I’m not the biggest drinker – think what you will about my after-work pint of Guinness or my enjoyment of sips of bourbon on the rocks.
In fact, while I was testing cocktails for this piece, I’d think: “This Blueberry Mojito is good. But I bet it’d taste even better without the rum.”
And I may have judged my sister Jill too harshly when I accused her of liking pineapple juice and vodka cocktails only because the former disguised the sting of the latter. Pineapple juice, especially freshly blended, tastes amazing. But I never take the time to drink it on its own–or to muddle fresh blueberries with mint and sugar to craft a drink I’m not planning on spiking.
Today, for Summer Fest: Peach Edition, I’ve done that, made a drink only out of limes and fresh ripe peaches. A virgin drink. Hold the rum, the vodka, the tequila–and the elbow grease. This drink’s easier than any cocktail I’ve mixed.
I discovered the fact responsible for making today’s Peach Limeade as simple as can be during my cocktail research too. It’s that simple syrup, a building block of most cocktails, does not have to be heated for the sugar to dissolve. For a long time I thought simple syrup ought to be as syrupy as butterscotch sauce, but in reality it’s more like sugar water, equal parts (by weight) of water and sugar.
And because of this relative high proportion of water to sugar, it turns out no heat is necessary to make 1 ½ cups of sugar disappear into 1 cup of water. You simply shake the two together and leave them in a jar for a few hours.
That made me wonder if lemonade could be created in the vein of no-cook sun tea. I’d always made lemonade by boiling up a lemon zest-flavored syrup and mixing it with fresh citrus juice and water. But what if I used my old lemonade proportions in a new no-cook method, as if I were making simple syrup? Would the sugar dissolve?
I squeezed limes instead of lemons, but that didn’t matter. The answer was yes, meaning this limeade requires no stovetop simmering, just a fridge and a bit of forethought.
To my cold-steeped limeade, I added two extraordinarily ripe peaches, which I let hang out with the lime juice and water as the sugar dissolved. Their flavor added a summery sweetness to the tangy limeade, which could totally disguise a shot of vodka, rum, or tequila (just don’t tell me if you add one). Their skins dyed the drink an amazing shade of peach.
About that peach tone: this recipe’s hues do seem to match the blog’s peach, gray, and turquoise color almost perfectly. Which seems a fitting celebration of the fact that I’ve finally redesigned the sidebar, with site highlights, best-loved recipes, and adorable icons. Hope you like!
Easy Peach Limeade
Makes 3 1/2 cups; serves 4
To make sure that you don’t lose any of the precious peach juice, my instructions say to smush the peaches right into the limeade. Make sure your hands are clean!
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from 8 limes)
2 3/4 cups water
2 ripe peaches, pitted and quartered
In a pitcher or a quart-sized jar, combine the sugar, lime, and water. Stir very well to dissolve the sugar. Add the peaches.
Now reach your (clean) hand into the pitcher and grab hold of a peach quarter. Smush it til it’s pulpy–really, right in the pitcher! Wild, I know. Repeat with the rest of the peach quarters. Shake off your hand and cover the pitcher or jar.
Place the pitcher in the fridge and leave for at least 3 hours and up to 12. Your limeade will grow peachier the longer you let it sit.
Strain the limeade through a fine mesh strainer, pressing on the solids to extract all the peach flavor.
Serve in small glasses, over ice.
I’ve teamed up with Food Network and a host of other great bloggers to bring you Summer Fest, a season-long celebration of summer produce. Follow the links below to check out what everyone else has cooked up with their peaches this week!
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Peach Blackberry Arugula Salad
Cooking With Elise: Streusel Topped Peach Muffins With Peach Butter
Heather Christo Cooks: Peach Coconut Pancakes
Ingredients, Inc: Easy Peach Pie
From My Corner of Saratoga: Grilled Peaches With Caramel-Ginger Sauce and Pound Cake
Dishin & Dishes: Peach Lacquered Chicken Salad
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Fresh Peach and Coconut Cake
Daily*Dishin: Caramelized Grilled Peaches
Delicious Lean: Smokey Peach Chipotle Grilled Chicken
Thursday Night Dinner: Peach Shortbread
Sweet Life Bake: Jicama Tortilla Salad With Peach Dressing
I Am Baker: Cilantro Peach Salsa
Zaika Zabardast: Donut Peach Quesadilla
And Love It Too: Peachy Coconut Streusel Muffins
Daydreamer Desserts: White Peach Margaritas
Cooking Channel: 4 Savory Uses for Peaches
Healthy Eats: What to do With Overripe Peaches
FN Dish: Peaches Move to the Big Kids’ Table