Memorial Day Weekend has come and passed, so now it’s basically summer. Peaches are starting to appear at my farmers market, and I’m already excited for all the ways I can use them in cooking and cocktails. First up is my take on a classic gin cocktail with peach and basil.
I know what you’re thinking… but Kate, I thought you said you aren’t a gin person? Well, I wasn’t. Then I discovered a couple of really good gins that don’t burn when they go down, nor are their flavors overpowering. And I learned how to mix them. One of those gins is the Jackson Avenue Gin from Knox Whiskey Works, a craft distillery up in Knoxville.
I met Ryan, the assistant distiller from Knox Whiskey, back in April, when they launched their three gins for distribution down here in Chattanooga. They did a tasting event at one of my favorite bars, so naturally I had to go.
Knox Whiskey Works produces 12 spirits, including gin, vodka, bourbon, whiskey, rum, coffee liqueur, and elderflower liqueur. Earlier this month, I stopped in Knoxville on my way to North Carolina and visited Ryan and checked out their distillery space. While I was there, I tasted a few more of their products and recorded a podcast episode with Ryan (which y’all can listen to here). Following my visit, I was inspired to try a gin cocktail on my own at home—quite an endeavor for someone who isn’t normally a gin drinker!
Before I go on, let me describe the flavor complexities of their Jackson Avenue Gin. It’s their contemporary, American-style gin, made with 51% juniper and nine other botanicals. When you taste this gin straight, Ryan recommends you taste it in three steps. In the first sip, you’ll get hit in the face with juniper. Next, you’ll taste chamomile, rose hip, and light, bright floral notes. Lastly, you’ll get a hit of orange, which is a really nice note to finish.
After a couple rounds of experimenting, I landed on this seasonal take on a French 75. I thought the peaches would be a nice fruity, sweet complement to the botanicals in the gin, and the basil balances everything out. The bubbles from the champagne make it light and easily drinkable. Plus, peach and basil is a delicious flavor combination that puts me in a summer state of mind in two sips. Not to mention the cocktail came out a beautiful pink, peachy color. Imagine that!
Let’s make this gin cocktail, shall we?
Time to… get peachy with it. Was that a lame joke? Oh well! This recipe makes two drinks, so share one with a friend.
Gettin' Peachy With It - Gin Cocktail
- 3 oz Knox Whiskey Works Jackson Avenue Gin (or your preferred gin)
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- 1 1/2 peaches, sliced (peeled optional)
- 6-8 basil leaves
- Champagne to top
Carefully slice peaches and add them to your cocktail shaker or jar.
Add basil leaves, simple syrup, gin, and a few ice cubes.
Shake for 10-15 seconds, hard enough to give the peaches a good mash and to release the juices and basil oils.
Double-strain over ice into two tumblers. Top each with champagne. Garnish with a basil leaf.