This Cucumber Saketini has become my new favorite cocktail. It's smooth and easy to drink but quite boozy, with vodka, sake, and a hint of muddled cucumber.
On February 13th 2020, one month before Covid hit New York City, Andrew and I celebrated Valentine's Day a day early at BONDST, a Japanese-inspired restaurant lounge in lower Manhattan. It was swanky and expensive, perfect for couples looking to avoid the Valentine crowd that would overtake the city's restaurant scene the next evening.
The food was very good, the flavors complex and interesting, but the most memorable part of the food and beverage experience was, undoubtedly, the Sake Martini. I remember taking a sip and immediately reacting with a subtle gasp and "woah". It was delightfully smooth, crisp, and boozy. Simple, yet thoughtful. It made me dance in my seat. After three of these tinis, some tasty shared plates, fun conversation, and very pretty people watching, we were ready to bar hop.
The thought of ever celebrating another Valentine's Day like this– sipping cocktails in a trendy lounge before hopping around the city, mask-free– borders on fantastical at this point. But, maybe I could create a version of this delicious cocktail that would momentarily take me back to last Valentine's day, like smelling sunscreen in January. Thus the Cucumber Saketini was born.
Cucumber Saketini Ingredients
As I mentioned earlier, there are only 3 ingredients in this delicious boozy martini: vodka, sake, and fresh cucumber.
Sake, as it's known here in the U.S., is sometimes defined as "Japanese Rice Wine". It is an alcohol made from fermented rice. However, sake is a fairly broad term, since there are so many different kinds of sake with varying flavor profiles, ABV, mouthfeel, etc.
I'm fairly new to the world of Sake, but I have enjoyed most of the ones I've tried. This Black and Gold Sake by Gekkeikan Sake is the sake currently stocking my bar cart. It's delicious, with soft, smooth taste that I wish I could describe further. Their website can help with that.
Use whatever kind of cucumber you want. Muddle a few slices for the drink then either get creative with your garnish or keep it simple.
Get the recipe below, or watch my quick YouTube Video on how to make it.
A lighter variation
If you like these flavors but want something with a lower ABV, you can serve it on the rocks topped with plain seltzer.
I love making flavorful cocktails for my friends and family. They're usually pretty strong, sometimes citrusy, always flavorful, and never overly sweet.
Try my Blood Orange Ginger Margarita (pictured below)Print
A smooth, swanky, and boozy martini with soft flavors of cucumber and sake.
- 2 oz vodka (We're a Ketel One household)
- 1 oz sake. I was gifted this Gekkeikan Sake recently, and it is lovely.
- 4 thick slices of cucumber for muddling. 1 thin slice for garnish
- In a cocktail shaker muddle 3 cucumber slices very well, so they release a lot of cucumber juice and flavor.
- Add the vodka, sake, and a few ice cubes, cover, and shake for 20 seconds.
- Strain into a martini glass and garnish with another slice of cucumber.