While in California last week, we went to a famous Pasadena bar, Carmine's. On the menu was a drink called a "Pacino". The bartender on duty did not know why the drink was so named, but to the drink's listed ingredients, I bumped up the cucumber flavors infused in Hendrick's gin, infused the simple syrup with celery, and added celery juice to give the drink an earthy taste and a very pretty color. I meted out the ingredients using a jigger and measuring cups, and am giving instructions based on making an individual drink. It's a weeknight, I'm not having a cocktail party, but I have a nice supply of leftover components for other uses, or to make more drinks Friday night. The cucumber water and simple syrup can be made well in advance. This is a refreshing drink perfect for the upcoming warmer weather. —Bevi
Test Kitchen Notes
The Drink oozes celery, the crisp grassiness coupled with that hint of natural salinity from the stalks. The cucumber bits & water soften the sharp celery flavor. The basil gives out just the tiniest hint of a delightful aroma. As for the Gin, It’s THE perfect, simply perfect spirit to elevate a plain green celery stalk to a sophisticated cocktail drink. With clear instructions to make each component, It allows for mixing the final cocktail as per personal preference. This is truly a stellar Summer drink. —Panfusine
- Makes Several Stalking Pacinos
large cucumber, peeled
large stalks celery, plus an inner stalk with leaves for garnish
juice from 1/2 large lime
zest from 1/2 of the lime - using a bartender's zester if possible
peel from the other half of the lime
basil leaf, finely chiffonaded
seltzer as needed
- Prepare the cucumber water: Slice 1/2 of the cucumber and add a pitcher of water to the cuke slices. Place in the refrigerator and allow to sit while all the other ingredients are being prepared.
- Pour 1 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar into a saucepan over low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add 3 stalks of chopped celery and the lime peel to the syrup. Simmer lightly for 15 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature. Place in the refrigerator. Strain the syrup, pressing the celery pieces to get the flavor, and reserve the syrup.
- Using an electric juicer, juice enough celery (3 to 4 stalks) to make 6 oz. Add the lime juice to the celery juice.
- Quarter, deseed, and chop enough remaining cucumber to make 1/4 cup. Set aside.
- Assemble the Stalking Pacino: Fill a 12 oz. glass 1/2 full with ice. Add 1 1/2 oz. gin, then 1 oz. celery simple syrup, then 1 1/2 oz. celery and lime juice, then 1/4 cup cucumber water. Shake very well, using a bartender's shaker. Taste and decide if you want to add more of any of the above components. Then, add the chopped cucumber, the basil, and the lime zest. Shake again. Pour everything back into the glass and top with seltzer.
- Garnish with a celery stalk, a cucumber slice, and a slice of lime. Bottoms up!