Spiked Cucumber Soup

A while ago, struck by how similar a tomato-based gazpacho was to a Bloody Mary mix, I added vodka to the soup. Voilà: a chilled cocktail and summery first course in one. I’ve come to prefer it with reposado tequila, and I have gone on to spike other cold soups. Possibilities include white gazpacho with silver tequila and a garnish of seedless green grapes; borscht with vodka and a dollop of sour cream; carrot-pineapple soup with light rum. Also, minted green-pea soup with bourbon; cantaloupe soup with brandy or port, and potato-fennel soup with pastis or absinthe.

I add a little avocado to this cucumber soup to keep it from separating, a trick I learned from Jason Weiner, the chef and an owner of Almond Restaurants. The only requirement is that the soup be perfectly smooth, so use a blender. It should also not be too thick to sip, so add a little water if necessary. And try to keep your ingredients as cold as possible.

Spiked Cucumber Soup


2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped, plus 4 peeled, seeded cucumber spears, for garnish

1/2 ripe Hass avocado, peeled and chopped

Juice of 2 limes

1 cup gin, preferably Hendrick’s

Pinch of salt


1. Place all ingredients except the cucumber spears in a blender and process until smooth.

2. Transfer to a large cocktail shaker, shake with ice, then strain into 4 wine goblets. (This can be done in two batches if necessary.) Garnish each with a cucumber spear.

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