Local Jersey peaches don't begin arriving until July, and even those from Georgia won't appear until later this month, but that's no reason we can't enjoy a great "peachy" cocktail right now. Between varieties from South American countries like Chile, where the seasons are reversed, and the availability of peach liqueurs and vodkas, peach-flavored drinks can, and should, be enjoyed year-round.
Here are some cocktails to help get us in the mood for some warmer weather. Greg Gloshinski, produce manager at King's in Midland Park, supplies the fruit; Hackensack Golf Club in Oradell provides a beautiful backdrop for the photography; and Graziano Favro, the club's dining room manager, handles the mixing.
Peaches and Cream
This cocktail is rich and sweet, bordering on decadent – a smoothie with authority. Reduce your guilt a little by substituting whole or 2-percent milk for the cream.
1/2 part vodka
2 parts cream
1 part peach schnapps
1 cup crushed ice
3 whole peaches
Cut a wedge out of one of the peaches to use as a garnish. Peel the peaches and cut out the pits. Pour all ingredients into a blender. Blend well at high speed. Pour drink into a wine glass and garnish with the peach slice.
The Royal Peach
This one combines peach vodka with the versatile, and increasingly popular, elderflower liqueur for a unique and refreshing concoction. The peach and elderflower flavors blend beautifully, and the bitters nicely mitigates some of the sweetness.
1 1/2 parts Van Gogh Cool Peach Vodka
3/4 part St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
3-4 dashes of angostura bitters
Shake ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker and strain into a chilled cocktail or martini glass. Garnish with orange peel.
Fuzzy Navel Crush
Not as sweet as you might think, the acidity from the orange juice provides some nice balance. Add the effervescence of the club soda, and this is a great warming-weather beverage.
2 parts Van Gogh Cool Peach Vodka
1 part triple sec
Splash orange juice
Splash club soda
Combine ingredients in a pint glass filled with crushed ice and stir.
The Best Bellini Ever
Combine the beautiful and good-for-you flavors of fresh peaches and lemon with peach vodka like Van Gogh, and you can actually feel pretty good about enjoying this one.
1 part Van Gogh Cool Peach Vodka
1/4 of a ripe peach
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1/2 part fresh lemon juice
3 parts prosecco
In a cocktail shaker, muddle the peach, agave and lemon juice. Add the prosecco with ice and stir gently. Strain into a chilled champagne flute and top off with extra prosecco. Garnish with a fresh peach slice.
Julep traditionalists might object to the addition of the liqueur, but the peach flavor mellows the bourbon a bit, and this version of the classic cocktail is pretty tasty. The Kentucky Derby might never be the same.
2 parts bourbon
1 part peach liqueur
1 sprig fresh mint
In a rocks julep glass, combine the bourbon and peach liqueur. Fill the glass with crushed ice and squeeze an orange peel on top of the drink to express the citrus oil. Discard the peel. Stir and garnish with the mint sprig.