Crooked Cucumber From AZ/88

Categories: Cocktails
jamil 04.jpg
Benjamin Leatherman
The Crooked Cucumber, which has absolutely nothing to do with John Cougar Mellencamp (*wink* *wink*).
​As Jamil Hyatt sees it, bartenders can sometimes be the welcome mat for certain restaurants and drinkeries.

In addition to the maître d' or hostess, barkeeps are the cats who occasionally provide patrons with their first tastes of a particular establishment, like Old Town Scottsdale eatery AZ 88, where Hyatt pours it strong Monday through Friday during the daytime.

"You're generally the first person people see when they come into the place," he says. "So you're expected to give them a warm welcome feeling when they sit at your bar."

As such, Hyatt feels he's quite perceptive in determining his patron's moods and providing them with whatever's needed, be it a joke or a jigger of booze.

"If someone's had a bad experience making a reservation with the hostess, they're already in a bad mood by the time they get to your bar. If you can turn them around, that's always great. They might be frustrated after waiting in line forever to get a drink, so you give a big smile or crack a joke, and it always helps," he says. "I've been told, anyway, that I have a soothing nature, or good energy. So if you put that out, it kinda puts other people at ease. I guess I smile a lot."

And AZ 88 has plenty of adult beverages on tap to make sure its patrons are smiling just like Jamil, whether it's any of the 21-year-old establishment's expansive list of classic cocktails or a few of the more "off the menu" custom inventions that Hyatt and the rest of the bartending staff have pulled outta thin air.

jamil 02.jpg
Benjamin Leatherman
Jamil Hyatt pours out a Crooked Cucumber.
​That includes the Crooked Cucumber, which he came up with one day entirely by happenstance. Although it originally had much more entertaining name.

"Someone made another drink and I was trying to replicate that one and I switched one ingredient for another by mistake and just came up with it," he says. "I didn't really have a name for it. We sometimes joke around and called it a John Cucumber Mellencamp, which is a funnier name."

Hyatt originally wanted us to refer to the drink by its rock star-like moniker, but a few days after providing us with the recipe, he requested it be referred to by its less lawsuit-worthy moniker. (No word on whether or not the legendary Indiana-born rocker would consider having a drink named after him as an honor or a slight).

But no matter what you call it, the drink is nonetheless looks pretty delish. Wanna taste it for yourself? Then peep the following recipe:

Crooked Cucumber:
3 ounces of Svedka Citrus Vodka
1 ounce of Canton Ginger Liqueur
¾ ounce of cucumber puree
¾ ounce of sweet and sour

Place all the above ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and give that mother a good long jiggle. Pour it into a artini glass and serve.

"I'm not that up on garnishes, a lot of times it just gets in the way of the drink," Hyatt says. "I like it nice and smooth and sweet."



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