Frozen Peach, White Pepper and Green Tea Daiquiri

Frozen Peach Daiquiri Cocktail // stirandstrain.comOh OK, I know you want to roll your eyes because someone is trying to sell you on a frozen fruit daiquiri. Get it out of your system. Please. So that we can continue on and I can tell you all about how delicious it is and completely NOT your typical frozen daiquiri.

September is a crazy transitional month. Here in Los Angeles it gets crazy hot and for all intents and purposes it’s still summer even after the calendar tells you it’s Fall. But then suddenly temps will drop and we’re all scratching our heads wondering where we put that sweater.

We’re also at the end of the stone fruit season. (Already?! I’m putting on a sad face typing this.) It seems that every week we are losing all my favorite fruits as quickly as they came on to the scene. I can’t eat another cobbler, so this week I blended some peaches into a daiquiri. A not-too-sweet frozen cocktail with a dose of delicate, earthy flavors from white pepper and green tea infused syrup. So summery, so delicious, so not filled with high fructose corn syrup.Frozen Peach Daiquiri Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

The best part about this cocktail is that you can batch the base days ahead of time if you want. Or not. Making the base and sticking it in the freezer the night before gives you a super chilled mix (it won’t freeze) that when you blend with ice cubes the next day, it prevents it from getting too watery and diluted. If you’re pressed for time, you can just blend it all up without freezing too. I’m not going to stand in the way of you and this drink.

White Pepper-Green Tea Syrup:

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 green tea bags
2 tablespoons white peppercorns, whole

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in sugar to dissolve. Remove from heat and add tea bags. Let steep 5 minutes, then remove tea bags. Stir in peppercorns. Cover and let sit for 1 1/2 hours. Strain and bottle into an airtight container. Keep refrigerated up to 2 weeks.

Frozen Peach Daiquiri:
serves 3-4 cocktails

8 ounces white rum, such as Selvarey
4 ounces freshly squeezed juice from 4 limes
2 ripe peaches, roughly cubed (about 3 cups)
2 1/2 ounces White Pepper-Green Tea Syrup
4 cups ice
4 peach slices and lime zest for garnish

At least 1 day before you want to serve the drink, combine rum, lime juice, and White Pepper Green Tea Syrup in an airtight container. Store in the freezer for at least 8 hours. When ready to serve, pour pre-chilled base into blender with peaches and ice. Blend until mixture is uniform in texture. Pour into serving glasses. Garnish with a peach slice and lime zest, and serve.

Juicy peach flavor that  is not too sweet. Lovely earthiness from the white pepper and green tea while the lime and rum give it just enough zest.

*I originally posted this recipe on Serious Eats!

A Diwali Cocktail

A Diwali Cocktail // stirandstrain.comAll of you guys are about to get schooled in a holiday I’m pretty sure you had no idea existed. If you are Indian and are reading this, then, well, you know what holiday this is. If you’re not from Indian descent, I’m guessing you are trying to figure out how to pronounce that word. Diwali. The “W” is like a “V”, pretty easy. In case you are wondering, I am not of Indian descent. My heritage crosses most of Europe, stopping way up North with the Nordic culture, and then randomly zig-zags through the continent. My family even has some French Canadian and a probably unlikely history with the Native American community. That being an unconfirmed princess from some tribe that I think is just made up several generations ago.

So why India’s most major of holidays? I married into it. From first glance you would have no idea my husband was part Indian. The other half is Polish, and after living in Los Angeles for many years before meeting him, I thought he was Mexican when we first met. No offense to Mexican and South American cultures, I was very buzzed at that first meeting. But since being an active part in his Mother’s culture for almost 7 years now, I’ve started to take on some of these other holidays. Also, at his cousin’s request, relocating back to work in India this year, I owe the cousin and her husband a housewarming drink just in time for this holiday.

If you have been reading this blog for some time, you might recall the not-so-pleasant experience I had visiting that continent last year. However, you would note that an awesome drink DID spring up from that experience, and most notably, that country’s love of Gin. India does a decent Gin and Tonic folks.A Diwali Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

So for this year, on the festival of lights, I decided to tweak a recipe I encountered in the Washington Post on Indian beverages. The ingredients might seem a bit out there, but if you’re interested in new flavors, this would be a great place to start. The flavors of India are perfect for many cocktail creations, as they encompass sweet, salty and savory all at once and taste a lot more complex than cocktails you might be familiar with.

Here’s a warning for this drink, not to scare you off, but one ingredient in here, the black salt, might be a bit too much for some of you out there. When you open your container, you will get hit with a great amount of sulphur. That is a flavor component that this adds. Smelly, smelly sulphur. However, if you eat Indian food, you will find this subtly in the background in many dishes, so you might have already tried it before. Here though, if you are terrified of ruining a decent cocktail, or just simply cannot get your hands on it, leave it out. I won’t tell.A Diwali Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Also, the article suggests adding herbs and whole black peppercorns to your ice cubes the day before. This is optional and mainly a decorative element. When the ice cube starts to melt in the drink, be mindful that the peppercorns may be now floating in your beverage and you might unknowingly almost swallow one. I might have just done that. Twice.

Diwali Cocktail

Adapted from the Washington Post

Yields about 4 drinks

For paste base:
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons amchoor powder
1 teaspoons Indian Black Salt (make sure it is Indian and NOT anything else. No one else will have the same sulphur quality)
pinch kosher salt
1/4 ounce simple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup water

For each serving:
3 to 4 oz. Q Ginger
1-1/2 oz. Old Bombay London Dry Gin

Garnish:
marigolds
lime wedges

  1. In a large mortar dish, add all paste ingredients except water and grind down until a paste forms. Add water and stir to combine. Consistency will be watery.
  2. In a double rocks glass or medium sized snifter, add a tablespoon and a half to the bottom of the glass. Add ice. Pour over gin, Q Ginger and squeeze 2 lime wedges in each glass. Top with marigolds.

At first sip this cocktail is almost shocking. So many flavors are going on in this drink and as you sip they meld together a bit and settle down. Cumin pepper, and the black salt dominate with their earthiness while the ginger, amchoor (which is dried mango powder by the way) and lime have a lovely sharp sweetness. If you would like more sweetness here, you can up the simple syrup or Q Ginger. The mint and cilantro give off some floral aromas as well. And the gin, well, it is sitting way at the back of the class here. It’s in there, but clearly being muscled out by the other spices. The marigolds are edible if you would like to try them although here their presence is symbolic of celebration in Indian culture. For the Hindi ceremony part of our wedding these little guys were EVERYWHERE.

Happy Diwali. If you do venture to make this, please let me know what you think!A Diwali Cocktail // stirandstrain.com