Ode to South Carolina

A cocktail recipe inspired by a box of South Carolina peaches.

By Hope S. Philbrick

A rivalry, I think it’s a friendly one, exists between South Carolina and Georgia. That may be true of football, but I’m the last person you should ask. I’m talking about peaches.

Georgia has proclaimed itself the peach state, but in fact South Carolina is the second-largest producer of peaches in the United States. California is No. 1.

Still, get some peach-lovin’ Georgians and South Carolinians together and they’ll eventually start debating which state has the better peaches. This discussion will probably never be settled to anyone’s satisfaction, but if it includes tasting peaches it can be enjoyable.

Three peach seasons ago, an associate sent me a case of fresh-picked peaches from Titan Farms in Ridge Spring, South Carolina. The peaches were juicy, flavorful, freestone and simply great. But I chuckled every time I cut into one, thinking about what that UPS guy must have thought about delivering South Carolina peaches to a Georgia address. He may have muttered “traitor” under his breath while dumping the box at my door.

With 20 peaches to consume, I experimented with various recipes. One evening Dean wanted a bourbon cocktail so I created this recipe. He gave it a hearty thumbs up.

Originally dubbed a Titan-bon (the farm + bourbon), I think of this cocktail as my Ode to South Carolina—even though in the years since I first created this recipe I’ve discovered that a Georgia peach works equally well.

muddle 3 thick slices of a Titan peach, peeled
add 1/2 oz. cinnamon basil-infused simple syrup (adjust to taste)
add 2 oz. bourbon (e.g., Wild Turkey or Woodford Reserve)

Shake vigorously with ice. Double strain into an old fashioned glass that has been filled with large ice cubes. (To double strain, pour through a mesh strainer using a cocktail strainer.)

Garnish with a thin peach slice or a sprig of cinnamon basil.

To make the cinnamon basil-infused simple syrup…

In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir a generous handful of fresh cinnamon basil that has been washed and wiped dry into the liquid. Cover and set mixture aside for 15 minutes. Strain out herbs, reserving liquid. Allow to cool. Refrigerate until ready to use.

-Photos © HSP Media LLC

Product samples afford the research opportunity but do not sway opinion.

HopeP_144Hope S. Philbrick is founder and editor-in-chief of Getaways for Grownups. She became a freelance writer and editor because she believes that work and fun should not be mutually exclusive. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications nationwide. When not writing, she can usually be found on the road or savoring something tasty.

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