There are some things in life that I just can’t explain, such as why my bottle of Crystal Head vodka insists on wearing a pineapple tea cosy as a beanie and why I haven’t, until now, made a mint julep with white nectarine-infused vodka in it. The idea for this concoction came about when, in order to find a really good mint julep recipe, I read loads about juleps, tried a bunch of different ones (it was all in the name of research I swear), and read somewhere that juleps used to be made with cognanc and peach brandy, which is probably why some recipes for modern-day juleps call for peach slices to be muddled along with the mint. Anyway, you’ll hear the outcome of the mint julep research later (hint: the recipe will be in a book, which will be heavily advertised here – after all, what’s a website without nepotism?); for now, you’re probably either wondering why the hell I used white nectarine vodka instead of peach brandy, or you’re wandering off in search of a drink. So I’ll keep it brief: I didn’t have any peach brandy handy. But I did have some white nectarine vodka, which I made last summer. (To make it, slice up some white nectarines, leaving the skin on but removing the stones. Place in a clean jar with a handful of caster sugar, cover the lot with vodka and then store in a dark place for a few months or until you really want to try adding peach brandy to a julep but discover you don’t have any.)
What does adding it to a julep do? It takes the edge off the bourbon, sweetens the drink and lightens it, making it even more perfect for a hot summer day than a regular julep. And it totally counts as a serve of fruit, right?
15ml white nectarine vodka
15ml sugar syrup
12-20 mint leaves, plus a sprig or two of mint to garnish
2 drops Fee Bros peach bitters (optional – they add a teeny bit of peach flavour and are a nod to the original recipe)
Tumbler or old-fashioned.
Place the mint leaves in the glass and pour in the white nectarine vodka and sugar syrup. Stir gently to combine. Add a heap of crushed or cubed ice and stir again. Add the bourbon and peach bitters and stir again. Garnish with the mint sprig(s) and serve.
DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY
If you’ve got the white nectarine vodka handy, this one’s easy. If you don’t, the hardest part will be waiting several months for the fruit to infuse with the vodka, in which case we highly recommend drinking something else instead.
This one’s by the clever folk at 52 Cocktails. Enjoy!