This is the story of a neighborhood party that took forever to pull off, but which resulted in the discovery of my new go-to adult summer beverage, thereby making it well worth the wait.
John and I had been talking with our neighbors about throwing this special sort of block party for quite some time. Months, actually. But this was not to be just any old shindig. There were rules, you see (probably why it took us so long to get all of our acts together).
It’s what’s known as a “progressive” dinner party, and I hadn’t heard anything about this business until our friend Robert spelled it out: you get a few neighboring houses together, each one serving 1-2 tapas/ or family style dishes paired with a beverage, and you progress from one house to the next, eating and drinking all along the merry way.
A roaming party? I’m in.
To keep it interesting and eclectic each house would choose an ethnic cuisine to plan their menu around. The neighborinos chose Cajun and Mexican, respectively; we landed on Japanese. Seeking to diverge from the typical Japanese fare (sushi rolls, tempura, meh), we wound up serving an ahi tartare tostada creation with avocado puree and a mango-jicama salsa. There were also wasabi mashed potatoes. Nailed it.
But this story is really about the cocktail we served, which was truly the star of the show. Something Japanese…we could have gone down the sake road, but that would have been too easy. Something more whimsical was in order. All I knew was that I wanted to serve them in mason jars with cutesy straws, and John wanted something that we could whip up in advance and keep in a large pitcher.
We were stumped initially, but then, tucked away in the ever growing DVR list of food shows I never have time to watch was the answer; a gem of a drink concocted by one Mr. Bobby Flay. I don’t know what makes this drink particularly Japanese other than the fact that we swapped regular iced tea for green tea, but it had everything we were looking for.
I recently reshot the recipe for this Spiked Iced Peach Green Tea because even a couple of years later I still love it so much. I mean, who doesn’t love peaches? I also adapted the recipe, scaling it down to make two cocktails so it’s easy to enjoy even if you’re not throwing a party. However, if you do want to make a big batch of Spiked Iced Peach Green Tea and serve it in a party jug, you’ll be happy to know that you can easily scale the recipe back up (if you multiply this recipe by 5 you’ll wind up with a batch that makes 10-12 drinks.)
I also eliminated the simple syrup step, because when peaches are in season like they are now, they’re so sweet and juicy that this Spiked Iced Peach Green Tea doesn’t require any additional sweetness. But if you find that your peaches aren’t on the sweeter side, feel free to add a tablespoon or so of simple syrup to sweeten it up.
(Spiked) Iced Peach Green Tea
- 2-3 bags green tea
- 2 large ripe peaches peeled, pitted and chopped, plus sliced peaches for garnish
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 4 ounces gin
- Sparkling water
- Dash of bitters
- Lemon wheels for garnish (optional)
Brew tea bags by steeping in 12 ounces hot water for up to 5 minutes. Remove and discard tea bags and chill completely.
Puree peaches and lemon juice. If you desire a smoother consistency to the puree, strain through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, discarding solids. Set aside.
Pour chilled tea, peach puree and gin into a cocktail shaker, stirring to combine.
To serve, fill glasses with ice, top with iced tea mixture and top with a float of sparkling water and a dash of bitters. Garnish with peach slices and lemon wheels.