We often run a cocktail on Friday in time for the weekend. Today’s special is Spicy Peach Margarita, and here’s its story.
A few weeks ago I headed down to Florida to sort through what was left after moving my parents to Mathison Retirement Center and decide what our family would take and what we would sell.
Maggy volunteered to go on this difficult journey with me. Because we wanted to give our undivided attention to Mom and Dad during the day, we spent our off hours working our way through a sweltering attic, drawers filled with treasures and trinkets, and one closet packed with old photo albums.
It was an emotionally and physically trying few days… and then there was the thousand mile journey home. In a sixteen-foot truck.
Maggy and I vowed to find a way to have a little fun.
Our first day we got as far as Atlanta and feasted at Empire State South with friends and fellow food bloggers, Chris and Karen of The Peche (peach in French). When they picked us up for dinner, they came with a bagful of homemade goodies—green tomato pickles, homemade bitters, and rosemary and spice-infused gin. They moved to Atlanta from New Jersey not even a year ago, and they’ve already nailed Southern hospitality.
The next day our plan was to leisurely stop along the way for peaches and fireworks, boiled peanuts, and jam. But driving a truck is not like toodling along in a car. Everything takes longer. Turns out we were looking at a ten hour drive if were going to make it home in time for the 4th of July.
We were pretty discouraged until we crossed the South Carolina border and saw a store that offered one-stop shopping. They advertised peaches, fireworks, and all manner of Southern delicacies.
They did not disappoint. We walked out with tomatoes, comb honey, a variety of jams I’d never seen before (including one called Traffic Jam). We bought stone ground grits and cornmeal, a modest box of fireworks and the biggest basket of peaches they sold.
It wasn’t the carefree trip we envisioned, but it was fun enough and utterly memorable.
With another day and a half on the road for the peaches to ripen, I was worried we’d bought too many, but between all the smoothies, cobblers, parfaits, and cocktails, I’ll be darned if we didn’t go through them all.
Taking our cue from The Peche, we infused the tequila for our cocktail, not with herbs and spices, but with a fiery chile. We enjoyed two kinds of fireworks that 4th of July night. There were the obvious ones we had bought from that shop in South Carolina. And then there was another kind you experience when pepper-infused tequila meets a sweet southern peach.
- 1 cup tequila
- 1 whole hot chile (like Serrano), pierced several times with a knife point
- 6 medium peaches, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup agave (plus more to taste)
- 1 cup orange liqueur, such as Cointreau,
- 1 cup juice from 4 to 6 limes, reserving a couple of the shells for rubbing rims
- ¼ cup Kosher salt
- Pierce chili several times with a knifepoint and drop into tequila; let stand 4 hours and up to a couple of days. Remove and discard.
- Puree peaches until smooth in a food processor. Measure out 3 cups for the drink. If there is any remaining puree, reserve for another use. Mix peach puree, agave, orange liqueur, and lime juice. Refrigerate until ready to use. (Can be made several hours ahead.)
- When ready to serve, pour salt onto a small plate. Rub the rims of 6 martini-style glasses with a lime shell to moisten. Dip rims into salt. Working in 3 batches, pour ⅓ of the peach mixture and ⅓ cup of the tequilla into a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice cubes and cap with shaker lid. Shake vigorously, pour into prepared glasses, and serve!