Skinny Gin and Cucumber Sake Cocktail
There's a cute little Asian Fusion restaurant in Birmingham called Bamboo. My husband and I are very much creatures of habit and we are also EXTREMELY picky so when we like a restaurant, we tend to go there all the time.
Our current routine is to put our name on the list at El Barrio, our favorite Mexican restaurant in Birmingham that doesn't take reservations and then go across the street to Bamboo for appetizers and drinks.
I really like to be adventurous with my cocktails but at the same time, I also want to keep them light.
I always drive the bartender crazy with modifications to my order but after asking a million questions, I found that their "Tyku 'Tini" fit my criteria for a good cocktail without ANY modifying.... so rare.
Here's what's in it (according to their drink menu): Tyku Cucumber Sake, Bombay East Gin and Fresh Cucumber.
Tip: Even if the menu doesn't list sugar or simple syrup as in ingredient, I always ask because some menus will only list main ingredients and not list the sweetener.
Other bars/restaurants will disclose if the sweetener is agave, honey, etc but it's always good to ask. That way, you can then ask them to leave the simple syrup out or cut in half. I usually just forgo it completely, especially because I like cocktails with lots of natural flavors like bitters, herbs and extracts!
Anyway, I very rarely drink gin but I love that it has a natural cucumber taste which makes it perfect for cucumber based drinks. I also never have sake but I loved the taste of this drink and I happened to be shopping around aimlessly in World Market (as I often do) and saw it on the shelf. I obviously had to buy it so I could recreate the drink!
If you're ever in Birmingham, you should definitely stop by Bamboo for some appetizers (like their Lemongrass chicken amazing skewers) and a cocktail! If not, check out my copy-cat recipe!
I was so incredibly picky as a child that I wouldn't even eat Macaroni and Cheese. I basically lived on chicken fingers and pasta with butter. Super balanced.
It wasn't until I became an adult that I actually tried macaroni and cheese and I never looked back.
Obviously macaroni and cheese is DELICIOUS but it's not exactly the lightest dish around so I don't have it often but I wanted to do some experimenting in the kitchen to see if I could create a lightened up recipe without having to use butternut squash or throw in tons of broccoli to increase the volume.
That's right you guys, no veggies have been harmed in the making of this recipe.
Here's how I was able to lighten this up without pulling a Jessica Seinfeld:
Fiber Gourmet Elbow Pasta: This stuff has 130 calories per 2 oz (versus 210 calories in regular pasta). It also has 18 grams of fiber (compared to 2 grams in regular pasta) and HALF the net carbs. I also think it tastes just like pasta and I trick my husband with it all the time.
Chicken Broth: This is my culinary secret weapon for adding moisture and flavor to food without a ton of fat and calories.
Low fat cheese: It might come as a shock to some but there's absolutely nothing wrong with dairy and there's even less wrong with low fat dairy. We need to stop fear mongering!
Panko: I use the smallest amount of panko but let me tell you, it makes ALL the difference!
Check it out!
Skinny Gin and Cucumber Sake Cocktail
1/4 Medium Cucumber, Sliced
5 Mint Leaves
1.5 fl oz Gin
1 fl oz TYKU Cucumber Infused Sake
1/2 lime, juiced
1 Squeeze of Liquid Stevia (equivalent to 1 serving)
Optional: Cucumber ribbons for garnish
In a shaker, muddle cucumber slices and mint leaves.
Add gin, sake, lime, stevia and ice.
Shake ~30 seconds until ingredients are combined and very cold.
Optional: Before serving, garnish glass with cucumber ribbons.
To make cucumber ribbons, use a vegetable peeler and gently run the peeler down the length of the cucumber to form a thin strip. Wrap cucumber ribbon around the glass (I used 2 ribbons per glass)
Strain cocktail into a glass filled with fresh ice and serve!