My best memory of peaches was when I traveled to Huber’s Orchard in Indiana. It was a hot July day. We parked the car, grabbed a basket and ventured under the sweet smelling shade of the trees to pick our summer harvest.
At the orchard you pick the peaches you want, bring your basket back to the country store and pay for them by weight. As we picked peach after peach, the temptation was too strong to resist. Someone (who shall remain nameless, so I don’t incriminate them) and I plucked a fat, juicy peach from the tree and took a bite.
We laughed as the juice dripped down our chins. We tried to wipe it up and slurp it up, but there was no hiding the evidence. When we got to the market, we admitted our scandalous behavior, and they laughed explaining that many visitors are seduced by their crop.
I hoped to make it back to Huber’s on a recent vacation, but we didn’t make it north of Kentucky, so instead I went to Reid’s Orchard in Owensboro. While we weren’t able to stroll the orchard, we did buy a peck of freshly picked peaches.
Today, I wanted to make something refreshing with the peaches, so I’m turning to my Vegas roots. You may not realize this from my other blog posts, but home (when we’re not moving from place to place with the Army) is Las Vegas.
The most refreshing cocktail I ever had in Las Vegas was at the Wynn Hotel and Casino at the Parasol Bar. The mixologist created a drink with basil. Intrigued by the ingredient, I ordered one. He explained that mixing cocktails is no different than creating recipes. You experiment with flavors that go well together, add sweetness, add sour notes and taste, taste, taste, until you hit the mark.
I had the peaches and I have a garden full of basil, so I took the mixologist’s advice. I mixed a little of this, a little of that and voila! Instead of being one of those super sweet syrupy summer cocktails, the basil toned down the sweetness of the peaches. It’s more like sipping an iced tea or lemonade…but better.
If you don’t drink alcohol, you can use an ounce of limeade instead of rum.
Summer Orchard on the Rocks
5-6 small basil leaves
1 tsp. sugar
juice of half a lime
½ oz. simple syrup
1 oz. rum
Add the lime juice, simple syrup, rum and ice. Place the top onto the shaker and shake it until the sides start to chill.