Entertaining | 3 peachy cocktails to celebrate the 4th of July


3 peachy cocktails to celebrate the 4th of July

Fresh peaches are bang in season right now so use them to make these summery cocktails that I think are quite perfect for this week's Independence Day celebrations.

Peach Bellinis
The classic Venetian drink invented by Giuseppi Cipriani the founder of Harry’s Bar. The best way to make them is to juice the peaches or squeeze them by hand which gives you a clear juice. Make them just before you serve them or the peach juice will discolour (you can add lemon juice to prevent that but it detracts from the pure peach flavour).

For 6 glasses
4-6 peaches depending on size and ripeness (ripe ones will obviously yield more juice)
A well chilled bottle of good quality prosecco or champagne

Juice or purée* the peaches. Pour the juice just over a third of the way up a champagne flute and carefully top up with prosecco or champagne, tilting the glass towards the bottle as you pour. (The juice may make the wine fizz up more than usual so you may have to wait for it to settle before topping up.) Taste to check the proportions of peach juice and prosecco which will vary depending how ripe your peaches are then pour the remainder of the glasses out in the ideal proportions. (*Puréeing results in a less aesthetic but equally delicious drink)

Peach Julep
A great variation on the classic Mint Julep

For each cocktail
6-8 fresh mint leaves
2-3 tsp sugar syrup (see below)
A quarter of a ripe peach, cut into cubes + another quarter, sliced for serving
2 shots of bourbon
A couple of drops of vanilla extract
A sprig of mint and a slice of peach for garnish

Lightly crush the mint leaves with the sugar syrup in a cocktail shaker, add the cut up peach quarter, bourbon and vanilla extract and lightly muddle (crush) again. Strain the mixture into a highball (tall) glass full of crushed ice and stir well. Add the peach slices, stir, top with a little more crushed ice and garnish with a sprig of mint. Serve immediately.

(If you can’t get hold of really ripe peaches you could boost their flavour with 2-3 tsp of peach-flavoured liqueur or schnapps instead of the sugar syrup)

* To make a sugar syrup put 150g of sugar in a small saucepan with 175ml of water and place over a low heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. (Brush any grains of sugar that stick the side of the pan into the syrup so that it doesn’t crystallise) Bring the syrup to the boil without stirring and boil for 2-3 minutes. Take off the heat and leave to cool. Any you don’t use can be kept in a sealed container and refrigerated for 2-3 weeks.

Peach Mint Crush
A fabulously refreshing hot weather drink from cookery writer Signe Johansen
Serves 2

10 mint leaves
2-3 tsp sugar or, even better, a simple sugar syrup (see above)
1-2 peaches, peeled and roughly cut up
juice of 1/2 lime
4-6 crushed ice cubes (or, if you have a blender that can crush ice, then just chuck them in)
200ml iced green tea

Muddle the mint and sugar together as if you were making a mojito, to release the mint oils, then put this in a blender with the rest of the ingredients, whizz up and serve immediately

Photo ©lilechka75 at fotolia.com

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