Ah, the end of the summer. But Klaus is a veritable flurry of activity! This is the season he looks forward to the most. Tomatoes bursting with flavor, peaches hanging ripe on the tree, virtually dropping into his little hands. The garden herbs are reaching their apex of flavor and intensity just waiting to be rubbed on the inside of Klaus’s little cocktail glass or woven into a powerful beverage!
Thai Basil is one of my favorite herbs. It’s heartier in flavor and spice than other basil varieties. Given the cooler days, I like to add Thai Basil to my cocktails that involve spicier liquors. And because peaches are at their peak, the combination of Thai Basil and peaches are a match made for the gar-tender!
But what liquors should be employed? Bourbon and Rum are exceptional with peaches. A chiffonade of Thai Basil, woven through a cocktail with robust Bourbon, like the ever delicious Four Roses and the addition of Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Three Chilies, a salubrious combination of poblano, jalapeno and ancho chilies- just set my (and Klaus’s) taste buds into a tizzy! Then the addition of Spiced Rum sets this drink right over the edge of taste to satisfaction.
There is a historic connotation of dark liquors and spicy cocktail augmentations. Culinary ingredients are making a big play into the cocktailian world. Klaus was the first to notice this. He always keeps a jug of liquor on his chest at the ready for whatever comes fresh from the garden. As the gar-tender, Klaus is more than able and willing to share some of his daily juice.
Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey is one of the liquors on the menu today. A bit richer and pungent than the regular version of Four Roses, the flavor of the barrel is all at once vanilla, spicy grains and the heat from the all-present alcohol. Then as if guided by a mysterious hand, the peaches are introduced. Klaus, in keeping with his creative side likes to grill the peaches first, and then he lets them cool. He purees the sweet stone fruits and sets them aside.
Sailor Jerry Rum, spicy with Caribbean seasoning is the secret ingredient in this drink. All you’ll taste are the elements of sweet to spicy to smoky to… well, Nix Besser!
The Thai Basil is the next to go into the mix. Klaus tells me that you must roll the basil into thin “cigars” and then run your perfectly sharp knife across them on a bias. This, according to my little gnome friend releases the oils in a way that tearing the herbs cannot do. Ice made with the Mavea “Inspired” Water pitcher fills the glass, in goes a shot or two of the Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, add one shot of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum for spicy depth, two tablespoons of Royal Rose Simple Syrup, then about 2 tablespoons of the pureed peaches. Then, as if by magic- this drink is stirred, not shaken. Bitters are essential to this cocktail. There are three flavors at work here. First there are the sweet, roasted notes from the peaches, spicy from the basil and the Simple Syrup of Chilies, and bitter from the cocktail bitters. In this case, Klaus has selected the mysteriously delicious Bitter End Thai Bitters. All at once spicy and bitter, the Bitter End Thai Bitters add depth to this cocktail that will make your thirsty friends smack their lips in delight! And in keeping with Klaus’s desire to drink healthfully, the addition of freshly squeezed lime and orange juices add body and soul to this exceptionally refreshing cocktail.
The Nix Besser Cocktail (Translation: None Better in Amish)
Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey
Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Three Chilies
Bitter End Thai Bitters
Juices of fresh lime and orange
Freshly picked Thai Basil leaves (rolled and sliced)
Mavea Inspired Water ice cubes
Roasted Peaches (Slice fresh peaches into chunks, then roast for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees until soft and caramelized, then puree in a food processor, set aside to cool)
To a tall mixing glass add:
2 shots of Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey…
Add 1 Shot Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
Add 2 Tablespoons of Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Three Chiles
Add three or four rolled and sliced Thai Basil leaves (Chiffonade)
Add some Mavea “Inspired” Water ice (three or four cubes)
Add 2 Tablespoons of the roasted peach puree
Add 2 teaspoons each of orange and lime juices (freshly squeezed is essential!)
STIR, do not shake!
Strain into a short glass with a couple of fresh Mavea ice cubes
Drop exactly three drops of the Bitter End Thai Bitters over the top
Sip to none better!
Or in Klaus’s case, Nix Besser!!!!!