Cocktail geeks and gin fans are likely familiar with Scottish brand Hendrick’s, based from its stately gin palace in the small seaside community of Girvan. As one of the first modern, experimental gins of its era, Hendrick’s signature flavors of rose and cucumber proved to be extremely influential on the gin world as we know it today, but their curiosity toward their signature flavors extends much further than simply an appreciation. I’ve met enough Hendrick’s employees—including Master Distiller Ms. Lesley Gracie—to know that the company-wide obsession with cucumber in particular is a very real thing. And now, Hendrick’s is working to bring that adventurous passion for the cucumber to their customers, via a new project called the Curious Cucumber Collection.
This is essentially a box set of “rare cucumbers,” researched and cultivated by Hendrick’s in collaboration with Farmer Jones Farm at The Chef’s Garden. Customers can purchase a box containing half a dozen different rare cucumber species, which will be delivered straight to their door. If you have $48 to spend on cucumbers, or are anywhere near as passionate about the tubular vegetables as the Hendrick’s folk, then surely this is a novel way to explore some new flavors.
Master Distiller Gracie worked in conjunction with Professor Lenore Newman, “one of North America’s foremost experts in agriculture,” to identify various species of obscure cucumbers from around the globe, some of which were reportedly even near extinction. Those cucumbers have now been brought back to replicable status in a scientific setting, so they can continue to be grown in the future.
“As someone who has devoted my career to the discovery and preservation of rare fruits and vegetables, I can say with conviction that what Hendrick’s has done for these cucumbers is a tremendous scientific accomplishment,” said Newman, PhD & Director of the Food and Agriculture Institute at the University of the Fraser Valley. “These seeds represent a microscopic amount of the global cucumber population and without this project, they remained in danger. It’s remarkable to see them restored to such great scale, and it’s such a joy for people to now be able to taste these marvelous fruits.”
Cucumbers included in the box include the tiny “Cucamelon,” cultivated in Mexico and Central America, along with the spiky and round African Horned. Also included: The Hmong Red, The Aonaga Jibai, The Muromsky Cucumber, and the Gagon Cucumber, which reportedly tastes like honeydew. And naturally, Hendrick’s also includes a cocktail recipe for “The Cutecomber,” a play on cucumber lemonade that includes fresh-squeezed juice from the Cucamelon.
If you want to check out pre-orders of the Curious Cucumber Collection for yourself, you can see them right here.