During Culinaria’s Burgers, BBQ and Beer at the Pearl, we ate burgers, enjoyed the crowd-watching — and we sweated. The temperatures rose as the afternoon passed, and we finally sought shelter in the large, circular stable. It was air-conditioned and a great place to sit and have a drink.
A friend brought me a large glass of water, saying it was cucumber water. No sugar, no carbonation; not beer, not lemonade — just a cool drink and a really good one.
Cucumber water is something my brother, a chef and caterer in Arizona, serves when he’s handling a crowd outside in the heat. Think of it like this — when you’re really thirsty, a big glass of cold water is the best way to slake that thirst. But, add to it the subtle flavor of cucumber and water takes on another dimension of refreshing.
To make it, slice up the entire (washed) cucumber and immerse the slices in a large pitcher full of water. Cover the pitcher with plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight. Use about 2-3 quarts of water to one cucumber. Strain out the cucumber slices before you serve, unless you want to leave some for garnish.
Other methods recommend cutting the cuke into chunks, or even grating it or processing it in a blender, then letting the juice drip through a piece of cheesecloth overnight into a bowl. Then, stir the cucumber juice into cold water.
Serve it very cold, garnish with mint or lime if you like — and it will be a fine summer refresher.