Rusty Sly: Cucumber Zest

As most of you know I travel frequently for my job.  My trips range from a day to many weeks.  The enjoyment of traveling is that I have friends on a first name basis at airports, Super Shuttle, hotels, restaurants, etc.  For this article I am going away from my passion of wine and beers to talk about a drink created at the Cocoa Beach Hilton Hotel in Cocoa Beach,  Florida by their resident Mixologist/Bartender, Gabriel Mora.  The Hilton has been my hotel of choice since the 1990’s.  The Manager, Debra Green, is still in charge of this beach front establishment with great rooms, view, food and, of course, bar(s). They have two bars on site.  One is the Tiki Bar next to the pool with a view of the ocean and the second is the Atlantis Lounge located inside and is affiliated with their Atlantis Restaurant.

The staff at this hotel is fantastic and they all greet me by name from the bellhops and waiters to the bartenders.  Sitting in the bar one night, Gabriel and I discussed the unique flavors and properties of  Hendricks Gin.  Those of you that know me know that this is my all time favorite go to gin, THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE.

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  The following link: will provide insight on their process that yields this extremely unique spirit which produces phenomenal smooth flavors without the over abundance of Juniper inherent in other gins.

So Gabriel and I are in agreement about how much we love Hendricks Gin.
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  Not sure if it is a good thing or a bad thing for me but the hotel carries Hendricks which is rather uncommon in hotels.  Most hotels will carry Tanqueray 10 and Bombay Blue Sapphire as their high level gins.  Gabriel proceeded to tell me that he had created a drink using Hendricks Gin and that it would be on the menu in a week once the board approved it.  As luck would have it I wouldn’t be there so Gabriel, always accommodating,  made a small amount for me to try.

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  All I can say is that this drink is fantastic.  Gab, as his friends refer to him, calls his creation, “Cucumber Zest”, and gave me the recipe to share with all of you:

·         3/4 oz Hendricks Gin
·         3/4 oz St. Germaine Elderflower liqueur
·         1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
·         1 oz Cane syrup
·         Shaken,  not stirred
·         Garnish with a cucumber slice on the edge of the glass and serve

The accents of the cucumber aromatics in the Hendricks along with the unique flavor of the St. Germaine Elderflower liqueur are to die for.  It’s  very refreshing with the slight lemon acidity in the background to help balance the sweetness of the Germaine Elder Flower and cane syrup thus creating a slightly crisp drink.  This method is no different than white wines having acid to add crispness, it’s all about chemical balance.  We need to all thank creative Mixologists,  like Gabriel Mora, for creating interesting and unique masterpieces to drink and enjoy.

If you are ever in Cocoa Beach to catch a cruise or watch a rocket launch I would highly recommend that you stay or,  at a minimum, visit the Cocoa Beach Hilton for dinner and drinks.  You will not be disappointed,  I never am.  I know as I walk up to the entrance Pete (bellhop) comes out and shakes my hand and says, “Welcome home!”  as he has done with me for the last 20 years.  So when you go be prepared to treated like royalty and tell them Rusty sent you, then sit back, relax and order a “Cucumber Zest”.


Rusty Sly