Peaches are summer to me, and sipping on a peach highball in hot weather on an open porch on the weekend is pure heaven. I’m craving peaches right now as we get into warmer weather, but not just any peaches. I want those ripe Peach Truck peaches from Georgia dripping with juices. The ones that ruin me for grocery store peaches the rest of the year.
It’s been a rough few months, and as much as I’d like to pretend we’re OK and everything’s fine, it’s not. As a result, I’ve gone through my frozen peach truck stash from last year much faster than usual, and I’m having to pull from frozen grocery store peaches. They are adequate, and they will get me through. But come mid-June, I’ll be reveling in fresh Georgia peaches. But I still wanted to share this recipe with you now.
I named this one It Ain’t All Sunshine and Peaches because it has been rough and will continue to be rough for months or years for many of us. (Bonus points to those of you who got the Rocky reference.) But, personally, I’ll be looking forward to those Georgia peaches and a few weeks in summer where I can eat peaches for breakfast, lunch and dinner while my whole house smells amazing. It might not be OK right now, but we will get through this together, especially with peaches on hand.
On to the cocktail, for this one, the perfect match was Willett three year old rye. It’s one of my favorite ryes, very sweet and with stone fruit aromas and lots of fruitiness on the palate. Very easy to sip on neat, but also lovely in a cocktail, especially one that plays up to its strengths. I do get baking spices on the nose as well, so it makes for a lovely pairing in this.
If you don’t have a Willett rye, or it’s not a good match for your palate, look for a rye whiskey with a coating mouth feel, fruit forward on the palate and a little lingering spice on the nose. Or just try out a few different ones until you get the flavor combination that speaks to you. This cocktail also works with bourbon, but I’m used to seeing bourbon and peach combinations, and I wanted to broaden horizons a bit today and educate that rye can be a fabulous match with peaches as well.
Now, in addition to using some frozen peaches as ice cubes (which are lovely to fish out at the end of the cocktail and eat as bourbon-infused treats), I’m adding Giffard’s Peche du Vigne to add the peach notes and I much prefer that over a simple peach schnapps. It has a brighter and more flavorful sweetness to it. However, if you have a local distillery making a peach liqueur you love, by all means, buy local. I have already gone through a bottle of this peach liqueur over the past 9 months, and it’s a liqueur that will be a staple for anything that needs peach flavors.
Now this turns out very sweet in the glass, so I added some Crude Bitters “Lindsay” – with pecan, magnolia and habanero flavors in it. They balance out the sweetness, add some floral and nutty notes, but aren’t so aggressive they take over the cocktail.
For garnish, both basil and mint will work here, along with fresh peach slices (once they’re in season). Use what you have, it’s a highball and it’s not supposed to be a lot of work.
(For those of you curious about the other recipes in the Quarantine Series, I’ll put them here before you skim past to get to the recipe. Quarantine Donut cocktails ( Maple Caramel Long John, Pecan Sticky Bun cocktail and Blueberry Cake Donut, Boston Cream Cocktail and Apple Fritter Cocktail). Quarantine Juleps, (Breakfast Julep, the Pineapple Sage Rum Julep, Elvis Julep (peanut butter-banana), Root Beer Float Julep, and the Persian Julep (rose-apricot) ), Quarantine Old Fashioneds (Breakfast Wakey Wakey, Smoke and Spice, Home School, Taco Truck, and Campari/Bitter Lessons ), Quarantine Manhattans (Balanced Perfection (Perfect Manhattan), Coffee Manhattan, Chocolate Ginger Manhattan, French Quarter Manhattan, and the Caramel Orange Manhattan.), Quarantine Whiskey Sours (Blackberry Sunset, Whiskey Tiki, Blue Mood Orange, Ya Basic, and Peach Rosemary), and Quarantine Smashes (Whiskey Smash, Blackberry Sage Smash, Pineapple Tiki Smash, Strawberry Basil Smash and the Coffee Cherry Smash.)
It Ain’t All and Sunshine and Peaches – Peach Highball
- 2 oz Willett Rye
- ½ oz Giffard Peche du Vinge
- 4 oz ginger ale
- 8 drops Crude bitters “Lindsay”
- Garnish: basil sprig or mint sprig, frozen peaches (optional)
- Add ice to a highball glass. If you are using frozen peaches, add them to the glass intermittently between ice cubes. Add rye, peach liqueur and bitters, stir a few times. Top with ginger and stir one last time. Spank the mint or basil lightly against your wrist and add it to the glass as a garnish with a fresh peach slice if available.