Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Something Borrowed (Ginger Peach Peppermint Juleps)

This post is also available as an article in the 5/30/2012 Williamsport Sun Gazette.

Last year, during our annual 4th of July barbecue with friends Laura and Geoff, I played bartender for our taste test of potential signature cocktails for their wedding. I believe I insisted on mojitos as a contender, which everyone liked, but just didn't fit. There was also the Vodka Lola, a fruity little number spiked with elderflower liqueur. Tasty, but we agreed it was potentially offensive to the masculine dignity of some guests. After several misfires and false starts, magic happened: the ginger peach peppermint julep.

Can you see the appeal?
This take on a classic Southern mint julep is perfect for sipping on shady porches during lazy summer afternoons - the kind ringing with the drone of honeybees and perfumed with the smell of freshly cut grass in the air.  As the temperature begins to climb, ginger peach peppermint juleps are a great way to beat the heat. Be careful, though, these also pack a subtle, but surprising, punch. You may not taste it, but there's a fair amount of booze in here.

Just peachy
Sweetened with a hit of peach schnapps and studded with slices of fresh, juicy peaches, familiar base notes of peppermint leaves and a judicious amount of glowing, caramel bourbon take on new life. The ice and peppermint help cool things down and the addition of ginger ale adds crisp flavor and refreshing effervescence. The end result is fresh, fruity, and sweet, but balanced enough to accommodate even the manliest of men.

RAWR! James smash!
The great thing about cocktails is they're usually quick and easy to make, while also being infinitely expandable. This recipe easily sizes up to lubricate a crowd. If I were planning ahead, I'd marinate the peaches and mint in the booze overnight, to really infuse the flavor. There's also a subtle alchemy to tweaking ingredients and measurements, disaster may result, but feel free to experiment.

Drink me
Ginger peach peppermint juleps
Adapted from Dirty Gourmet

James Bond may prefer "shaken, not stirred" but since you're already muddling peaches and peppermint to begin with, stir merrily away.

1/2 fresh ripe peach, sliced
10-14 fresh peppermint leaves
2 oz bourbon whiskey
1 oz peach schnapps
8 oz ginger ale (to fill, depending on your glass, you may have extra)

Toss the peaches and peppermint into a tall, chilled glass.

"Preferably with the morning dew still upon them"
Pour in the bourbon and schnapps, then muddle together, bruising the mint and pressing some juice from the peaches. As mentioned above, you can also prepare this ahead.

Be prepared
Fill the glass with ice, then top off with ginger ale. Stir.

Another reason to avoid shaking
Garnish with fresh mint sprigs.



Unknown said...

Looks and tastes fabulous!

Jp1083 said...

Thanks! I am, of course, an immense fan of these. A fancier ginger ale could probably make them even better.