Cucumber is becoming a popular ingredient in cocktails, and some enthusiasts have taken to infusing vodka with the green gourd.

Cucumber is becoming a popular ingredient in cocktails, and some enthusiasts have taken to infusing vodka with the green gourd.

But infusions take time - and I'm fairly impatient - so I picked up a bottle of the new Effen Cucumber Vodka to see if the latest booze craze measured up to the hype.

First off, cucumber vodka isn't meant for sipping on the rocks unless you really, really like cucumber. The taste isn't particularly pleasing, although it does live up its name, Effen, which is Dutch for "smooth."

This non-fruity flavored vodka is designed to be used in a cocktail. And with the weather getting warmer soon, cucumber vodka cocktails offer a refreshingly crisp beverage perfect for sipping outside on a nice evening.

Brainstorming ideas for cocktails, two ingredients immediately jumped out at me: basil and watermelon.

Slightly sweet watermelon juice added some zip to the mild cucumber, while the muddled basil gave off a wonderful aroma. A combination of the two with the vodka turned out tastier than expected, but the cocktail I thought up while standing in the produce aisle was even better.

While picking up limes - I grabbed a bunch of things to experiment with - I noticed some delicious-looking, plump strawberries.

Strawberries and basil were a good start, and then I discovered the finishing touch - Dry Rhubarb Soda. Dry's clear sodas use natural ingredients and minimal pure sugar cane. The result is a great mixer that's reminiscent of Clearly Canadian, only less sweet.

I mixed the rhubarb variety with the vodka, some muddled strawberries and basil. Garnished with a cucumber spear or strawberry, it's a treat to sip.

This cucumber vodka probably isn't for everyone, but if you're looking to create some tasty, not-too-sweet cocktails this spring, give it a shot.

Recipes

Watermelon Basil Cocktail:

2 oz. Effen Cucumber Vodka

2-3 oz. watermelon juice

2-3 sprigs basil

Directions: Muddle basil and add other ingredients to shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and pour over ice in an old fashioned glass. Garnish with cucumber spear or watermelon wedge.

Strawberry Rhubarb Cocktail

2 oz. Effen Cucumber Vodka

2 oz. Dry Rhubarb Soda

3 strawberries

2-3 sprigs basil

Directions: Muddle basil and strawberries together and add with other ingredients to shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and pour over ice in an old fashioned glass. Garnish with cucumber spear or strawberry.