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50 Drinks in 50 States: Cucumber Martini in Idaho

Get inspired to drink your way across America (without ever leaving your backyard) with Margaritaville’s 50 Drinks in 50 States series.

As the gluten free craze (anyone who actually eats gluten-free would be angry that I just called it a craze) continues to sweep the nation, I would assume the folks from Idaho are the most happy about it – or at least have the most to gain. After all, if “potato” isn’t your first associated word when I say Idaho, I’d be willing to bet it’s your second. Still struggling to find the link? Well it turns out you can make great vodka from potatoes, and as traditional vodka is not naturally gluten-free (but potatoes sure are), this is a boon for the gluten-eschewing set.

Russia has been making potato-based vodka for eons, and we’re finally getting in on the game. Some brands now use corn, and Grand Teton and 44 Degrees North are distilleries in Idaho producing top-grade potato vodkas, naturally gluten free of course. I can think of lots of things to do with potatoes – make them into fries, mash them into buttery oblivion, or deep fry thin slivers and assault with salt, but none of these methods can make the tough times a little easier and the fun times a bit rowdier.

The cucumber martini below perfectly captures the direction our drinks seem to be headed – savory and spicy taking precedence over sweet. This, of course, goes hand in hand with current cuisine – fat is back and sugar is the devil. I say life works best in moderation, unless of course you have an inability to digest gluten, and then it’s potato vodka from Idaho for you. Aren’t we all lucky it tastes this good and goes down this easily?

Cucumber Martini


  • 2 oz Potato Vodka
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 3 slices peeled Cucumber
  • 3 drops green Tabasco
  • Fresh cilantro


  • Muddle cilantro, cucumber, syrup and lemon juice in a shaker
  • Add vodka
  • Shake and double strain
  • Add Tabasco to taste
  • Garnish with cucumber wheel and serve in a martini glass