Few ingredients in the booze world have gotten as bad a rap as fruit liqueurs. So often they’re sickly sweet, lacking any genuine flavor. Although it’s that sweetness that endears the very cheapest versions to first-time drinkers, which often leads to questionable college decisions.
Peach schnapps may be the worst offender; there’s nothing like a bad Sex on the Beach to put you off it forever. But there are well-made, absolutely delicious fruit liqueurs out there — ones made with, you know, real fruit — that work perfectly in cocktails. At this time of the year, we start looking for vibrant summer-fruit flavors in our drinks, but since real peaches aren’t yet in season, you can just as easily work with an excellent liqueur instead. Pick up a bottle of Combier peach liqueur and try it out in these three drinks.
Easy: Improved Bellini
Peach nectar and Prosecco get you a classic Bellini — pleasant enough, but often extremely sweet and a little pulp-y. Pairing up peach liqueur and Prosecco, on the other hand, gives you a bright, cleaner, zippier version.
Instructions: Add 1 ounce of peach liqueur to the bottom of a champagne flute, and top with 4 ounces of prosecco. Garnish with a long, skinny lemon peel.
Intermediate: Peach Martini
We refuse to call this a peach ‘tini. Just on principle. Whereas appletinis and other creations of the Sex and the City era generally amounted to “cold vodka + flavored crap,” this drink combines a classic London dry gin with just a bit of peach liqueur and dry vermouth for a far more sophisticated cocktail.
Instructions: In a mixing glass with ice, combine 2 ounces of dry gin (we’re using Beefeater), 1/2 ounce of dry vermouth, 1/2 ounce of peach liqueur, and a dash of orange bitters. Stir until very well-chilled and the ice begins to melt, at least 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a long orange peel, spritzing the peel over the surface of the glass to spray its oils across the drink.
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Advanced: Peach-Bourbon Collins
As many a Southerner can tell you, peaches and bourbon are two of the better things in life. Before peach season kicks in, try pairing the whiskey with a great peach liqueur instead, and turn it into a tall, refreshing Collins with lemon and soda. A front-porch sipper if ever there were one.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 1 1/2 ounces of bourbon, 1/2 ounce of lemon juice, and 3/4 ounce of peach liqueur. Shake all that up well, then strain into a tall glass with ice. Top with an ounce of club soda and garnish with a few lemon half-moons.