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It's been a great year for stone-fruit, and I've recently had plenty of peaches with mouthwatering acidity. This cocktail is a twist on an old-fashioned, with the sweetness and spice coming from fresh peaches and Kampot red pepper. You'll have boozy fruit left over, which is great for adding to desserts, eating out of hand, or making a Peach Smash (linked below).
1 quart of firm peach pieces, pits discarded (4-5 peaches)
Whisky and/or rye (the basic bottlings from Clyde May's work great for this)
Pinch of vitamin C* or 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Kampot red pepper
Add the Kampot pepper and vitamin c or lemon juice to a quart-size container with a tight-fitting lid. Gently add the peach pieces, discarding any that are too browned or mushy.
Fill the container all the way with whisky and/or rye (it will take about 12 ounces), seal, excluding as much air as possible, and store in the refrigerator for at least 3 days, and up to 14.
To prepare the cocktail, fine strain the infused-liquor from the peaches, then add to a short glass along with about 4 ounces of ice.
Give the cocktail a gentle stir, then garnish with a lemon zest and a peach wedge coated in ground Kampot pepper.
Please see below for what to do with the leftover fruit.
* Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is a potent antioxidant that helps preserve the color of the peach flesh. Without it they can brown. It's found in lemon juice in addition to citric acid.
• You can use the leftover fruit to make a Peach Smash.
• Don't drink? Roast your peaches, then pack them hot along with 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, 1/2 split vanilla bean, and double the quantity of Kampot pepper. Keep in the fridge for 2 days for the flavors to combine, then use the syrupy juice to make the collins variant below.
• The cocktail works nicely as a highball as well. Build it in a collins glass with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, 2 ounces infused whiskey, and ice to fill. Stir until chilled, then top with seltzer and gently stir to mix. Garnish with a lemon wheel.
Food images and recipe © Christian Leue.
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