Our Recipe Redux assignment this month was to address the versatility of liquor in kitchen. Since it’s so hot here in Dallas, I wasn’t about to conjur up a recpe that required heat of any kind, so my mind went straight to the spirits category. The fruity spirits category, that is.

Say hello to the Peachberry Citrus & Basil Cooler.

cooler

My inspiration for this refreshing, healthy cocktail came very recently during a mixology class with LA based master mixologist Matthew Biancaniello. Part Willy Wonka and part Leonardo Da Vinci, cocktail chef Biancaniello creates the most unimaginable, delicious drinks using local, season ingredients he procures at farmers markets, those he finds  in his farmer-friends backyards and those he finds while foraging through the California terraine. His weapon of choice for his craft? The muddler. 

Think strawberries + tomatoes + leek flowers. Black walnut gin. Applewood smoked bacon. Beet horseradish.  Oysters. Bonito infused Scotch. Olive oil. Herbs. Spices. Salts. The results are not only delicious, they are visually stunning. And, they are muddled. 

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In the vein of a mixologist, I made a trip to one of the most beloved farms in North Texas–Ham’s Orchard-and scooped up enough peaches to feed a small army. I chose Seconds because I know that peaches don’t have to look pristine to taste delicious. I was right. And, I knew if they were good and soft, they would be muddle-ready. Right again.

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I also grabbed strawberries and grapefruit. Basil from my kitchen window sill. Tito’s Vodka from the freezer. So I wasn’t distilling and infusing my own gin or foraging through my backyard looking for garlic scapes or lavender to steep. I WAS adventurous in my own mind.   Added a few other ingredients, muddled them together with my make-shift muddler (read-back of an ice cream scoop) and within 10 minutes, the Peachberry, Citrus and Basil cooler was born.

Spiked for me, virgin for the child. 

Cheers to you, Matthew. Thanks for the inspiration. 

Peachberry Citrus & Basil Cooler
A refreshing drink loaded with summer fruits, basil and spiked with vodka
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Ingredients
1 peach broken into 4-6 chunks, pit removed
3 strawberries, stem intact
2 T lemon or grapefruit juice
3/4 cup orange juice
3/4 T honey
4-5 basil leaves plus additional for garnish
1 oz vodka
Instructions
Pace peach pieces, strawberries, lemon/grapefruit juice, honey and basil leaves in a large cup. Using a muddler or the end of a rolling pin, crush the fruit, juice and leaves until it's mostly juice and pulp. Strain mixture well to remove all of the pulp. (Once strained, place crush ice in a highball or other bar glass. Pour strained "juice" over the ice. Add vodka, if desired and stir well. Garnish with basil.
Notes
Be sure to keep the pulp once it's strained in order to add it into smoothies or to pour over yogurt-it's delicious!).
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As the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians, The Recipe ReDux aims to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover. Thank you for visiting. We hope you enjoy!

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