This is one of my biggest sellers in the summer. People love the idea of gin, mint and cucumber on ice with a dash of tonic, and this recipe mixes that idea up, making the cucumber the headliner for a change, not the gin.
- 2 large cucumbers
- 1 bird’s-eye chilli
- 1 lime, zest and juice
- 500ml white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 12-15 juniper berries (3 in each jar)
- 8 baby round shallots
- 2-3 sprigs fresh mint
- 100-125ml gin (25ml per jar)
Watch how to make Gin-pickled Cucumber in our video tutorial:
If you prefer this without a chilli kick, deseed the chilli for a milder flavour.
Finely chop the chilli and put in a medium stainless-steel saucepan with the lime zest and juice, vinegar, sugar, juniper berries and1½ teaspoons of sea salt. Bring to a gentle simmer, dissolving the sugar and infusing the flavours for around five minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.
Finely slice the cucumbers – a mandolin does this perfectly but you can slice them with a knife if you don’t have one or prefer thicker slices. Peel and finely slice the shallots. Strip the mint leaves from the stalks.
Start by stacking layers of cucumber, shallot and mint into warm, dry sterilised jars until the jars are half full. Add 25ml gin and three juniper berries (from the vinegar brine) to each jar and continue to stack, until the vegetables are about 1cm below the rim.
Fill the jars with the vinegar brine, distributing the remaining spices (in the brine) evenly between them and gently pushing down on the contents to let out the air bubbles. Tap the jars gently on a hard surface to remove any more bubbles, add more brine if necessary to completely cover the vegetables, then seal.
Eat the next day if you like a crunch to your pickle, or keep sealed for up to four weeks in a cool, dark place to allow the flavours to marry.
Keeps unopened for up to six months. Once opened, refrigerate and eat within four weeks.