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Saturday, July 3, 2021

Peachy Keen: In season right now, Hill Country peaches make a fine addition to summer drinks

Posted By on Sat, Jul 3, 2021 at 7:49 AM

click to enlarge Chef Chris Cook's Hill Country Hibiscus Peach Smash is a great option for a summer splash sans alcohol. - COURTESY SPECIAL LEAF
  • Courtesy Special Leaf
  • Chef Chris Cook's Hill Country Hibiscus Peach Smash is a great option for a summer splash sans alcohol.
It’s the peak of Hill Country peach season, and they’re now overflowing from bushels at roadside stands and farmer’s markets. While cobblers and pies are fine vessels for the succulent fruit, they also add juicy appeal to a variety of summer sippers.

Enter three San Antonio food and beverage gurus, who offered up instructions on how to stir up peach-based drinks that just may surpass your most revered recipes for baked goods. (Sorry, Nana.)

Texas Peach Step

For a refreshing, shandy-style cocktail, consider Ana Cabrera’s Texas Peach Step, a bourbon-centric tipple that can be stirred up with local ingredients to beat the Texas heat.

“While traveling the Texas wine country, one of my favorite dishes was the peach cobbler with peach ice cream from Gold Orchids,” said Cabrera, the new beverage director at fine-dining staple Biga on the Banks. “I loved it and immediately was craving some bourbon to wash it all down.”

For this aperitif, she uses Fredericksburg peaches, Still ATX Bourbon and an Austin Eastcider to keep things local. According to Cabrera, the Sangria Eastcider, in particular, adds an “epic” flavor boost to the refresher.

click to enlarge Texas Peach Step by Ana Cabrera - NINA RANGEL
  • Nina Rangel
  • Texas Peach Step by Ana Cabrera
Texas Peach Step
Ripe peach, quartered and chopped
1 ounce Bourbon
3/4 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce Demerara syrup (equal parts Demerara sugar and hot water)
Austin Eastcider Dry Cider 

Add one quarter of the chopped peach to a 12-ounce glass, reserving remaining fruit for future cocktails. Add bourbon, lemon juice and syrup, followed by ice. Top the glass with sparkling cider and give it all a stir. Garnish with a lemon peel and zest.

Fresh Peach Mojito 

For a super-Southern approach, Lucy Cooper’s head honcha Braunda Smith offered up this batchable Fresh Peach Mojito. With its fresh peaches, mint and rum, this sweet sipper is one of Smith’s favorite summer drinks. The recipe makes a pitcher-sized batch, so it might make you the talk of your tubing party.

click to enlarge Fresh Peach Mojito by Braunda Smith - NINA RANGEL
  • Nina Rangel
  • Fresh Peach Mojito by Braunda Smith
Fresh Peach Mojito 
3 ripe peaches, skin removed and sliced
Small handful of fresh mint leaves
3 limes, juiced
4 1/2 ounces spiced rum
1/4 ounce cane sugar or turbinado sugar
Club soda                 

In a mixing glass, thoroughly muddle peach slices, mint, lime juice and sugar. Add the mixture and rum to a mid-sized pitcher. Add ice and top with club soda. Give it a stir and serve over fresh ice.

Hill Country Hibiscus Peach Smash

For those looking for a summer splash sans alcohol, chef Chris Cook offered a booze-free recipe featuring his sugar-free Heavenly Hibiscus Special Leaf olive leaf tea. Cook has been preaching the gospel of olive leaf tea since 2018, sharing the benefits of leaf extracts that have the purported wellness benefits of olive oil without the associated fat.

“It’s just summertime,” Cook said of the vibrant drink, which also features Bexar Tonics’ Wild Flower tonic, a concentrated floral syrup produced in San Antonio. “There aren’t a lot of places offering mocktails, and this is a great poolside option with no alcohol.”

Peach, wildflower and rosemary come together for a zero-proof cocktail so pleasantly complex, you won’t even miss the booze.

click to enlarge Chef Chris Cook's Hill Country Hibiscus Peach Smash is a great option for a summer splash sans alcohol. - COURTESY SPECIAL LEAF
  • Courtesy Special Leaf
  • Chef Chris Cook's Hill Country Hibiscus Peach Smash is a great option for a summer splash sans alcohol.
Hill Country Hibiscus Peach Smash
2 ounces fresh peaches, diced (reserve one or two cubes for a rosemary skewer garnish)
1 1/2 ounces Bexar Tonics’ Wild Flower mixer
1 1/2 ounces sweetened peach sparkling water
4 ounces Special Leaf Heavenly Hibiscus tea

Muddle peach in shaker tin, add ice, tonic and Heavenly Hibiscus tea. Shake vigorously and strain over fresh ice in rocks glass. Top with sparkling water and garnish with peach-rosemary skewer.

So many restaurants, so little time. Find out the latest San Antonio dining news with our Flavor Friday Newsletter.

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