Seasonal Peach Craft Spirits + Matching Cocktails

With peak peach season right around the corner (July & August are when they’ll be sweetest at your local farmer’s market), I had the idea to round up a few peach flavored craft spirits for your summer cocktail making pleasure. While I love having a bottle of Leopold’s Peach Whiskey on hand for a sweet night cap, I was only recently introduced to the sheer bliss that is High West’s 7000′ Peach Vodka. My third pick, Prichard’s Peach Mango Rum, caught my eye in an article on the revival of rum making in the American south. I haven’t had a chance to taste it yet, but I can’t wait to get my hands on some and whip up a batch of Peach Dark & Stormy’s.

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1. 7000′ Peach Vodka | High West Distillery | Park City, UT

This vodka is a dream. Peaches are fresh picked the day of, de-stoned, macerated, and soaked in High West’s award winning 7000′ Vodka. The peaches are then removed and thrown in the still to distill out the remaining alcohol. The resulting peach distillate is then combined with the peach-steeped vodka to create a truly one-of-a-kind real fruit spirit.

{ Would be perfect in this pretty Peach Collins for a brunch or shower | Cupcakes & Cashmere }

2. Sweet Georgia Belle Peach Mango Rum | Prichard’s Distillery | Kelso, TN

This tropical fruit-spiked rum, along with Head Distiller Phil Prichard’s more traditional offerings, are inspired by colonial-era rums. I can’t help but think how good this would taste splashed into iced tea or an Arnold Palmer.

{ Use it to make a batch of Peach Mojitos for your next BBQ | Southern Living }

3. Rocky Mountain Peach Whiskey | Leopold Bros. | Denver, CO

If you stick around long enough, you’ll catch on that Leopold Bros. is one of my all-time favorite distilleries. Everything they make is delicious and they were recently named Distillery of the Year by the American Distilling Institute. Their incredible fruit whiskies are made by blending their American Small Batch Whiskey with fresh juice, squeezed right in the distillery – in this case from tons of fresh Colorado peaches. P.S. They make a Georgia Peach version too!

{ Whip up this summery Peach Mint Old Fashioned on a hot night | Cook Like A Champion }

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Bar Basics: Spirits to Keep On Hand at All Times

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One of the things I was most excited about when moving into my first solo apartment was stocking a beautifully curated bar. I have a bit of an obsession with bar carts – there may or may not be an entire Pinterest board to prove this – so I knew I wanted to make mine the focal point of my first big-girl living space. This obsession of mine is so well known that my Mom bought me the gorgeous bar cabinet in these photos as a house warming gift. It’s still one of my favorite pieces of furniture to this day. Here are the must-have spirits I keep stocked at all times for easy entertaining.

Hangar 1 Straight Vodka ($38) // Vodka is my family’s go-to spirit and this is the one we’ve been drinking for years. Made from a blend of wheat-based spirit and grape eau de vie, it has virtually no bite and a gorgeous floral quality. If you can’t find Hangar 1, go for Prairie Vodka or Tito’s in a pinch.

Hendrick’s Gin ($40) // If I’m having a cocktail these days, there’s a good chance it’s made with Gin. As a result, it’s worth it to have my favorite around, even if a bit pricey.

Flor de Caña Rum ($20) // I don’t drink a lot of Rum, but when the mood for a Mojito or Dark & Stormy strikes, I make sure to have both dark and light. Captain Morgan or Bacardi will do the trick for the light stuff, whereas I prefer to have at least a semi-decent dark rum like Flor de Caña or Zacapa on hand for guests who enjoy it on the rocks.

Casamigos Tequila ($57) // Tequila is a must. Whether it’s for weekend margaritas or a quick shot before heading out to a bar (you know you do it too), never be without it. Blanco or Reposado, whatever you prefer. Funny enough, the Kirkland brand Silver and Reposado options are bomb, and a great value too. If I haven’t been on a Costco run in a while, I go for Casamigos, or Fortaleza when I can find it. They’re premium and definitely priced as such, but cheap Tequila can be painful and drinking should not be painful.

Bulleit Bourbon ($28) // This is, hands down, my favorite mainstream Bourbon. Even though I’m pretttyyyy sure it comes from a factory distillery in Indiana, it’s still the best-tasting bang for your buck these days. If you like something a bit spicier, their Rye is also fantastic.

Carpano Antica ($36) // Several of my friends and family enjoy a well-made manhattan so I make sure to keep this vermouth (plus brandied or maraschino cherries) stocked. It also makes an excellent night cap neat or on the rocks.

Wild Card – Hangar 1 Kaffir Lime Vodka ($38) // I’ve gotten so many friends hooked on this spirit, I can’t keep count. Although a little weird (read: surprisingly floral) at first, you’ll quickly decide you don’t ever want to drink anything else. With club soda or in a gimlet, this real-fruit infused vodka is always a hit.

{Exact prices may vary by city and state.}

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I’m curious, what are your favorite every-day spirits? Let me know in the comments below.

Again, thank you to Megan Burgess of Shortography for the gorgeous photographs!

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Five Favorites: American Craft Vodka

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Although considered a bit of a black sheep in the craft cocktail world, Vodka happens to have several redeeming qualities, at least if you ask me. Besides the conveniently low calorie content, Vodka has a mellow flavor profile and is therefore an ideal neutral base for at home cocktails. Notice I did not say odorless or flavorless. In my opinion, any Vodka worth drinking should have both a subtle aroma and a nuanced flavor profile when tasted straight. Here are five of my craft Vodka favorites that fit that bill.

  1. Silver Tree Vodka | Leopold Bros. Distillery | Denver, CO

Arguably one of – if not THE – finest American-made vodkas actually being made from scratch these days. Head Distiller Todd Leopold uses a blend of wheat, potatoes and malted barley to get a final product that goes down almost too easily.

  1. George Spirits All Purpose | St. George Spirits | Alameda, CA

St. George originally made Hangar 1 Vodka (next up on the list) but have since sold the product line to Proximo and recently completed their contract to keep producing it for them. Now they’ve launched a new and equally delectable line of their own. The current lineup includes a straight “All Purpose” version they make from a corn-based spirit and pear Eau de Vie, as well as Green Chile and California Citrus options.

  1. Hangar 1 Straight | Hangar 1 Vodka | Alameda, CA

Now made by one of the few female Head Distillers in the country – Caley Maker – from a blend of a wheat-based neutral grain spirit and a grape Eau de Vie that softens the heat perfectly. One of my all-time favorites.

  1. Spring 44 Vodka | Spring 44 Distilling | Loveland, CO

Spring 44’s claim to fame is where they get their water. It’s supposedly collected from a Rocky Mountain artesian mineral spring in Colorado’s Buckhorn Canyon. Personally, I take slight issue with using water as a marketing ploy, seeing as it really only comes into play in the final proofing stages of distilling, but you simply can’t argue with the smoothness of Spring 44. Also not to be missed is their Honey Vodka made with Colorado honey straight from the comb.

  1. Prairie Organic | Prairie Organic Spirits

Heads up, I’m throwing in something a little more commercial. The jury’s out on the actual “craft-ness” of this so-called craft vodka, seeing as there’s seemingly no physical distillery location to speak of. Nonetheless, I’ve noticed that if a a bar manager isn’t a fan of vodka but still has to stock it, this is the one they most often choose to have on hand. It also happens to be pretty damn good and easy to find nationwide.

Honorable Mention: Woody Creek. This 100% potato vodka received double gold at this year’s World Spirits Competition in San Fransisco a.k.a. like, the Oscars of distilling.

Are you a Vodka drinker? Have you tried any of these? If so, let me know your favorites in the comments below!

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