Halloween isn’t really my jam. I love how excited other people get about the holiday, but as someone who generally enjoys whimsy and charm much more than haunt and horror, I usually spend October looking beyond the 31st and into the holiday season to come.
Peach season is in full swing here in Washington, and man has it been a doozy this year. Grocery stores and farmers markets alike are filled to the brim with baskets full of white, yellow and donut varieties that smell just as good as they taste. I knew I wanted to make a drink with these luscious peaches, so I decided to hop right onto the frozen drink trend and try to keep cool during this late-summer Seattle heatwave.
I’ve never been a big red wine drinker, instead preferring to sip on a crisp rosé or fruity riesling. But on a recent Saturday afternoon I was in want of a drink, and an open bottle of Petit Syrah sat on my kitchen counter. I mixed it with a little bit of Sprite, some lime juice and some bitters and had myself a nice little red wine spritzer. At this point I was surprised (and a little embarrassed) by how much I liked this concoction, so I went on a quick Google search to investigate the world of summery red wine drinks.
I don’t really care for Guinness and I think Jameson is gross, so every year on St. Patrick’s Day I struggle to find something festive and delicious to drink. Enter the pousse-café. Basically a fancy name for a layered cocktail, the pousse-café began as an elegant digestif, one that could be savored layer by layer after a long, filling meal.
As long as you know the specific gravity of your liquids (heaviest goes on the bottom), you can stack them to your heart’s content, which is exactly what I did with this St. Patrick’s Day pousse-café. Vanilla vodka yields to Irish cream and a layer of vibrant créme de menthe provides the final flavor, leaving a lingering freshness on your palate.
• green crème de menthe
• Baileys Irish Cream
• vanilla vodka, I used Stoli Vanil
1. Gather your ingredients. I used 1.5 oz of each liquor, but you can adjust depending on the size of your glass or how thick you’d like the striations to be. You’ll need to use relatively small, narrow glasses to achieve this affect without using a ton of booze.
2. Pour the crème de menthe into the bottom of your glass.
3. Take a bar spoon (or a regular spoon if you don’t have one), flip it upside down and place it up against the inside of the glass. Very slowly, pour the Baileys onto the back of the spoon, so it runs softly down the side of the glass and onto the crème de menthe without disturbing the surface tension.
4. Rinse the spoon then repeat with the vodka.
Don’t get me wrong—there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the classic limes + sugar + water recipe, but if you have the chance to spice things up with a little sweetened condensed milk, coconut water and rum, why not go for it? And this leads us to the Brazilian limeade. The beauty of this sub-equatorial recipe lies not in the add-ins (although the sweetened condensed milk does lend a luxurious creaminess to the mixture) but in the way the ingredients are blended together.
You toss a couple of whole limes into the blender with your other ingredients and whip them to a pulp, thus releasing the zesty, aromatic oils locked in the peel and adding an astonishing depth of lime flavor to the whole situation. All that’s left to do is strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to create a rich, frothy, incredibly refreshing afternoon tipple.
Spiked Brazilian Limeade
adapted from this recipe
• 2 limes
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 3 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk
• 1 cup water
• 1 cup young coconut water
• 1 cup white rum
• coconut frozen fruit bar for garnish (I like this brand)
1. Wash the limes well, then slice off both ends and cut into eight wedges. Add to blender with sugar, sweetened condensed milk, water, coconut water and ice-cold rum. *You can certainly omit the rum if you want your limeades virgin, just use 1 1/2 c. water and 1 1/2 c. coconut water instead.
2. Add a few cubes of ice to the blender then blend until the lime is completely chopped up.
3. Strain your mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and serve over ice with a creamy coconut popsicle float for extra flavor and style.