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.
The Smoking Peach
Yield: 1 drink
Glassware: rocks glass
1.5 fl. oz. (45ml) hickory smoke infused bourbon (recipe below), chilled
2 oz. (60ml) grilled peach puree (recipe below), chilled
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 fl. oz. (15ml) pure maple syrup
3 dashes angostura bitters
Grilled peach wedge, for garnish
Lime wedge, for garnish
Hickory Smoke Infused Bourbon
Yield: 1 cup
Tools: blowtorch, jar, strainer
1 cup (60 g) hickory chips
1 cup (240 ml) good quality bourbon
Grilled Peach Puree
Yield: 1 cup
Tools: grill, blender, strainer
4 ripe peaches (on the firm side, about 600 g), sliced in half and pitted
1 tbsp. (15 ml) pure maple syrup