I’m not ready to admit it, but I’ve heard through the grapevine that summer is almost over. And being that I’m a person who uses avoidance as a coping mechanism, I’m focussing on what’s here right now. Some might call that mindfulness, and I’ll take it, because being in the moment of this hot, sticky summer day means that I get to wipe my mouth with the back of my hand while eating juicy peach after juicy peach over my kitchen sink. It means going to the farmers’ market on Saturday morning to buy De La Terre’s multi-seed sourdough for one last (really awesome) tomato sandwich. (I mean yes, I now know how to make my own sourdough bread, but I can’t even fathom turning my oven on more than is necessary. (Plus, their bread really is the bees knees.) But I digress; let’s get back to the peaches for a moment. I have 2 fantastic cocktails to share with you and they both involve peaches: One for now because (duh) it’s peach season, and one for later because I’m aiming to keep the essence of peach season within my grasp year-round. (Not very mindful at all, I realize.) Either way, I really think you’re going to love them!
If you’re looking for a refreshing summer sip, drink number one, a Peachy Mint Shandy, can be made right now. You’ve probably even got everything in your house already. If, on the other hand, you (also) want a drink that when the cold months come in, warms your belly, highlights the winter-y citrus, but still conjures images of summer ripe peaches, then drink number two, a Peach Old-Fashioned, is one quick trick away from being yours. The key ingredient: peach-infused bourbon. You will thank me for this later! If you’re not a bourbon drinker, dare I say, you might be one after tasting this sweet peachy concoction
So why all the cocktails? Two reasons. (1) I finished chef school! This means that I finally have some time to be here(!!). (2) I finished chef school and I feel like celebrating. And if you’re still here reading this blog after my prolonged (school-induced) absences over the past while, then you are the first ones to be invited. Seriously, I am super grateful for you being here.
- [b]Peachy Mint Shandy[/b] – makes 2 drinks
- 1 whole peach, pitted and cut into slices
- 15 fresh mint leaves, give or take
- 1/2 oz cointreau, divided
- 1 bottle of pilsner-style beer (I used [url href="http://www.lakefrontbrewery.com/beer/year-round/new-grist" target="_blank"]this gluten-free one[/url], which I really like)
- Squeeze of lime, optional
- A peach slice and sprig of mint for garnishing, optional
- [b]Peach Old Fashioned[/b] – makes 2 drinks
- 2 slices of frozen peach (about 1/8th of a peach), thawed (*See note below)
- 1 tsp raw honey, divided
- 3 oz peach-infused bourbon, divided (**See recipe below)
- 1/2 oz cointreau, divided
- A few drops of orange bitters (I like [url href="http://66gileaddistillery.com/" target="_blank"]this one[/url] because of its really bright flavour and clean list of ingredient.)
- Another slice of peach (fresh or frozen) or a couple of Maraschino cherries for garnish, optional
- [b]Peachy Mint Shandy[/b]
- In a tall, sturdy glass or cocktail shaker, muddle together the peach slices and mint until very juicy and almost completely pureed.
- Strain the juice through a fine-mesh sieve and split it between 2 beer or collins glasses filled with ice.
- Pour 1/4 oz cointreau into each glass.
- Top each glass with 1/2 a bottle of beer and gently stir until combined. Taste, and add a squeeze of lime, if desired.
- Garnish with a peach slice and sprig of mint, if you wanna be fancy.
- [b]Peach Old Fashioned[/b]
- Divide the peaches and honey evenly between 2 old fashioned glasses. Muddle together until the peaches release their juices and the honey gets combined.
- Add 3-4 large ice cubes into each glass and pour in 1.5 oz of bourbon, 1/4 oz cointreau, and 2 drops of bitters into each glass. Stir to combine.
- Garnish with a slice of peach or a couple of Maraschino cherries, if you’re feeling dirty.
- *I use [url href="http://livesimply.me/2013/04/10/how-to-freeze-peaches-the-easy-way/" target="_blank"]this super simple method[/url] to freeze peaches (and other fruit) at the end of summer so that I can have them all year round.
- **With clean hands, choose 2 ripe, but still firm peaches. Be careful that they’re not bruised. Bruised fruit ferments much more quickly. Wash and cut the peaches in half and remove the pits. Place them in a clean canning jar and top with your favourite bourbon, making sure that they’re completely submerged. (Don’t press on the fruit to release any juices. It will make the alcohol cloudy.) Allow the bourbon to sit in a dark cupboard for at least few weeks before tasting it. Once you’ve reached the desired infusion level, discard the fruit and store it in the fridge. It should keep for a few months.