Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fresh Peach and Ginger Beer Cocktail

I am currently sitting in my apartment drinking a cocktail.

I rarely ever drink cocktails because, quite frankly, I don't like the taste of most alcohol.  This is very prohibitive to my drinking.  I love looking at the drink descriptions at bars and speakeasies, but most of the time when I actually taste the drinks, the vodka/tequila/rum/whatever hard liquor it is ends up making me wish I ordered a virgin.  Of course most of the time if you go to a bar and try to do that you'll get weird looks.  So this is why sometimes I find it's nice to just fix myself a drink to enjoy at home, while reading a book on the very comfortable couch that B. and I bought.

Recently I've actually been making a lot of these "mocktails" all thanks to the beauty that is my new hand held blender (also called a stick blender or an immersion blender).  Given all the wonderful fresh fruit that is in season right now, I've taken to making drinks built on various fruit purees.  While it's easy to use sparkling water as a base, I also love using ginger beer.
Ginger beer, generally, is not actually alcoholic, and in my experience, tends to just be synonymous with ginger ale (though I'm sure some experts out there will know be able to explain the difference, I shall not feign knowledge of things when I am truly ignorant).  I find that the slight "bite" and spiciness of ginger beer works as a great addition to all fruit bases.  One of the "mocktails" I've made is a lovely plum, ground cinnamon, honey, and ginger beer drink, which I think would be a great pre-dinner drink in the fall (maybe even before Thanksgiving?).  A summer-flavored mocktail I made had raspberries, lime juice, cane sugar, and ginger beer.  This was lovely, although I did discover an unpleasantly large amount of raspberry seeds in the bottom of my glass, which I did not consume.

This particular cocktail that I am sharing today combines the classic flavors of peach, vanilla, and ginger, which to me are all the things that should be in a good peach pie or cobbler.  It captures the quintessential elements of summer in a glass.  If you are so inclined to add alcohol to this, vanilla rum (aka vanilla extract in the making; see my previous post) also is a delicious addition.

In order to make this, if you don't have an immersion blender, go ahead and pull out the big guns; you can easily double this recipe and make it in a normal blender.  If you don't use all of the fruit puree, you can save it in the fridge for another day; it will keep for at least 3 days.

 Fresh Peach and Ginger Beer Cocktail
makes two martini glasses (easily scaled up as needed)

2 peaches
1-2 teaspoons vanilla sugar or regular granulated sugar
splash of vanilla rum or regular rum (recommended: Bicardi Gold Dark Rum)
1 bottle of ginger beer (recommended: Reed's Extra Ginger Brew)

The ratios here are just suggestions.  I like my cocktails a little fruitier than some.  The amount of sugar you need to use will also depend on how ripe and sweet your peaches are.
For each of my cocktails, I used about 3 tablespoons of peach puree (that's a little less than one peach), 1/2 tsp of vanilla sugar, 1 tsp of rum.  Shake this in a cocktail shaker with some ice and then pour into a martini glass.  Top with ginger beer.

Optional: if you're feeling extra fancy, omit the sugar in the cocktail and instead just rim your cocktail glasses with some sugar.  (If you don't know how, this video is short and great.)

Now that you have this idea though, you can run wild with it!  Combine any fruit purees of your choosing, some ginger beer (or sparkling water), and an alcohol of your choice for a great cocktail.
And, before I go, I'll share one last little trick with you: if you want an easy way to clean your stick blender without risking cutting yourself, just fill a cup with some warm water and a few drops of dish soap and blend for 30 seconds, then rinse.  Presto!
Happy Wednesday!

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