I looked it up: a “julep” is a genre of drink — the most famous but not only of which is the fabled mint julep — “consisting of a liquor (such as bourbon or brandy) and sugar poured over crushed ice and garnished with mint.” This was a revelation when I made these delicious cocktails (and mocktail version) and was struggling for a name. Peach, bourbon … peach, bourbon … PBJ! (Grilled PB&J is a fantastic sandwich, but that’s a post for another day.) With friends in town from Tennessee and temperatures still too high to spend much time down below, we took the galley above board and grilled everything tonight.
This one goes out to three of Pirate Kristin’s favorite followers — Squire John Bennett and his wife Saint Pat (not pictured, to protect the innocent) of Chattanooga, and Shipmate Bucko (not pictured…but hardly innocent), who reminded us that, by seafaring standards, we were sorely neglecting the cocktail category. Spaniel Swab Eddy, on the other hand, found nothing in this recipe to like. He’s waiting on Captain Peter to finish the shrimp.
Grilled Peach Bourbon Julep
3 large peaches
1 large or two small lemons
1 cup mint-infused simple syrup*
1/2 teaspoon vanilla — only per mocktail**
4 sprigs fresh mint
Seltzer or ginger ale***
*Mint simple syrup is something I keep in the icebox at all times as it’s great in iced tea and lemonade. To make, bring 2 cups sugar, 1 cup water, and a handful of mint sprigs to a low boil. Remove from heat and let the mint steep in the syrup while it cools. Discard the mint and keep in a mason jar in the icebox. If you don’t have minted simple syrup, plain will do but add a handful of mint leaves with the peaches when muddling.
**Vanilla is one of the main flavors in bourbon, so for mocktails adding a bit gives some of that flavor, as well as color.
***Shortly after Bucko’s plea for libations arrived, I saw an item on the internet about crafting cocktails using St. Croix flavored (sorry … essenced) seltzers, which seemed like a great way to concoct some new mocktails as well; their Peach-Pear edition just called out for a peach drink. If you use ginger ale instead, back off the simple syrup a bit to compensate for the extra sweetness.
****As Pirate Caroline says, make friends with a powerboater.
Halve and pit the peaches, but leave the skins on. Halve the lemons.
Grill cut-side down for about 5 minutes, until the peaches are soft to the touch. Oh, and clean your grill first — I did not see any reference to “shrimp juleps” out there on the internet!
Squeeze the lemon halves into a pitcher and add the simple syrup and peaches (and additional mint leaves if your syrup isn’t minted) and muddle well. You have a few choices here: work really hard to get the peaches fully broken down, scoop some of the remaining skins and solids out before pouring, do your best to pour through a strainer, or consider this a chunky cocktail; I went with a combination of the last two and that peach pulp was delicious! Add a can of seltzer or ginger ale and a good amount of ice to the pitcher.
If you are making ONLY the leaded or only the unleaded version, you can also add the bourbon (a couple ounces per person should do) or the additional seltzer/vanilla as the case may be to the pitcher. We were accommodating both types of sailors, so we put the bourbon in two glasses, and the vanilla and additional seltzer to dilute it in the other two. Add a mint sprig to each glass, and then fill 3/4 full with the peach mixture. Top with a bit more seltzer or ginger ale, and enjoy with good friends, a great sunset, and a swim for the longsuffering Spaniel Swab.
Grilled Peach Bourbon Julep
- 3 large peaches, halved and pitted, skins on
- 1 large or two small lemons, halved
- 1 cup mint simple syrup (or plain simple syrup and a handful of additional mint sprigs)
- 1 cup bourbon (or 2 additional cans seltzer plus 2 teaspoons vanilla for mocktails)
- 1 can St. Croix Peach Pear Seltzer (or ginger ale)
- 4 sprigs fresh mint
- Grill peaches and lemons, cut side down, on clean, hot grill about 5 minutes or until peaches are soft.
- Muddle peaches with lemon juice and simple syrup (and mint if syrup is not minted). Add ice, seltzer, and bourbon. If making mocktails, add all seltzer and vanilla. Strain into a glass and garnish with a mint sprig.