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It’s All Peaches & Tiki Parties Around Here

September 15, 2016 | Frank Bonanno

Tiki Drink!

I have two peach trees in my back yard. Right around August, their skinny limbs start to dip to the ground, heavy with their fat, ripe load. They tease our whole family, those trees, their scent filling the yard, making the bees drunk, causing neighbors to linger and point. The whole spectacle is just too much for the squirrels, who spend the season perfecting a tightrope act and I’m lucky if, by season’s end, I get a single peach for myself.

For a while, I entertained the idea of blowing the things to smithereens (the squirrels, not the peaches), going so far as to give my sons bb guns and shooting lessons and permission to go after any squirrel in the yard. Truth is, I don’t have it in me. I can’t watch my sons kill squirrels–and I really don’t want to clean them up. I ended up hiding the guns and suffering vermin who also eat the tomatoes and strawberries and drop the peach pits on my car just to show off.

But I digress.

I’m sharing two recipes here, one for a tiki party today (that has absolutely nothing to do with peaches, but I’m hanging on to summer with every possible sip of rum), and one for a peach sangria party come spring. Next weekend or the weekend after, you can host a tiki party at home just to stretch out these last days of summer, and in a few months, just when you’re sick of winter for good and the weather starts to turn back, there’s a peach sangria celebration waiting in a jar. –After the spring party, when you’re a little buzzed from the peach sangria, throw the spent jar at a squirrel, just as a kindness to me.

Scorpion Punch (a classic, adapted by Adam Hodak from Trader Vic’s original recipe)
Tools: punch bowl, jigger
1 ½ bottles Don Q Anejo Rum
2 oz Gordon’s Dry Gin
2 oz Peach Street Pear Brandy
Juice of five medium size lemons
Juice of four medium size oranges
½ pint orgeat syrup
2 sprigs garden basil
½ bottle white wine –something non oaky that you would drink all by itself
1. Mix all ingredients
2. Serve over ice and enjoy the last of the season!

Peach Sangria
Tools: Half gallon mason jar, shallow bowl or baking pan; sharpie; sharp knife; juicer/citrus reamer
2 cup sugar
3 peaches
Juice from one lemon
Juice from one lime
Juice from one orange
4 cups brandy
1. Write on the jar, with a sharpie “For Sangria: add 4 bottles white wine in the spring”
2. Put the sugar in the shallow bowl, (I use a pasta bowl). Vigorously roll each of the citrus fruits through the sugar so that the aromatic oil seeps in and flavors the sugar
3. Juice the fruit into the mason jar. Discard the peel and throw away the squeezed remains.
4. Peel and slice the peaches; discard the pits. Put the peach slices into the mason jar.
5. Surround the peaches with the the aromatic sugar.
6. Pour brandy over sugared peaches. Liquid should completely cover peaches–if it doesn’t, just top with more brandy. Lid tightly and gently shake to mix sugar.
7. Stick the jar in the back of your cupboard in a cool place. Shake it from time to time if you think of it, but I’ve done this for the past four years, and every time forgotten entirely about the jar until spring. I set my Google calendar to “Make Sangria” the first of March, and at that point I pull the jar out of the cupboard and put it in a prominent place as a reminder to host a party, damn it.
To serve: follow the directions you wrote on the jar: pour contents into a punch bowl with 4 bottles of white wine. Serve over ice. Top with a bit of soda water if it’s a lighter refresher you’re wanting.