Sunday, November 17, 2013
Pêche Bourbon - a Peach State-y sort of Old Fashioned.
I’ve been a resident of Georgia - the Peach State - for close to a third of my lifetime. A five-year stint in the early- to mid-1980’s, along with the last fifteen years just six miles east-northeast of the Big Chicken... it adds up. One would think that I like peaches and peach-flavored foods. One would be correct.
And yet for all that my adopted home touts itself as the Peach State, it no longer is the leading producer of peaches in this country, having been eclipsed by California and South Carolina. (New Jersey, number four, is the home of the Raritan white peach, possibly the finest example of that fruit I have ever tasted.) Nevertheless, Georgia still has a peach festooning its license tag and its Statehood Quarter, along with four hundred eighty-seven roads carrying names that are variants of “Peachtree.” Old habits die hard.
Most people who are looking for a peach-based cocktail ingredient will get off the highway at the Peachtree Schnapps exit. That’s too bad, because there are far better drinks out there.
I found a wonderful example buried in the pages of Speakeasy, the excellent cocktail compendium by Jason Kosmas and Dushan Zaric. It’s the Pêche Bourbon, and it’s easy enough to make with a bit of advance preparation... about three or four days’ worth.
What you do is get a dozen or so dried peaches (sulfur-free!) and stick ’em in a big ol’ Mason jar with a fifth of good bourbon. Let the jar sit on the counter for three or four days, then strain out the peaches and keep the tasty peach-infused bourbon. (Dried peaches work well here because of their concentrated peach flavor; do not substitute fresh peaches.)
To assemble the drink, season a chilled Old Fashioned glass with peach liqueur. Set aside. In a cocktail shaker, muddle together one Demerara sugar cube, a half-teaspoon of superfine granulated sugar, three or four dashes each of Peychaud’s bitters and peach bitters. Add two ounces of your peach-infused bourbon and a couple of ice cubes. Stir well and strain into your prepared glass. Add an ice cube or two if you wish. Garnish with a sprig of mint and you’re good to go.
It looks somewhat like the bastard child of an Old Fashioned and a mint julep, but it is neither of those things. It is strong, it is seductive, and it is most definitely peachy... in every sense.