Friends are over for a meal on this summer afternoon, and we start with cocktails on the front porch. I guess you could say I'm an old-fashioned girl: I like front porches and drinks served in Grandmother's cut-glass tumblers.
It's a lucky thing I've planned ahead and have a jar of bourbon and fruit on its way to becoming Southern Succor. For six weeks, fresh peaches and lemon peel will soak in Kentucky bourbon; the infused mixture will then be strained and combined with simple syrup and aged for two more weeks. This ambrosia can be served in a myriad of ways -- on its own, in cocktails, in grown-up ice cream desserts, or as a glaze for grilled meats.
Adapted from "American Home Cooking" by Cheryl and Bill Jamison
- 6 peaches, peeled and chopped into chunks
- Zest and juice of one lemon
- 750 milliliters bourbon whiskey
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- In a large glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, place peaches, lemon zest and juice. Cover with whiskey, seal jar and place in refrigerator to steep for up to six weeks.
- After six weeks, open jar and strain out the fruit and zest. Press lightly to get all the good stuff out, but not so much as to push the fruit into the liquid. Discard the fruit. Pour the liquid back into the jar.
- In a saucepan, combine sugar and water and bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then cool to room temperature. Add the sugar syrup to the bourbon, return to the refrigerator and let age for another two weeks before using.
- The peachy bourbon may be between steps 1 and 2, but is still delicious in an Old-Fashioned, the legendary first drink to be called a "cocktail." It's sweet and fruity, and just perfect for viewing the sunset from the front porch.
Joey is a mixologist and philosopher and this is his version of an Old-Fashioned, with the exception of the lemon -- he uses orange. Because he lives in the South, he'll sometimes finish the drink with tea instead of water.
- In an Old-Fashioned glass (a short tumbler), place maraschino cherries, a wedge of lemon and a teaspoon of sugar. Muddle. Pour 2 ounces of peach whiskey, then a splash of water. Stir and garnish with lemon and cherry.