Cucumber Pepper Collins

A refreshing, clean cocktail with a spicy twist.

Looking for a refreshing but flavorful spring cocktail? Look no further – the Cucumber Pepper Collins checks all the boxes.

As the weather changes and we can no longer hide under bulky sweaters and sweats anymore, I find myself looking for clean cocktails to lighten things up… ahem.

So what makes a “clean cocktail?”

You will never see me turning to diet mixers or mystery powders in order to save some calories. And I know, never say never. But seriously, NEVER. I would rather stick with real, natural ingredients.

An image of a cucumber gin cocktail in a glass

In my book clean cocktails consist of:

  • High quality, low sugar spirits like vodka, gin, tequila and whiskey. There is a definitely a place for sugary liqueurs at my bar but I try to avoid those, or use as little as possible when keeping it clean.
  • Fresh mixers with few added ingredients like fresh squeezed juices, organic if possible and no added sugar.
  • A natural sweetener when needed and the least amount I can get away with to do the job. I like to start with less than I think I will need and add more only if necessary. Honey, simple syrup, agave and maple syrup are my go to.

Let’s begin with the simple syrup

Start by making the agave simple syrup so you can set aside to cool. (I like agave in this recipe but you could also use simple syrup or honey. Just use equal amounts water and your sweetener of choice.)

Mix ¼ cup agave with ¼ cup water in a small saucepan. Over low to medium heat, cook until the honey just dissolves and incorporates with the water. Do not allow to boil. Cool on the stove or in the fridge.

While your simple syrup cools gather your other ingredients

Good quality gin of your choice. Fresh cucumber, I prefer a thinner skinned English hothouse cucumber. If you go with a thicker, waxy skinned version you may want to take off about half the peel. Aleppo pepper flakes are easily found in the spice section of most grocery stores. It is the pepper and “spice” in this drink but it is not spicy hot. It has a subtle, almost smoky flavor. Lemon juice and celery bitters. I prefer the Fee Brothers celery bitters but, if you cannot get your hands on any, a little celery seed and regular bitters is a substitute. You can also omit this altogether. It will still be great

In a shaker with a few ice cubes, combine your gin, the slices of cucumber, Aleppo pepper and the bitters.

Clean ingredients
Muddle in the shaker very well. You want to really get the cucumber and Aleppo essence in here. The best way to get something’s essence?

Pulverize it!

Once you have muddled to oblivion, double strain into a Collins glass filled with ice.

Pro-tip, don’t skip this step. Especially if you are using celery seeds. Nothing ruins a cocktail quite like having to stop to chew odd bits and getting sh*t stuck in your teeth. Get to know your Hawthorne strainer. As you pour out of the shaker through the Hawthorne strainer, hold a fine mesh strainer over your cocktail glass. Et voila, double strained.

Add to your Collins glass, then add the lemon juice and the agave simple syrup. Stir well and top with club soda. Garnish with a cucumber slice and a few Aleppo pepper flakes.

I hope you enjoy this refreshing, clean cocktail with a spicy twist. Keep an eye out for more summertime clean cocktails for your hot girl summer enjoyment.

Cheers image

Cucumber Pepper Collins

Recipe by Hello Five o'clockDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Total time



A refreshing, clean cocktail with a spicy twist


  • 2 oz gin

  • 3 slices of cucumber plus one for garnish

  • ⅓ tsp aleppo pepper flakes

  • 3 dashes celery bitters

  • 1 oz lemon juice

  • 1 Tbsp agave simple syrup

  • Club soda


  • Make simple syrup: combine ¼ cup agave and ¼ cup water in a small saucepan. Heat on low to medium low just until the agave dissolves and incorporates with water. Do not boil. Set aside to cool on stovetop or in fridge.
  • In a shaker combine gin, cucumber slices, aleppo pepper flakes and celery bitters. Muddle vigorously for 30 seconds or more. Double strain into a collins glass filled with ice.
  • To glass, add lemon juice and simple syrup. Top with club soda and gently stir. Garnish with slice of cucumber and a few flakes of aleppo pepper.

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