Peach must be my favorite summer fruit. I simply love its aromas and how it fills a room when a bowl of ripe fruits are placed in it. What the heck, I even love canned peaches! Around here it is pretty difficult to find the golden variety from which the latter is made. In my opinion, they possess the most intoxicating aroma of the whole family. I think it is a good time I honor the peach with a cocktail.
As with my Apple Mojito it is quite hard to capture the flavor of really juicy fruits without risking diluting the cocktail too much. I did try the dried-fruit way, but I could only get my hands on one brand of dried peaches, and I found them to be really sour, not naturally flavored at all.
The only way left was to juice the peaches myself (or get a really good brand of store-bought juice). I wasn’t really keen in serving you a murky cocktail, so I decided to clarify the peach juice and share with you this simple but really useful technique.
You can use this agar filtration technique to produce crystal clear liquid out of almost any cloudy-murky liquid; furthermore, it is kosher and can be done at room temperature (as long as your room temperature is below 30C/86F).
What you are essentially doing is using a gelified agar network to trap most of the particles suspended in your liquid of choice and, since weak agar gels aren’t great at retaining liquid themselves when broken, this allows you to extract the crystalline consommé out of it.
- 250g (9 oz) peach juice
- 0.5g agar (0.2% of the liquid weight)
- In a small casserole dish, place roughly ⅓ of the peach juice with the agar powder and bring to boil over medium heat, whisking regularly. Let the mixture boil for a few minutes to hydrate the agar; be aware that the mixture may boil over if the dish is too small, so keep an eye on it.
- Take the casserole dish out of the heat and pour half of the remaining pure peach juice in it, whisk to temper the agar-juice. Pour the whole content of the dish into the balance of peach juice, whisk and let gel at room temperature or in the fridge (to speed up the process use a shallow container to gel the juice).
- After the juice has gelled (it should take roughly 15-20 minutes), break it up using the threads of a whisk. Set a fine meshed sieve, lined with damp fine cheesecloth or a smooth linen, over a bowl and pour the broken gel into it. The clear liquid should start dripping into the bowl underneath. To speed up the process, gently whisk the gel every 5 minutes or so.
- When you realise that not much more liquid is dripping from the sieve, gather the cheesecloth corner together and start squeezing/massaging very gently the peach gel; if you squeeze it too hard, some of the gel may pass through the cloth and cloudy the peach likor (if this happens, filter the likor through a single paper layer of kitchen paper).
- At this point you should have roughly 100g of clarified peach liqueur, to extract more you can keep on massaging the gel in the cheesecloth or simply transfer the whole in the fridge for a few hours to overnight.
- Chill the peach liqueur until needed.
- 5cl (1.5 oz) brandy
- 2cl (.5 oz) sweet vermouth
- 8cl (2.5 oz) peach juice, clarified if possible
- Basil leaves or green herb of choice
- In a mixing glass with a few ice cubes, pour all the liquid ingredients and stir until combined.
- Strain into a chilled martini glass and decorate with fresh basil leaves or any other green herb of your choice (i.e. tarragon, lemon melissa, mint, chervil to name a few).