April is the hot season in Thailand. That means temps of 100+ degrees F (38 degrees C), day after day after day. Spring fever has a new meaning under these conditions.
It is so hot that people here move like turtles when outside. We hide indoors to avoid the blasting heat. And even there, our blood seems thicker. Our every move meets resistance, like walking through honey.
Fortunately for me, the hot season comes at a time of year when responsibilities are reduced. The school year is ¾ over, and by now, the one boy I have left at home is on auto-pilot with his studies. All international school sports seasons and activities relevant to my family have ended. Grandparent Season – (in our household this goes from about mid-November to mid-March – the 2 pairs of GPs are not fools, they visit during Thailand’s “cool” season) is over, so there are fewer people under our roof.
The other good news is that there are quick and easy ways to take the edge off the brutality of Bangkok this time of year. Pick a beach and go, comes first to mind. I notice myself plotting to bust out for the seaside every chance I get this time of year.
When I find myself at home in the city though, to beat the heat I reach for the blender, or if I am very organized, I plan ahead and stir up a lovely liquid refreshment early one morning before the sun is too intense, and tuck it out of sight in the freezer for another time. In April, in Thailand, frozen drinks are just plain good for the soul.
I can usually arrange for a fresh tropical variety to win over my guests in the event I make dinner (or rather, assemble dinner components – as turning on the oven or stovetop can seem like going a bridge too far). With guests, these make-ahead cocktails are ideal. With barely more effort than slicing a cucumber garnish (or not) you will appear as an amazingly put-together host on even the hottest of evenings.
This cucumber-coconut daiquiri is so fresh and neither too sweet nor too sour because it relies on natural flavors of fresh cucumbers, coconut water and just as much lime as you need with no added sugar. That’s healthy enough when the heat is on.
My favorite way to enjoy these is to make them ahead and bury them deep in the freezer. Alcohol as an ingredient means they will never really freeze solid. I don’t know an easier way to introduce yourself or your guests to the end of a blazing hot day. It’s perfect for times you feel like drinking a frozen cocktail but don’t feel like hauling out the blender and working for it – times when that mirage of a pool boy serving your drinks water-side is most intense.
After 5 minutes at room temperature, you can easily scoop the frozen goodness into your favorite daiquiri glass. (An even more excellent option is to freeze them directly in the serving glasses – sealed of course – if your freezer real estate permits.) If you don’t have a favorite daiquiri glass yet, be patient. After a time or two getting to know these drinks, your favorite daiquiri glass may even select you.
Make these ahead by a day or two, in the morning before the sun begins to blast and enjoy them any time you want later in the week or even the month.
Pool boy not included.
CUCUMBER-COCONUT DAIQUIRIS (MAKES 2-3)
2 cups fresh coconut water
1 cup of freshly-juiced cucumber
3-5 limes, juiced, (use to taste)
3/4 cup white rum
Pour all ingredients into a glass container with a tight fitting lid, allowing a 1/2 inch space at the top for expansion of the mixture when frozen. Stir it all together, and freeze for 24 hours or more. Your daiquiri is now ready to enjoy on demand. Simply set the container out at room temperature for 5 minutes or so, and then take a spoon and scrape all the wonderfully fruity, boozy frozen shards into individual glasses, and serve immediately.
Note: Feel free to also make these in a blender. In this case, however, it is still necessary to make 3 cups of coconut water ice cubes ahead, which takes roughly 2 cups coconut water.