A few months ago, I spent a couple of days with friends at Gray Bear Lodge in Hohenwald, Tennessee. While there—in addition to the yoga sessions, sauna time, tub soaks, and hikes—I was treated to a (mini) juice cleanse for a few days. And though I recommend consulting your doctor before embarking on your own juice cleanses, I must say that I walked away from the experience feeling healthy and refreshed.
I returned from my trip, bought a juicer the next day, and it has changed my life. Diann from Gray Bear walked me through the juicing regimen which always seemed a bit complicated and demanding for me. She taught me to: simplify, use ingredients that I like, experiment with combinations, and taste as I go to come up with an array of variations. “Plus,” she says, “once you have the raw ingredients on hand (and the juicer out and running) make enough for a few days.” While that might not be as good as juicing and drinking right away, this is real life, right?
After a few weeks, I also discovered that these fresh fruit and vegetable juices also lend themselves to delicious cocktails. (However, it should be noted that fresh juice cocktails don’t maintain all of the health benefits of fresh juice alone.) During Vivian Howard’s recent dinner at The Factory, we used my juicer to create the Cucumber Ginger Limeade cocktail that opened the evening. Since the dinner, there have been several requests for the recipe. Break out your juicer (but juice—and drink—responsibly).
CUCUMBER GINGER LIMEADE
Makes about 4 servings
1 cup lime juice
1 1/3 cup ginger/lime syrup (see recipe below)
3 cups cucumber juice
Cathead Vodka to taste
Splash of sparkling water
Combine all ingredients. Serve over plenty of ice and garnish with sliced cucumber and lime.
Zest of 3 limes
1 cup peeled and roughly chopped ginger
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 cups water
Remove the zest from the limes with a microplane or Y-shaped vegetable peeler, taking care not to include the white pith. Combine the zest, ginger, and sugar in a food processor and process for about 15 seconds. The sugar will begin to liquefy, but that’s ok. Transfer contents to a small saucepan and add water. Over medium heat, stir to dissolve and allow the syrup to heat at a low simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and steep another 10-15 minutes. Strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve, discarding the solids.
(However, we ate the sweetened ginger root that night in the kitchen and it was delicious.)