My dear friend, Rachel, revealed exciting news a few weeks ago during one of our Scrabble Sundays… and last night, our Scrabble quartet got to meet the lucky fellow, her Peruvian suitor, who will be whisking her away from Winnipeg in wedded bliss! The occasion was perfect to break out a new signature cocktail – this one pulled from my absolute favourite foodie periodical: Food & Drink.
The online version is a far cry from the LCBO’s glossy-paged, bimonthly magazine which features seasonal inspiration for the consummate entertainer. There are selections for every course – from appetizers and soups through to entrées, dessert and most important: cocktails! The recipes are matched with adverts for all the newest beers, wines and liquors featured at the LCBO as well as some clever decor tips for themed-parties or leads for unique hostess gifts. Who wouldn’t want to receive some patriotic pasta or Swedish sponge cloths? [I picked up a few of these at Minneapolis Institute of Arts earlier this year and am quite impressed with how well they stand up to some good kitchen scouring].
The Summer 2014 issue features Agua Fresca cocktails – the refreshing new drink trend pulled from Spanish for ‘fresh water’ is made by combining blended summery fruit and icy cold water along with suitable spirits – or without for a virgin version. Inspired by ripe, juicy late-season Ontario peaches, I opted for the Travelling Peach which combines the fruit with Southeast Asian flavours suggested through a lemongrass and Kaffir lime leaf simple syrup. Peach skin fragments help create the exquisite hue in the drink.
The cocktail was absolutely refreshing and perfect for a 28°C early August evening. The water to blended fruit ratio quenched our thirsts while still providing a balance of flavour and texture. A bit more gin and lemongrass syrup would have added some needed intensity to the beverage – though I have been known to miss the appreciation of subtle flavours. Somehow, the empty pitcher might still suggest this was a successful cocktail hour.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, 3 stalks chopped lemongrass and 8 torn lime leaves. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Strain syrup and discard solids.
- In a blender, combine syrup, 2 cups pitted and chopped peaches and 3 cups cold water; purée. Turn out into a large pitcher and chill.
- When ready to serve, fill rocks glasses with ice. Add 1 oz gin to each and top with agua fresca.
What a special evening… but Claude, you neglected to mention your amazing signature dessert!
Javier says you should open a restaurant – tapas-style to showcase the delectable, seasonal flavours from your kitchen (and heart).
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