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Cocktail, S’il Vous Plait

3 Easy Recipes for Fresh Summer Peaches

July means peach season in Ohio! And while it can be hard to find peaches grown locally (except at Quarry Hill Orchards, which is fantastic!), I always know when peaches are in season as the markets are full. Those beautiful fruits filling up the racks are just begging to be used in an infinite number of recipes. Today I’m sharing 3 of my favorite ways to use fresh peaches. First, I’m always up for trying a new cocktail so I concocted this Bourbon Peach-Tea Cooler. Second, I got hooked on this peach burrata salad I had a few weeks ago so I am making it again. And third, one of the easiest desserts you’ll ever make is a rustic tart with whatever fresh fruit is available – in this case, peaches! You could make any or all of these in one day. I dare say if you make them all at once it will be a veritable “peach feast”. 🙂 Let’s get started…

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How to Make Irish Coffee

It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, or as I like to call it – Irish Coffee time! I first discovered Irish coffees shortly out of college, when my former roommate dated and then married a first generation Irishman. After dinner at their house one night, he made us the most delicious coffee drink that not only highlighted the Jameson whiskey integral to its flavor, but introduced us to a new variation on whipping cream. Spooned onto the top of the coffee concoction, it somehow elevated this drink to a special treat that I have now returned to often.

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You Say Moscow, I Say Kentucky Mule

Kentucky Mule

Alright, everyone. It’s time to meet the last drink that inspired my Summertime Popup Bar – this one will take you right into fall, no problems. Of course, a Pimm’s Cup or French Mojito is still very refreshing! Today we’re talking “mules”; and I’m focused on my favorite variation, which is a Bourbon or Kentucky Mule. I’m sharing, because it’s a perfect night to sit on my deck and enjoy the still warm weather while watching a few leaves start to flutter down from the trees.

Kentucky Mule
A traditional mule is usually made with vodka, and so called a Moscow Mule. But I prefer the smoother, golden, almost honey-like taste that comes from good quality bourbon like Maker’s Mark or Woodford Reserve in this drink. You could use Crown Royal, a Canadian whiskey, but then what would we call it? a Toronto Mule? 🙂 I’ll stick with a Kentucky bourbon, s’il vous plait. Another variation on this drink is to use Captain Morgan’s Black Rum. But then it would be called a Dark and Stormy. All of these are delicious to try!

Kentucky Mule
The mixer for any of these variations is ginger beer. Not ginger ale; i.e., Canada Dry or Vernor’s. But yep, good quality, preferably small batch handcrafted ginger beer. The difference? Ginger beer is actually brewed and fermented while ginger ale is a carbonated beverage made from water, ginger, and sugar. Ginger beer often has a much stronger ginger flavor, and because it’s fermented, is usually less carbonated. Neither contain alcohol I should note and are delicious on their own! I preferred Gosling’s as a first rate ginger beer to start but since then have experimented with unique brands I find in different markets, like Fever Tree from England or Ithaca Brewing Co from New York (who also happens to make one of my favorite “real” beers, Flower Power!).

Kentucky Mule
But the best part of the Moscow, Bourbon, whatever Mule you like is the glass, or should I say the ever so cool and adorable copper mug! If you order one of these at a bar and they don’t serve it in a copper mug, I suggest you boycott them. Well, maybe just educate them that they need to buy some copper mugs! Who doesn’t want to drink a cold summertime (or fall) drink in a beautifully patina’d mug that glistens with condensation when you fill it with this delightful concoction. The “glass” may just make the drink, in this case. Ok friends, now cut up some limes, pick some mint leaves from your plant on your deck 🙂 and start mixing!

INGREDIENTS

2 oz bourbon
1/2 bottle ginger beer
lime wedges
garnish of mint leaves

DIRECTIONS

Fill a copper mug with ice. Pour in bourbon, top with ginger beer. Squeeze a wedge of lime into the glass and garnish with one on the rim. Add a sprig of mint and serve.

Et voila! Or should I say “saddle up, y’all”?! 🙂

French Mojito, Oui Oui

French Mojito

I think it might be time for another fun summertime drink.  Who’s ready for a mojito?!  Moi, s’il vous plait.  Hey, what is a mojito anyways?  A most delicious cocktail drink made with lime, mint, and rum.  Ahh yes, mes amis, but how do we make it French?  By using a delicate elderflower liqueur called St. Germain.  Alert the authorities!  Alert everyone!  The secret is out!  🙂

St. Germain

This wonderful elderflower liqueur called St. Germain is one of my favorite drink mixers.  The elderflower is a small, white flower that blooms in the spring and summer and is used in many European foods and drinks.  In the U.S., I have only seen it in this liqueur.  St. Germain is a French company, and the methods used to make it are still artisanal – flowers gathered in the alps, bicycled (yes!) to the store room where the flavors of the blooms are gently extracted.  The rest of their process is truly a secret!

French Mojito

St. Germain is slightly sweet with its mild floral flavor and compliments martinis, margaritas, and mojitos very well.  I use it to tone down a tart pear martini or a lime margarita.  A traditional mojito would use sugar or simple syrup and club soda along with the lime, mint, and rum.  But using St. Germain as the sweetener instead produces a divine, subtle, floral, and so very French variation!  Perfect for our p.s. bonjour crowd, don’t you think?

French Mojito
Luckily, we have all the ingredients from our Summertime Drink Popup Bar on hand.  And this is just another reason to grow a kitchen herb garden with at least one mint plant!  Add in beautifully etched glassware from the talented Leandra Drumm, and we are ready to create our cocktail.

INGREDIENTS

2 parts Rum
1 part St Germain
La Croix Lime – or sparkling water or club soda; I like the extra hit of lime flavor from the La Croix
small bunch mint leaves
half a lime, quartered
ice

DIRECTIONS

Place lime, mint, and St Germaine in the glass.  Muddle together with a muddler or long spoon handle.  Add cubed or crushed ice.  Pour rum over the ice.  Top with La Croix.  Stir.  Garnish with a slice of lime and sprig of mint.

French Mojito

Enjoy your French Mojito!  Et voila!

Summertime Drink Popup Bar

Summertime Drink Popup Bar

It seems right now that popups are everywhere – popup shops, restaurants, and more.  A popup is basically a temporary location for the company or idea to setup shop that might be because the owner doesn’t want to manage a consistent location, wants to try out a new location, or just wants to test a business concept.  I like the idea of popups because I get to try new food/drinks or shop for items I might not otherwise have found.

So why not take that idea and make a “summertime drink popup bar”!  My popup bar will be for a few types of similar drinks.  In the summertime, I tend to gravitate towards summery drinks, like a Pimm’s Cup, Moscow (or Bourbon) Mule, Dark and Stormy, or Mojito!  Hmm, I see a theme – these all have mint and/or lime, ice, some alcohol and a mixer.  My popup bar will be in place as long as I like it or maybe through the summer, who knows!  You could also just set it up for a specific party or some other drink theme you like – how about July 4 or Cinco de Mayo!

Now what will I use for the actual bar?  I love the idea of finding an old tea cart or library/rolling cart.  I have seen several at markets this summer from vendors like City Salvage, ampersandcle, and the Gallery Tremont.  Or how about using an old chest or nightstand you might find at a thrift store.  I have a metal baker’s rack that I’ve used for plants and other collections.  I think that will be a fine stand for my popup bar.  Ok, it’s time to stock it!

Summertime Drink Popup Bar

Glassware/Cups

I’ve outfitted my bar with glassware for the drinks I am focused on.  Moscow Mule is served in copper mugs (love these!).  Mojitos and Dark ‘n Stormy I like to serve in a tall pilsner or highball glass.  I pulled a few from our Leandra Drum collection and a few Hawaiian girl glasses.  For Pimm’s I use a stemmed water or wine glass.  I found the great Canada Dry box at Metheny Weir.  It’s the perfect place to store the glassware!

DSC01413 - Version 2

Alcohol

For my drink choices I need white rum, black rum, Pimm’s, vodka, St Germaine and bourbon.  You could certainly do a non-alcoholic popup bar as well.  How about a lemonade bar with different types of lemonades or flavor syrups to mix in?  How about a coffee bar with different coffees, syrups, cinnamon/chocolate to add?

Summertime Drink Popup Bar

Mixers

I use La Croix in Mojitos, Gosling’s Ginger Beer in Moscow/Bourbon/Dark’n Stormy and 7Up in Pimm’s.  Add a few of these to your bar and re-stock as needed.

Summertime Drink Popup Bar

Accoutrements

I just love this word! …ok, I could have just said garnish 🙂  I can set out limes and ideally a mint plant for the summer (if it’s just for the day, sprigs of mint will be fine).  My mint plant is currently on my deck growing like crazy!  I also set out fresh ice and other fresh fruit from the fridge as needed or right before a party.  For a lemonade or iced tea bar, you could add fresh fruit – peaches, raspberries, strawberries as well as herbs like mint or basil!

Summertime Drink Popup Bar

And finally, we just need a knife (to chop garnish), an ice bucket, and a cocktail shaker.  Let the mixing and sipping begin.

À votre santé!