After taking some time to travel the world for our belated honeymoon, I’m back to share some exciting summer entertaining cocktails with you. Conveniently, you’ll have these recipes just in time to create an unforgettable 4th of July party!
For us, summer is all about spending time outdoors with friends and enjoying the fresh flavors and availability of seasonal fruit and herbs. It helps to have a rooftop garden with over 10 different herbs just a few steps away! If you enjoy herbal flavors in your cocktails, growing herbs is a much more cost-effective way to satisfy your palette.
Don’t have a green thumb? In my experience, mint is the heartiest and easiest to maintain! It's a great first step to creating your own self-replenishing herb garden.
My first recipe in the summer entertaining series incorporates an herb that’s as beautiful as it is fragrant – lavender. I’ve found lavender to be a great cocktail addition in syrup form and wanted to test out pairing it with a fresh summer fruit as a next step. Peaches came to mind as I thought the natural syrupy sweetness would be nicely offset with some herbal freshness.
I’ve learned through multiple iterations of this cocktail that the flavor profile is heavily driven by the ripeness of the peaches. Less ripe peaches will yield a more herbal result while more ripe peaches will create a fruit-forward cocktail. You can try to pick ones out based on smell and firmness but it’s hard to be sure until you bite in (which can be an awkward testing approach at the grocery store).
I started this cocktail by creating a peach, lavender and brown sugar syrup. While simple syrup recipes typically call for a 1:1 ratio of liquid to sugar, this syrup gets most of its sweetness from the peaches. The touch of brown sugar just rounds it off with a nice, caramel flavor. This recipe is a spin on a whiskey sour but the syrup is also fantastic with sparkling wine or vodka. I suggest making it in bulk and keeping it on hand for future concoctions.
I wanted something tart, yet refreshing and easy to make in bulk. Cold brewed tea is always a great mixer for that purpose as you typically have everything you need to make it on hand and it tames otherwise boozy cocktails without watering down the flavor profile.
The resulting mix of peach, lavender, tea, bourbon and lemon is a wonderfully peachy, slightly herbal, refreshing whiskey sour.
The Boardwalk Bay
- 2 oz bourbon
- 2 oz peach lavender syrup*
- 2 oz cold brewed black tea**
- 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
- lavender sprig (if available)
If making 1-4 drinks, mix all ingredients in a shaker, shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass over a large ice cube. If making in bulk, adjust recipe for the desired number of servings and mix in a large pitcher. Serve over ice while frolicking under glorious summer sunset.
* To create peach lavender syrup, cut up 8 small peaches and place in a medium pot with 1/3 cup of brown sugar and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally. It will take about half an hour for the peaches to start to break apart when you press on them with a spoon. At that point, add a heaping tablespoon of dried lavender and boil for about 5 more minutes. Strain the syrup by pouring through a fine mesh strainer and pressing down on the peach mash with a large mixing spoon to extract all of the liquid. You can bottle up what you don't use and store in the fridge for around 2 weeks.
** To make cold brewed black tea, follow a ratio of roughly 1 tea bag to 8 oz room temperature water. Allow to steep for 30-40 minutes. Cold brewed tea can also be stored in the fridge for future use.