Prepare to stimulate your senses with this bourbon peach sweet tea. With fragrant jasmine, citrus, and mint notes, this is the perfect porch-sipping, summer-heat-beating cocktail around.
Throw away your neon red Maraschino cherries and electric blue Curaçao. We’re gonna get real and fresh with cocktails. If pouring a glass of gin over ice with a splash of tonic is your idea of a cocktail, think again. You can get your booze on without the guilt with the fresh and modern cocktails in Jules Aron’s Zen and Tonic – Savory and Fresh Cocktails for the Enlightened Drinker. Aron is a NYC-based mixologist (i.e., bartender), beverage consultant and natural lifestyle expert.
The book is a nice size at 9 by 6 inches. Its textured hardcover with embossed metallic embellishments embodies a turn-of-the-century design aesthetic. I could imagine the book atop a counter of an old pharmacy. As it should be, since “earliest-known pharmacist-prepared tinctures, bitters, elixirs, and tonics were made with herbs, flowers, fruits, and yes, even vegetables laced with alcohol, which preserved their healing properties.”
Zen and Tonic opens with the fundamentals, reviewing barware, and ingredients. It progresses into garnishes, syrups and infused spirits which serve as the bases to the cocktails. The photography is rich and there is a photograph accompanying each cocktail recipe, which is always helpful. The recipes are not organized by type of liquor used, but instead by flavors: lush & fruity, fresh & crisp, garden fresh (savory), floral & fragrant, sweet & spicy, and rich & creamy. Doesn’t this want to make you dive right in? Aron spins the classic cocktails with real food and ingredients. Why stop at eating whole foods? Might as well imbibe healthfully too!
The prose is clear and straightforward. The health information for many of the ingredients is simple and easy to understand. The recipes are easy to follow. I found that some of the ingredients were a bit of a challenge to find, such as organic jasmine flower buds. She does source many of the ingredients, but you can find a lot of the ingredients through this small company called Amazon.com. She also includes a pretty good list of organic liquors and mixers which may be a challenge to find. Of the mixers she listed, Fever-Tree elderflower tonic water is my new favorite. If you like playing chemist at the bar, then this is the book for you. I really enjoyed experimenting with different herbs, syrups, and infusions. Reading this book has also prompted me to purchase a proper muddler, bar spoon, and strainer.
I’ve made the cocktail Summer Thyme which is a strawberry thyme gin cocktail and the thyme really gives it a nice earthiness and works with the already fragrant gin. The next cocktail I’d like to try is the book’s namesake, Zen and Tonic; a more floral spin on the classic gin and tonic using a blueberry lavender syrup. I’ve also bookmarked The Perfect Storm, Boozy Hot Chocolate, and Garden Variety which is twist on the Bloody Mary using fresh market vegetables!
Today I’m sharing with you the recipe for Bourbon Peach Sweet Tea. We are in peak peach season here in New Jersey, the Garden State, so grab a few and try this cocktail! The combination of boozy peaches, the jasmine-infused simple syrup and mint stimulates all the senses. This is the ultimate drink to sip on the front (or back) porch to quench your thirst on a warm summer day. Most bourbon cocktails tend to be heavy, but this is truly a refreshing light concoction. Invite a few friends over, serve a glass or two of this and just shoot the breeze.
- 2 peaches
- 2 cups bourbon
- 6 cups water
- 4 black tea bags
- ¼ cup Jasmine Syrup (page 40)
- 6 sliced orange rounds
- 6 mint sprigs
- To make the bourbon-soaked peaches:
- Submerge whole peaches in boiling water for 1 minute. Transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. The skin will slip right off! Cut the peaches into wedges and place in a mason jar or comparable container.
- Pour the bourbon over the peaches and secure the lid tightly. Store in a dark, cool place for up to 1 week.
- For the tea:
- Bring the water to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the tea bags. Steep the tea for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags, transfer the tea to a large pitcher, and let rest in the refrigerator until cold.
- Place the Jasmine Syrup, orange slices, and mint in a medium-size bowl and muddle. Once the mixture is pressed together and the flavors are extracted, add the bourbon to the mixture and strain into the pitcher of tea. Stir well. Add the bourbon-soaked peaches to the tea.
- Fill six to eight glasses with ice cubes. Pour the sweet, boozy tea over the ice. Enjoy!
Editor’s note: This recipe is printed courtesy of the publisher. The author of this review received a copy of the cookbook, Zen and Tonic – Savory and Fresh Cocktails for the Enlightened Drinker. No other compensation was received from the publisher. Links to the cookbook are affiliate links.
Many thanks to the publisher Countryman Press who is sponsoring one copy of this wonderful cookbook for a giveaway, open to US residents only. Please leave a comment on the post – What’s your favorite herb or botanical to use in a cocktail? to enter. The rafflecopter has several options for earning more chances to win! The more you do, the better your chances. No purchase necessary. The winner will be will be notified by email. If the winner does not respond in 48 hours, an alternate winner will be selected.