My fantastic neighborhood liquor store recently started carrying most of the stuff imported by Haus Alpenz, which is a lot of good stuff that I used to have to pick up on my occasional trips to California or Colorado. But now that’s its all being distributed here in New Mexico, yay. So I picked up a bottle of their peach brandy from Rothman & Winter, Orchard Peach, having been using their Orchard Apricot brandy for a while now. Like the apricot, it is described as a mix of fruit juice and an eau-de-vie (dry fruit brandy); it has a strong aroma of ripe peaches, and is decidedly on the sweet side while still maintaining a solid peach flavor, and not turning into anything cloying. Still, you wouldn’t want to drink this straight, I think.
I thought I had seen at least a couple of old recipes for cocktails utilizing peach brandy, but of course now that I had some on hand, I couldn’t find any whilst flipping through my numerous bartending guides. Sigh. So I just decided to whip up a couple of things, to which I have attempted to append suitable if not especially imaginative names.
The Kentucky Fuzz (because bourbon, and peaches are fuzzy, yeah?)
1.5 oz. bourbon
.5 oz. Rothman & Winter Orchard Peach brandy
.5 oz. lemon juice
1 tbsp. gum syrup (or regular simple syrup will do)
2 dashes aromatic bitters (your choice – I used The Bitter Truth)
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
This tasted more or less like a whiskey sour, with notes of peach. It was pretty tart; I might either up the syrup, or, better still, up the brandy to 3/4 oz. or maybe even 1 oz. Unless you like your drinks more on the sour side. In any case, the bourbon remained dominant. Again, basically a peachy twist on the whiskey sour. Four livers.
The Bonnie Peach Cocktail
Still wanting to go with a whiskey base, I turned to Drambuie, a whisky-based liqueur from Scotland that is flavored with honey and a proprietary blend of herbs and spices. It’s usually drunk straight around here (it’s great when you have a cold), but it does crop up occasionally in cocktail recipes as well, such as this one. Drambuie was supposedly the personal drink of choice of Charles Stuart, better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, hence my stab at a moniker for this cocktail.
2 oz. Drambuie
1 oz. Orchard Peach brandy
1 oz. dry vermouth (Contratto)
.5 oz. lemon juice
This drink has a great balance; while it’s on the sweet side of the equation, the bite of the Drambuie and the sour lemon juice rein it in just enough, while the complexities of both the vermouth and the Drambuie temper the more syrupy tendencies of the brandy. I don’t make up a lot of drinks from scratch (and I post even fewer of them, since they only occasionally wind up being successful), so it’s not saying much, but this is definitely the best cocktail I’ve created on my own. If you give this one a try, please comment and let me know what you think. At the risk of tooting my own horn, I give it five livers.
A final note on the Orchard Peach: I think it would serve well as a substitute for apricot brandy in just about any recipe, although I would probably cut down the quantity by a bit as this seems to run a bit sweeter than apricot brandy. Give it a try in the Hop Toad (rum) or the Dick, Jr. (gin)