Persian Summer (Wink & Nod)

Alexis Jesup

Michael Boughton, beverage director of Boston Nightlife Ventures and general manager of Wink & Nod, wanted to a cocktail to match the bar’s new kitchen concept, Humaari.

“I saw [chef Louis DiBiccari] was drawing a lot of his flavors from the Middle East and incorporating that with Mediterranean flavors,” Boughton says. “I really wanted something that would reflect not only the food, but also the culture.”

Boughton found his match in sekanjabin, a traditional Iranian warm-weather drink made by mixing vinegar with honey or sugar and a combination of cucumber and mint. Appropriately, he dubbed his alcoholic take Persian Summer.

The drink recalls those traditional flavors by using a fresh cucumber shrub and a few dashes of lime tincture added via eyedropper. Boughton initially tried a gin or rum base for the spirit, before finally settling on cachaça for its unique flavors. It’s shaken and then “rolled”—meaning that the ice from the shaker goes directly into the glass. A splash of ginger beer rounds it out.

The end result is refreshing and spicy, with a strong, vibrant cucumber flavor that instantly recalls a summery garden.

Persian Summer
1½ ounces Avuá Cachaça
1½ ounces ginger beer
¾ ounce cucumber shrub*
2 dashes lime tincture**
3-4 mint leaves
Cucumber roll, for garnish

Add cachaça, cucumber shrub, lime tincture, and mint leaves to a shaker filled with ice, and shake until chilled. “Roll” (pour) the ice and ingredients into a Collins glass, add ginger beer, and stir. Garnish with speared cucumber roll to serve.

*Cucumber shrub
2 parts fresh cucumber juice
1 part sugar
1 part white vinegar

Use juice extractor to press juice from cucumber. Combine with sugar and vinegar, and stir until sugar dissolves. Store in sealed container and refrigerate. Keeps up to two months.

**Lime tincture (yields 1 pint)
8 limes, zested
1 pint overproof neutral spirit (such as Everclear or Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum)

Add lime zest to neutral spirit and allow mixture to sit for one week in a sealed container. Strain out zest through cheesecloth or chinois. Keeps indefinitely.

Brian Samuels

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