For Gabe and I cocktail making is often a collaborative process. Usually I start with a base idea and then he takes that and works it out until he has ounces and grams scribbled out all over his well-loved Field Notes. Where I would have probably called it, “delicious!” Gabe likes to fiddle and fuss until sweet and sour sing together like the masterful harmonies of Simon and Garfunkel’s. We make a good team.
For our house warming party we wanted a cocktail that didn’t require constant shaking and stirring, particularly because I knew I’d be in the kitchen fussing with the food and needed Gabe to play host. We wanted something that could be poured from a pitcher and yet had the sort of flavor that seems to only come from a finely tuned cocktail that is mixed to order.
What we ended up with is a sparkling pink rum punch that is perfect for a party and what we affectionately call the Rum-Riguez. It can be mixed well in advance and is a real easy drinker. A perfect match for a late summer party where twinkle lights hang above and new and old friends hang around a table filled with corn dip (add sharp cheddar and don’t be afraid of using far more lime juice than called for), platters of figs and shaved ham, and cookies. It’s also perfectly suitable for a Wednesday evening that demands a cocktail or perhaps to celebrate the kids returning to school.
Peach puree adds a floral freshness and pairs beautifully with Orgeat – a sweet, almond flavored syrup that has a whisper of Orange blossom. Ginger soda swoops in with spice and freshly grated nutmeg brings a pleasant warmth. We also used a touch of bitters, this one to be precise.
Because this cocktail was for a very special occasion I used it as a chance to try my hand at homemade Orgeat. This recipe became my map, although I toasted my almonds until deeply golden and used dark brown sugar in place of the white. Also, I made the ginger soda. There’s a very lovely recipe in my book, Date Night In, for such a thing. But if Gabe and I were to simply make this recipe for the two of us you can be sure there would be a trip to the store for those ingredients.
Here’s to a few more summer nights and days worthy of punch.
Ginger Peach Rum Punch
Use the following ratio to make as much or as little rum punch as you’d like. The peach puree can be made up to three days in advance. It’s starts to change color quickly but still tastes great. Add a good bit of lime or lemon to preserve the color – just adjust the recipe if you do that.
1 1/2 ounce peach puree (simply blend pitted peaches in a blender until completely smooth)
1/2 ounce Orgeat
1/2 ounce lime juice (about 1 small)
2 1/2 ounces Rum (Our favorite is the Plantation 5 year)
4 ounces ginger beer
Freshly ground nutmeg
Tiki bitters or some other spiced bitters
2 pieces lemon peel
Combine the peach, orgeat, lime juice, and rum into a glass. Give it a good stir then pour into two glasses filled with ice.
Top with the ginger beer and give a light stir. Finish with a bit of freshly grated nutmeg, a twist of lemon peel, and a few drops of bitters.
If you are making this for a crowd you can add the nutmeg and bitters to the pitcher.
Add the ginger beer to the pitcher just before your guests arrive to limit the amount of bubbles that you lose.