Peach season is here in the northeast! Amanda and I went peach picking at Wilkins Fruit and Fir farm in Yorktown Heights last weekend, just as some of the trees were ripening. They should be in full-swing now. 🍑
If you went peach picking over Labor Day weekend, have plans to go this week, or just have a bunch of peaches from the store to use, here is what we did with them:
When I was in Charleston a few weeks ago, I drank some peach bourbon in an Old Fashioned. It held up well, so I thought it would be fun to make some at home.
I know from experience that infusing liquor with dried fruit is better than fresh fruit, which gives off liquid and dilutes the final product. I diced up two peaches, put them on the dehydrator overnight, and then tossed the dried pieces in a mason jar with around 800ml of Old Grand-Dad Bonded for a week.
BONUS: Cook the bourbony peach pieces down into a syrup with some sugar and water for a wonderful ice cream topping or the sugar component in your Peach Old Fashioned. 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, and the boozy dried peaches. Bring to a simmer and stir for 3 minutes, then strain.
3. Peach, Burrata, Basil, and Balsamic salad
I was mindlessly surfing Instagram Stories one morning last week and came across a great idea from Black Sparrow Press: Peach, burrata, basil, and balsamic. We love burrata and had basil on-hand, so I caramelized some peaches in cast-iron and put together a salad. It was so good we made it a second time this weekend for breakfast. The second iteration had fresh mint and honey on it, too.
Make this year’s Christmas festivities special and make a batch of eggnog now and age it in your fridge for the next 73 days.
This stuff is so much better than the cartons you see in stores around the holidays. I talked my parents into making some around the beginning of December last year and it turned out great. It was even better around the beginning of January. The age improves it pretty quickly, rounding out the bite of the alcohol and blending the flavors together.
It probably isn’t worth the time and fridge space tradeoff aging it longer than 2-3 months. There is some disagreement on exactly when the aging peaks. I suggest a test in the spirit of science and fun: Make it now and split it into two containers. Drink one at Thanksgiving and the other at Christmas!
You need to get some decent alcohol, but there are so many flavors in eggnog that you don’t need to go top shelf. The subtleties that sets top-shelf liquor apart won’t shine in this drink. For bourbon, look for Old Heaven Hill Bottled in Bond, Old Fitzgerald, Four Roses Yellow Label, or Old Grand-Dad. For brandy, I usually grab E&J VSOP (the blue label) for mixing. To be honest, I’m not that knowledgeable about rum so I’m not going to make a recommendation. My parents prefer white rum, I prefer dark rum. Choose your favorite.
Don’t worry, there is enough alcohol in there to keep the bad bacteria away as long as you age it in the fridge. Use a gallon jug, two growlers, or a few large jars. Stir the mixture once every two weeks until Christmas.
To serve, make sure you pick up some whole nutmeg and use your micrograter to top each drink.
Here are some photos my parents sent me last month of mixing together this year’s batch. I think it is going to become a yearly tradition. There is nothing better than sipping a cup of this in front of the fireplace on a cold night. I’m excited to go home for Christmas!
Chuck’s note: This is a guest post from my friend Tyler Machovina. We have very similar tastes and he recommended this drink to me. The only drink-related thing we disagree on is whether the Negroni or Boulevardier is superior.
To continue on theme of potable bitters for hot summer days I present the Paper Plane: A deliciously dry pre-dinner aperitivo for when it is too hot to contemplate eating. Have one and it will probably have cooled off a bit. Still a bit balmy? Have another, or two. Who needs dinner anyway when there is Campari to be enjoyed?
I had some trouble tracking down a solid history for this drink but it seems it was invented by Sammy J Ross of Milk & Honey and originally calls for Buffalo Trace bourbon. Well, I had already spent $50 on Amaro Nonino on this trip so I decided on the still delicious and sweet Old Grand Dad. Don’t feel bad about buying cheap bourbon! Though Chuck may disagree with the State setting standards, anything labeled as bourbon in the US is held to a very high standard so you’ll probably never find anything too terrible for mixing. Of course, it all depends on the drink—I might not use OGD for an Old Fashioned, but a shaken cocktail with strong flavors like Campari, Nonino, and lemon juice I think the Grand Dad will work just fine.
As a shaken cocktail I recommend making the Paper Plane with a boston shaker and a Hawthorne strainer as those shakers with a built in strainer just make a mess and are a pain to clean. I would also advise double straining to keep the tiny ice shards out of the final drink – this gives a cleaner presentation and a smoother mouth feel.
Add equal parts (3/4 oz for one drink) of lemon juice, Amaro Nonino, Campari, and bourbon into a shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously for about twenty seconds. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass (or small wine glass). No garnish needed.
It’s possible the original recipe called for Aperol rather than Campari. The history of cocktails can be a bit… hazy. The Aperol variation is a bit sweeter and has a beautiful bright salmon color but lacks the refreshing grapefruit dryness that the Campari brings.
Can’t find Amaro Nonino? This recipe appears to be often misprinted with Ramazzotti rather than Nonino and apparently still yields tasty results.