Spicy Cucumber Cooler


Last Saturday—as many of you know—I had the pleasure of competing in a Throwdown with the lovely and talented chef, and dear friend, Maria Reina! It was there that I enjoyed an amazing lime and cucumber cooler—a kind of lime/lemonade with cucumbers. As Maria’s sous chef and hubby said, “this would be great with tequila!”  So, last Sunday I started playing, and the Spicy Cucumber Cooler was born!  Simple—versatile—and so very cooling, this cocktail is one that I will be serving during these steamier August days, and maybe beyond!

Spicy Cucucumber Cooler

Now, I’m sharing the ingredients and the technique, but again, you can “play” and adjust your spicy cucumber cooler depending on your and your friends’ preferences!

¡Buen provecho! Enjoy!

Latin Twist: Spicy Cucumber Cooler

Cooling yet sparky, this ginger limeade meets cucumber and tequila cocktail can be made in larger batches before your fiesta! Serve strained, on the rocks or straight up!


  • 1/2 English cucumber
  • 1 seeded and diced jalapeño (or more!)
  • 2 limes, quartered (if they’re not super juicy, have some fresh lime juice on hand so that you have about 2 ounces of lime juice)
  • 1 1/2 cups ice
  • Ginger simple syrup according to taste (½-inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced, plus equal parts, about 3/4 cup each, of water and sugar, cooked over medium heat until sugar dissolves, and cooled)
  • 4 ounces good-quality silver tequila


  1. Peel most of the cucumber, and slice into rounds (save 2 rounds—with skin on—for garnish).
  2. Combine the cucumber with the jalapeño, and limes.
  3. In a large bar glass or shaker, muddle them all together until most of the juice is squeezed out of the limes.
  4. Add the ice, simple syrup (or you can hold off on the syrup until the end!)
  5. and tequila.
  6. Shake, taste, correct flavors.
  7. Strain into two chilled glasses, garnish, and serve!


About Author

Maybe it was the dinner parties my mom always threw—or the hours I spent prepping and cooking alongside her (and then on my own!). Or maybe it was array of fabulous dishes that my family sampled in New York City’s richly diverse restaurants, but I’ve loved creating, savoring, and sharing food for as long as I can remember. Living in Spain, and later in Peru, also greatly influenced my life. These years abroad taught me Spanish—and about living in different countries--but also introduced me to teaching English as a second language, which I’ve done—mostly in the US-- for the past 20-plus (yikes!) years. I’ve authored two cocktail/tapas books, Mambo Mixers and Calypso Coolers, coauthored more than 15 others (mostly food related!), and raised two children. Now I'm chef and owner of my own restaurant, Mambo 64 in Tuckahoe, New York. My message is the same, whether I'm teaching, writing, running the restaurant or being a regular guest on the Spanish-language network Telemundo (on the morning show, Buenos Días Nueva York!). My belief in food—and the power of food—is far reaching, and is married with another one: the power of stories. I’m sure that if we could all sit down and have meals together, sharing both tastes and tales, we’d have peace on earth. Enjoy!

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