Whiskey maker Nikka says it does, so we investigate.
In the past few years, highballs have really taken off as a drink of choice among Japanese people. It’s easy to see why as they’re cheap and come in a wide variety of flavors. They also tend to be watered down, allowing for tired employees to endure long post-work drinking sessions whether they like it or not.
Our Japanese writer Masami is also a fan of the highball, preferring them with a lot of lemon for a thicker taste. However, recently she’s been looking for something new.
As luck would have it, that day just happened to be “Good Cucumber Day” (Yoi Kyuri no Hi) based on a reading of 4-19 in Japanese. In honor of this reach of an occasion, popular whiskey brand Nikka tweeted a startling revelation regarding cucumber highballs.
“19 April is Good Cucumber Day! So why don’t we try making a cucumber highball! I made one on a whim and when I tried it… What’s this?!
Smells like melon!!
Give it a try! The freshness of the cucumber makes it an even crisper drink! Nummy!”
4月19日は、#よいキュウリの日 ！ ということで🥒キュウリハイボール🥒はいかがかな！何気なく作ったんじゃが、飲んでみたら…これは何と！… メロンの香り！?…? 皆も是非試してみておくれ！！キュウリのみずみずしさが加わって、… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…—
ニッカウヰスキー【公式】 (@nikka_jp) April 18, 2017
Not one to pass up a “nummy” drink, Masami’s curiosity was aroused by the thought that simply adding cucumber to whiskey and water would make it smell like melon. They are both cucumis genus plants, so they’re fairly related, but the idea still seemed preposterous.
However, she wouldn’t find out sitting on her butt and tossing around fancy words like “cucumis.” It was time to investigate, and get a little buzzed in the process.
Nikka didn’t bother to write out a recipe for a cucumber highball, but these cocktails tend to be among the easiest to make and the image in the tweet gave Masami good enough of an idea. She gathered the necessary ingredients: whiskey, carbonated water, ice, and a cucumber.
First, she filled the glass with ice and filled it with water.
Then, she added a shot of whiskey.
Finally, she added several thin slices of cucumber. The image had around ten slices so she went for the same.
And that’s it!
It was about as simple as it gets to make, but being so easy Masami was highly skeptical that it could magically produce an aroma of melon like Nikka claimed.
Raising the glass to her mouth for the first sip, there was no noticeable scent. After drinking there still wasn’t any semblance to melon that she could detect. If she really had to come up with something, she would say the texture of the cucumber was similar to that hard part of a melon between its rind and flesh.
Still, it was a very refreshing drink as Nikka had promised, and perhaps mixing the ingredients in different proportions would have yielded different results. So give it a try yourself if you have the means and let us know if you can unlock the scent of melon. Worst case scenario you end up with a plain highball, and with the extra cucumber you can make a spirit horse.