The Cucumbers You Need For Impossibly Refreshing Margaritas

There isn't much that beats a perfect margarita. The drink is both simple and infinitely customizable, which is probably why it's repeatedly the most popular cocktail in the United States. There are many ways to enjoy a margarita: on the rocks, frozen, or with an infusion of flavors ranging from mango to chili pepper and blueberry to strawberry. But perhaps the best margarita variety for summer sipping has to be the cucumber margarita.

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Unlike some margarita varieties that embrace the heat, such as the jalapeño margarita, the cucumber margarita is a mellowing, refreshing spin on the classic drink. Cucumbers are a cooling ingredient with a high water content and a distinct sophisticated taste that flavors whatever drink it's infused into.

Now, you may be tempted to toss some of your run-of-the-mill American cucumber into your drink, but this would be an error, because there is one cucumber type that is miles above the rest for infusing into drinks. The English cucumber, rather than the American cucumber, is the way to go for margarita-making endeavors. English cucumbers are less bitter than their American cuke counterparts and have a delightful, subtly sweet flavor.

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Why the English cucumber works so well

Of course, if you really want to know why the English cucumber is the best choice for a delectable and refreshing margarita, you have to go beneath the skin and explore exactly how they differ from American cucumbers.

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Standard American cucumbers are often the least expensive and most plentiful cucumber choice in grocery stores. They have a dark, tough skin that has a bitter taste and waxy texture, and so are often served peeled. Usually found in salads and refreshing cucumber sandwiches, they are also great for snacking. However, their flavor isn't as distinct as other cucumber types, and their thickish skin can be cumbersome to work with in cooking or when adding into drinks.

English cucumbers, on the other hand, have a thinner skin and pleasant taste that is more distinct than American cucumbers, which makes them ideal for infusing into margaritas. If English cucumbers aren't your thing, you can also use the Persian cucumber variety. Unlike English cucumbers, which can grow to about a foot long, Persian cucumbers are much shorter, and are often sold in packs. Both varieties tend to come wrapped in plastic. In fact, Persian cucumbers have the edge regarding small seed size, as their seeds are even less noticeable than the English variety. For this reason, Persian cucumbers are a great choice for a delicious salad. Both have a similar taste, and would make a flavorful addition to your cocktail.

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Cool down and spice up your margarita

Now, as for the best way to infuse your margarita with cucumber flavor, that really depends. Unlike limes, which are juiced before adding to a margarita, you can't juice a cucumber and expect the same flavorful results. Instead, you should infuse your base alcohol — tequila — with cucumbers. You can do so by slicing the cucumbers and adding them to a sealed container of tequila. Then leave your tequila overnight — let your cucumbers infuse the booze for at least a few hours. Afterwards, remove the slices and discard. And voila! You have cucumber infused tequila, ripe for use in your favorite margarita recipe.

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If you're hoping to make cucumber margaritas on a tighter timeframe, however, just muddle your cucumbers in the drink, then strain and serve. Either method will give you great cucumber flavor. And don't stop before adding that final delicious cucumber crunch in the form of a garnish. There are lots of ways to twist and slice the cucumber for a pretty effect on top of your margarita. Slice with a vegetable peeler and twist onto a cocktail stick, or simply add in skinny slivers to your drink after mixing. And if you want a good way to counteract cucumber's cooling effects, adding jalapeño to your margarita will bring extra green flavor plus a devilishly hot twist that will leave your lips tingling. The key here is cocktail creativity to make you feel as cool as a cucumber.

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