The Smoking Peach
Grilling with cocktails is a backyard tradition that I look forward to each year. This summer, I wanted to experiment with getting the grill into my cocktail. The Smoking Peach starts with a base of hickory smoke-infused bourbon. Jagged hickory chips are singed with a blowtorch, and then steeped in bourbon for up to one week. This process amps up the smoky notes of bourbon, infusing a pleasant grilled flavor. You’ll want to use middle-shelf bourbon here, like Jim or Jack.
Next, I throw some maple-soaked peaches on a charcoal grill and cook until tender and caramelized. After a quick blitz in the blender, the grilled peach puree lends a sweet smokiness to the cocktail. Plus, peaches are quintessential to summer. To balance and brighten flavors, I finish the drink with maple syrup, lime juice, and angostura bitters. This golden-hued cocktail is completed with a wedge of grilled peach patterned with flecks of caramelized fruit.
If you want to serve this warm-weather libation at your next backyard bash, you can easily scale up the ingredients and serve it in a pitcher or drink dispenser. Be sure to have plenty of ice on hand and garnishes abound.
- 4 ripe peaches (on the firm side, about 600 g), sliced in half and pitted
- 1 tbsp. (15 ml) pure maple syrup
- 1 cup (60 g) hickory chips
- 1 cup (240 ml) good quality bourbon
- 1.5 fl. oz. (45ml) hickory smoke infused bourbon (recipe below), chilled
- 2 oz. (60ml) grilled peach puree (recipe below), chilled
- Juice of ½ lime
- ½ fl. oz. (15ml) pure maple syrup
- 3 dashes angostura bitters
- Grilled peach wedge, for garnish
- Lime wedge, for garnish
- Fire up a grill to medium heat.
- In a medium bowl, toss peach halves with the maple syrup. Place peaches flat side down on the hot grill. Cook until the flesh starts to caramelize and release from the grill bars. Flip each peach and continue cooking until soft and tender.
- Place 3 of the 4 peaches in a blender (6 halves) and process until smooth. Slice the remaining peach in 6 wedges and reserve for the garnish. Pour peach puree through a fine mesh basket strainer into a clean container. You can use a spoon to help move the mixture through the strainer.
- Store grilled peach puree in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Carefully char the wood chips with a blowtorch or underneath a broiler. Let the chips cool, and then place them in a medium-sized jar. Add bourbon, and then seal the lid.
- Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 week. Start tasting around day 3. You can strain the mixture once the desired level of smokiness is achieved.
- To strain, line a basket strainer with a damp coffee filter. Pour the bourbon through the strainer into a clean container. Discard the solids. Bourbon can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for several months.
- Add first six ingredients to a rocks glass, stirring until combined and well chilled.
- Submerge a grilled peach wedge into the drink, then garnish the rim of the glass with a lime wedge.