Cucumber Mint Cooler

I was astonished when I was eating a sandwich at Mokoloco, which I can pretty confidently say makes the best sandwiches in the world. Okay, perhaps that’s a bit of hyperbole, but every sandwich I’ve had there has been spectacular. From the Cuban sandwich made with pulled pork, ham, pickled vegetables, spicy mustard, and griddled on house-made bread, to a Katsu Meatball “burger” served with anchovy mayonnaise on a toasted brioche bun, it’s always a tough decision to decide which to have. The menu changes daily so you never really know what’s going to be on offer, but lately they’ve been doing an excellent Fattoush salad, the best I’ve ever had, which I guess I should be glad is a seasonal thing because I’d be in there every day they’re open, all year round.

The restaurant is owned by Moko Hirayama and Omar Koreitem, although calling Mokoloco a restaurant is a bit of a misnomer. (The couple owns the nearby Mokonuts, which became so popular that they created Mokloco sandwich bar to offer more casual fare.) It’s a sandwich bar in the best sense of the word, with the friendly staff making sandwiches and salads to order, handing them off to customers who either get them to go, or to enjoy perched on a stool in the sparse, modern space.

At Mocoloco, Moko makes this as a “base” which she keeps refrigerated and adds cold water to when it’s time to serve. We did a video of her making it here, in case you want to see her in action.

She uses an equal amount of water to cucumber base, but if you’d like to keep this Cucumber Mint Cooler ready-to-pour in the refrigerator, or to serve it by the pitcher, measure out how much base you have then add an equal amount of water to it.

Cucumber Mint Cooler
Print Recipe
6-8 servings
When Moko makes this at Mokoloco, she makes the "base," which is the recipe below. When an order comes in, she pours some in a glass, then adds an equal amount of cold water to it. The best kinds of cucumbers to use are the long cucumbers, often referred to as English cucumbers, although they're sometimes just called "seedless" or less-elegantly, "burpless." Smaller Persian cucumbers could also be used. The plump, seedy cucumbers usually sold in American supermarkets (the Dasher variety is one such cucumber) can have tough skin and those pesky seeds. If you use one of those, you probably want to remove a little over half of the skin, and definitely scoop out the seeds (which can be bitter) as well. Because you are using the skins, organic cucumbers and limes are preferable, although not always available. Moko told me she sometimes uses as much as 80-100g (1/3-1/2 cup) fresh lime juice. An average lime yields about 2 tablespoons of lime juice. I found that too much overwhelmed the other ingredients, but feel free to add additional lime juice, more than I used in the recipe below, to taste. I also toggled the amount of sugar; you can start with the smaller amount (6 tablespoons/75g) and add more if you'd like. If you have a high-powered blender, this is a great place to use it.
1 large English or seedless cucumber, unpeeled, (see headnote)
3/4 cup (8g) loosely packed fresh mint leaves
6 to 8 tablespoons (75-100g) sugar, preferably granulated fine natural cane sugar
2 medium limes, preferably unsprayed
pinch of salt
Fresh mint, lime, and/or cucumber, for garnish
1. Cut the cucumber into cubes. Put them in a blender, preferably a high-powered one, along with the mint and the sugar. Zest the limes right into the blender then add the juice of the limes to the blender along with a pinch of salt.
2. Cover the blender and blend at high speed until the mixture is completely pureed. It'll take a little longer than you think, so don't be afraid to really blitz the ingredients.
3. If you plan to serve the Cucumber Lime Cooler by the carafe or small pitcher, measure the amount of the "base" (it should be around 1 cup/250ml) then add an equivalent amount of cold water to it and blend them together. Chill thoroughly, or serve immediately with ice. Garnish with mint, lime and/or cucumber.

Notes: As mentioned, Moko keeps the "base" in the refrigerator and portions out each glass when the orders come in. See the headnote for details, or use the instructions at the end of the recipe to serve it by the carafe or small pitcher. You can easily double or triple the recipe if your blender has the capacity.

To make a lovely summer cocktail, mix 2 ounces of the base with 2 ounces of cold water, still or sparkling, in a tumbler. Add 1 ounce of mezcal and 2 teaspoons of triple sec (optional) to the glass. Stir briefly and add ice. Garnish with mint and lime or cucumber.

Cucumber Mint Cooler


  • Bodkingriffs
    July 2, 2020 10:52am

    Made this following the live you did with Moko, it is fabulous, as is she!
    Tried it with Tequilla, and it is goooood! Reply

  • lamassu
    July 2, 2020 11:12am

    that sounds great
    + I will certainly try that when my own cucumbers are ready
    + -more important- I will have to look out for different kind of cucumber-seeds for next year
    Could Gin be a substitute for mezcal
    (in my mountain village a bit difficult to find) Reply

    • July 2, 2020 11:37am
      David Lebovitz

      We tried it with gin, thinking it’d be perfect with the cucumber, but found we preferred mezcal. But it does work with gin…(You can see our “tests” with different alcohols in the video, linked!) Reply

      • lamassu
        July 2, 2020 4:25pm

        oh, yes,
        I liked the video!
        Thank you + allt the best wishes for moko too! Reply

      • Doug R.
        July 6, 2020 2:50pm

        Thanks – this was going to be my exact question as well. Reply

    • Jenny
      July 30, 2020 12:30pm

      I was thinking gin as well. I alway have a bottle but realy (never) mescal. Reply

  • Dennis Yannakos
    July 2, 2020 11:20am

    Healthy green smoothie for Summer! Reply

  • Chris
    July 2, 2020 11:22am

    Moko and her family were delightful! Thank you David for continuing to show us your slice of Paris. I feel like I am travelling without having to leave my couch. Reply

    • Heather Steinmiller
      July 2, 2020 12:08pm

      Vodka also works really well… I am so disappointed that I won’t be able to come to Paris for the foreseeable future – my trip was canceled this year and there’s no telling how long the idiocy here will continue. Thank you for the armchair adventures. Reply

  • Cynthia
    July 2, 2020 11:24am

    Winter here, but it is definitely on my summer drink list. thank you and Moko Reply

  • July 2, 2020 12:06pm

    We are swimming in Japanese cucumbers in the field and reseeded mint in the garden so I think this will need to be a nightly cocktail experience with the killer mezcal I have (is that wasteful for the mezcal?). I can serve it non-alcoholic style for the Japanese kids at Saturday all day class. They eat (or drink) anything up. Thank your and Moko for this. Not sure when I can get back to Paris but I suppose living in Japan will make that a little sooner than if I lived in the US. N Reply

    • jane
      July 3, 2020 2:12am

      LOVE your work – a joy to hear about your farm and that you all are well! Reply

  • Joan Garneau
    July 2, 2020 1:41pm

    Excellent! with Scrabble… Reply

  • Jane Bauer
    July 2, 2020 4:11pm

    I made the drink immediately after watching you live with Moko. I’ve since made it 3 more times. It is so refreshing. I think it may be my summer go to afternoon drink. I haven’t tried it with Mezcal yet but that would have to be an evening drink and my evenings are for wine. It was fun watching you with Moko’s children underfoot. Your live shows definitely put a big smile on my face. Please keep doing them. Reply

  • Betty
    July 2, 2020 5:34pm

    How would it be with lemon? Reply

  • PZ
    July 2, 2020 7:12pm

    The kids and I just made this for our lunch. It is so tasty! I wasn’t sure they would like it but they loved it. I will made another batch later today for a pre-dinner cocktail. Reply

    • PZ
      July 3, 2020 1:55am

      Made some with tequila and my goodness gracious, this will be my favorite summer drink Reply

  • Adrienne
    July 2, 2020 8:51pm

    I had something like this in a mexican restaurant in Boston once, although it had a jalepeno and tequila. Was so good! Will try your recipe this weekend. Reply

  • Susan Allen
    July 2, 2020 9:54pm

    How long will the base keep in the fridge. I have been making cucumber/mint/ginger water, but the mint discolors after a wile Reply

    • July 2, 2020 10:07pm
      David Lebovitz

      I’ve had mine in the refrigerator for 3 days and it still tastes fine to me. Reply

      • Sarah Ghiz Korwan
        July 3, 2020 6:05pm

        Just in time for July 4th, can’t wait!!
        Thanks for this and you fabulous blog and books! Reply

  • jane
    July 3, 2020 2:07am

    omgosh your picture of cucumber mint and lime is so refreshing right now that it actually gave me a shiver of delight, lol. I will be mmm…aking this tomorrow after the farmers market haul (decidedly MASKED – it is crazytime in the US). Reply

  • Minni
    July 3, 2020 2:14am

    For a different taste, you can also use 1/2 mint and 1/2 coriander (cilantro) leaves as well. Reply

  • July 3, 2020 3:56am

    Thank you David!
    Changes we had to make:
    Cucumber: 10 oz (3 homegrown organic Munchers- but we should have used more)
    Fresh Mint Leaves: Chocolate Mint
    Limes: Zest from 1 med Organic Orange & Organic Lime Juice (home-squeezed) Because: we had no limes- only fresh oranges and previously squeezed lime juice in the freezer. We tried the “lunch” version and the cocktail with Tequila. And we enjoyed it! Reply

  • Annie Green
    July 3, 2020 12:41pm

    Going to make this pronto. May try with a dash of some booze later for the Friday pm cocktail hour. Health drink, I believe. Reply

  • July 3, 2020 4:03pm

    A perfect summer drink! Great use of my mint and the cucumbers people are giving me from their garden! Reply

  • heidih
    July 3, 2020 4:03pm

    Still quite cool here in Los Angeles (58F at 7am) but I am out to water the mint and can get lovely limes and cukes from farmers market (they are open w/ distancing and NO touching) I like having some go to options when it heats up. Thanks! Reply

  • Siobhan
    July 4, 2020 12:10am

    Question! Am I mistaken that Moko put the entire lime in the vitamix? Wondering if I can do the same or
    too much pith? Making as you detail for mezcal cocktails c’est soir. Thanks Reply

    • July 5, 2020 1:31pm
      David Lebovitz

      No, she didn’t; just the juice and the zest. Reply

  • Ben M.
    July 5, 2020 1:15am

    Made this yesterday and it was really tasty. I found that, as I was blending it, sour lime dominated, so I added the maximum suggested sugar. By the next day, it tasted mellower and sweeter. So I’d suggest waiting a little bit (maybe even 10 minutes) to allow all these great flavors to mesh before consuming or deciding on how much sugar to add. This was super-refreshing both with Mezcal last night and with water this afternoon paired with a BLT (based on the sandwich focus of Mokoloco, this seemed apropos). Reply

  • Tim SF Christopher
    July 5, 2020 2:59am

    I just made this and it is lovely. Will try with basil next time. The video with Moko inspired me. I could watch her all afternoon. She is talented but genuinely humble and warm. Plus the special effects: phones ringing, street traffic, and kids’ voices. Real life, not in a studio. very charming. Reply

    • July 5, 2020 1:33pm
      David Lebovitz

      It was quite “real” – her husband Omar was also following along from afar (at a table on the sidewalk outside) with the kids, who decided to come inside on their own. I was glad I was them hunched behind me…if I had backed up quickly on that crowded space, I might have taken quite a tumble, on camera! ;) Reply

  • Lainie
    July 6, 2020 3:34pm

    Hi. For the 4th we served this at lunch with Prosecco over ice. Absolutely irresistible! Thank you! Reply

  • Brad McNeal
    July 7, 2020 3:54am

    Only have an old cheap Oster, no Vitamix, used the B&D processor. Turned out fine, looked darker green than Moko’s in the video. Maybe vitamix added some “froth”? Thank god my years old mint plant is doing great in 110° heat here in Phoenix. Lots more free mint available! Reply

  • Miriam
    July 9, 2020 1:34am

    I made this cucumber mint base and added vodka and splash of club soda to it. Amazing! Reply

  • Dace
    September 3, 2020 3:33pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this recipe. I needed more creative recipes to use the Armenian cucumbers and pineapple mint growing in my garden. I love their flavors and am always looking for ways to highlight them. This recipe is an excellent way to do that. With the heat and humidity of summer, I’ve been keep a container of this base in the refrigerator to mix with water and ice as needed. Summer in a glass! Reply

  • Jennie
    September 15, 2020 5:08am

    I love cucumber drinks, and it was an added delight to use our garden-grown cucumbers and mint to make this delicious drink. We had with gin and seltzer, but someone mentioned prosecco, which sounds even better! Reply

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