Summer is quickly approaching and the summer fruits are ripening. June is the time of making trips to Huber’s Winery and Orchard to get fresh strawberries and the annual visit from the Georgia-based peach truck. Blackberries and raspberries will quickly follow as they ripen on their vines. Fruits are plentiful and people always scramble to use them while they are fresh and ripe. They can be used in some great cocktails as garnishes or even ingredients. I thought I would share some recipes with you here.
When I am looking for cocktail recipes, Molly Wellmann’s book Handcrafted Cocktails, is a great place to start. Molly is a real genius at creating quick, but flavorful drinks. Here are three of her recipes:
2 ounces Bourbon, ½ ounce raspberry simple syrup, Dash of Rose Water, Sweet tea to top. Build over ice in a highball glass. Top off with sweet tea. Garnish with raspberries and a sprig of mint.
Raspberry simple syrup: 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries. Place ingredients in a pan and heat to a rolling boil. Turn down heat and simmer for five minutes. Let cool to room temperature and strain through a sieve. This will keep for 2 or 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
2 ounces Bourbon, ½ ounce Heering Cherry Liqueur, ½ ounce plum juice, ½ ounce lemon juice. Add all of the ingredients to a mixing glass. Add ice and shake. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Little Boy Blue
2 ounces Bourbon, 2 ounce Blueberry Syrup, Stout to top. Add the Bourbon and blueberry simple syrup to a mixing glass. Add ice and shake. Strain into a small rocks glass. Top with stout. Garnish with blueberries.
Blueberry simple syrup: 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries. Place ingredients in a pan and heat to a rolling boil. Turn down heat and simmer for five minutes. Let cool to room temperature and strain through a sieve. This will keep for 2 or 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
My next stop for cocktails is always Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book, by Joy Perrine and Susan Reigler. Joy was another master of making quick and flavorful drinks. Several of her drinks call for fruit infused Bourbon. These are made by emptying a 750 ml bottle of Bourbon into a large jar. Place a pint of the fruit in the jar and seal with a lid. Let set for three days and strain back into the Bourbon bottle. Label the infusion. The fruit can then be used to make sorbet’ or other fruit desserts. Here are some of her cocktail recipes:
Summer Fruit Manhattan
2 ounces infused Bourbon, ½ ounce Noilly Prat sweet vermouth, 4-5 dashes Angostura bitters. Shake over ice and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with the fruit used in the infusion.
Summer Fruit Sours
2 ounces infused Bourbon, 1 tablespoon brown sugar syrup, 1 tablespoon fruit syrup, 1 ounce fresh lemon juice. Combine and shake over ice. Strain into a large Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with fruit.
(Joy recommends Smucker’s fruit syrups, but you could use Molly’s recipe to make your own)
Kentucky Peach Melba
1 ½ ounce Bourbon (80-90 proof), 1 ounce DeKuyper’s Peachtree schnapps, 1 ounce Chambord, 1 ounce Bailys Irish Cream. Combine, shake over ice and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a slice of fresh peach on the rim and three raspberries on a pick.
½ ounce brown sugar syrup, 1 ½ ounce Monin peach syrup, 5 mint leaves, 3 slices fresh peach, 2 ounces Bourbon (80-90 proof), 2 ounces water. In a pint glass, gently muddle syrups, mint leaves, and peach slices. Add Bourbon, water and ice. Shake. Garnish with a large peach slice and a mint sprig. Serve with a long straw.
I hope these cocktail recipes help you find uses for the extra summer fruit you have purchased or harvested. They are tasty ways to use the fruit and are sure to enliven any summer get-together with friends and family.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller