I’ll always save the best for last, so, consider yourself warned and please don’t cross my path.
That last “Have’A Chip” that’s Siamese-d together with the other and just so salt and lime-y — don’t you even dare take it. The final few Ricotta and Chorizo-stuffed shells that are floating about the refrigerator? Do I even need to tell you that I’m saving them because pasta always tastes better the next day? Those Chocolate–Almond Butter Eggs I left in the freezer since Easter? I haven’t forgotten about them — just waiting for the opportune time.
When it’s just me and that last bit, trust me that you won’t want to face my wrath should you decide to steal it. And I’m particularly protective about the last of summer. Maybe it’s a holdover from my school years when I’d get a knot in my throat thinking about the year ahead. Perhaps its because I just don’t want summer to end or the last of the season’s produce to cross my table.
My coping is hardly coping and instead of giving up gracefully, I white knuckle it to the very end. Especially when it comes to the peaches. I could share some story of how I lovingly preserve them – a day-long kitchen project that involves canning or dehydrating — but the heat wave we’re having just doesn’t give me that kind of patience. Instead, I’m making a shrub — an old-school drinking vinegar that’s the lazy woman’s way to preserve. Okay, the resulting sweet-tart vinegary fruit syrup is amazing in soda, on ice cream, or in this drink but I’m really doing it because I don’t want to give up the peaches yet.
The shrub itself requires nothing more than fruit, sugar, vinegar, and some patience. I’ve made many variations over the years but I keep coming back to the simplicity of this one with peaches and red wine vinegar — most likely because it’s a match made in cocktail heaven.
It’s particularly stellar added to a Bourbon Smash since it lends a tart note to a drink that can easily become too sweet. To make it happen, you just need to muddle a bit of the shrub with a lime wedge, a handful of mint leaves, and a few peach slices. After that, add a glug of Bourbon, some bitters, and ice and shake the hell out of it (when the shaker gets frosty, you’re good to go) then strain that into a glass then top it with a splash of club soda or ginger ale and a few mint leaves. A few sips and you’re going to swear that summer’s nowhere near over — that maybe it has even frozen in time in the form of this cocktail.