do is incorporate edible flowers into my recipes whenever I can — I’m enamoured with flowers and blog about them frequently! I foraged these pansies from my Mom’s garden and love the fun pops of colour and cheerful feeling they add to the cocktail. If you want to get creative and make these Blueberry Lemon and Cucumber Gin Mojitos really pretty, you can experiment with freezing edible flowers into ice cubes to preserve them, or simply use them to garnish your cocktail. Flowers (edible or otherwise) are an inexpensive, thoughtful way to elevate your libations or parties — and they’re one of my not so secret weapons, especially when I’m entertaining.
For more exciting recipes and glamorous entertaining inspo from Justine, head on over to JustineCelina.com.
For the Blueberry Honey Simple Syrup4 cups fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup honey
- Juice from half a lemon
For the Blueberry, Lemon and Cucumber Gin Mojito1.5oz Blueberry Honey Simple Syrup
- 2 oz of gin
- Juice from half a lemon
- 5 leaves fresh mint
- 5 slices of cucumber
- Soda water
Optional GarnishEdible flowers (I used pansies)
- Cocktail skewers
- slice A of lemon
- Fresh blueberries
- A sprig of mint
- If you’re making floral ice cubes, begin by sourcing your flowers, washing them and dropping them into the ice cube trays to freeze. You really can’t mess this up — so experiment with different flower place- ments within each cube and have fun with it!
- Start on your Blueberry Honey Simple Syrup. Add blueberries and water to a medium sauce pan over low heat. The blueberries will begin to break down quickly — help them along by pressing them with a potato masher to aid in extracting the juices. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Strain the blueberry juice into a heatproof bowl, using the potato masher press the juice through the strainer. Reserve the juice for the Blueberry Honey Simple Syrup and discard the skins.
- Add the blueberry juice and honey back to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow to thicken for 10 minutes.
- Turn off the burner. Add the juice from half a lemon to your saucepan, stirring until incorporated. Allow your Blueberry Honey Simple Syrup to cool before using it in the Blueberry Lemon and Cucumber Gin Mojitos.
- Begin assembling your cocktail by adding lemon juice, mint and cucumber to a cocktail shaker and muddling them together with a pestle. Add Blueberry Honey Simple Syrup and a few ice cubes. Shake vigorously until the cocktail shaker becomes cold.
- Add the contents of the cocktail shaker to your glass along with your gin. Pour soda water overtop to fill your glass to the desired level.
- Garnish your Blueberry Lemon and Cucumber Gin Mojito with a slice of lemon and a few blueberries on a cocktail skewer.
- Add a sprig of mint, or a few more edible flowers and enjoy!