Friday, May 23, 2014

#mixitup2014: Spiked Peach Iced Tea


I've been doing some thinking this afternoon, and I've come to the conclusion that I don't write about cocktails nearly enough. Since I am two thirds of the way through a very strong one right now, it actually seems like a very good idea to test them much more often.

I don't usually drink alone in the middle of the afternoon mind you, but when the social media coordinator at Vegas.com asked if I'd like to join in on a virtual cocktail party with some other bloggers, it gave me a good excuse to do some daytime drinking. Hey, it's five o'clock somewhere.

This party was organized to bring attention to the Mix Master event at The Aria Hotel which was part of Bon Appetit's 8th annual Uncork'd celebration. During the four day festival, which ran from May 8 through the 11th, activities took place at several of the hotels and restaurants within the city and were hosted and attended by a who's who of the culinary world.

On May 9th at the Aria Lobby Bar, master bartender and mixology expert, Craig Schoettler hosted the Mix Master event. During this event he gave attendees a crash course in bartending by demonstrating the Aria's signature drinks before breaking participants into teams and having them create their own signature cocktails. The winners' then had their drink featured on the Lobby Bar menu.

Originally the request went out for me to blog about my favorite "go to" drink (alcoholic or not). This is like asking me which child I love the most. I just can't decide. I love all sorts of cocktails. I guess my favorite go to, knee jerk order at a bar has to be a vodka tonic with lemon. I love a cold lager with Indian food. A little Tex-Mex food screams for a margarita or paloma. Sunday brunch, has to be a mimosa or a bellini, and afternoon tea calls for a champagne cocktail. Finally, a late night around a crackling fire means a Drambuie neat or a Bailey's and coffee. See what I mean? It all depends on the circumstances.

So I tried my best to narrow it down. Since summer is around the corner, I'm going to focus on my favorite hot weather, sitting around the pool refreshments. I've already posted about my love for the paloma, the lemon ginger cooler, the strawberry prosecco float, and the cherry limeade skinny-tini, so I decided that I needed to come up with another hot weather refreshment to cool everyone down.

Well, for this Texas girl, nothing says refreshment like a big old glass of iced tea. As Truvy from Steel Magnolias would say, "It's the house wine of the south." Summer just isn't summer without a big pitcher of tea on the kitchen countertop at all times. So this whole idea started from there.

But what should I flavor mine with? Oh the possibilities! I thought about spiking my tea with fresh mint and some white creme de menthe, maybe a little limoncello and lemon slices, a jigger of Chambord and a handful of raspberries, or even a touch of Fireball and a spash of milk for a spicy milk tea.

After much deliberation I finally decided on my favorite (at the moment), some peach schnapps and as many fresh peach slices as you can fit in the glass. Not only is this drink really a great cool down on a hot day, but those macerated peach slices in the glass are more than delicious.

Since I'm on a roll and kind of enjoying this alcoholic iced beverage thing, I think I'll start working on some coffee drinks just in case Vegas.com needs a blogger to help them promote the Mix Master event next year. I'll be sure to keep you updated on my progress.



Spiked Peach Iced Tea

I have to be really honest here and say that in the interest of blog research I tried making this cocktail with Firefly Sweet Tea flavored vodka. As much as I really wanted to like it, I am sad to report that it just didn't have the flavor that I was looking for. In my humble opinion, skip the flavored vodka and brew your own tea. You just can't beat the real stuff.

1 black tea bag
1/2 cup boiling water
Sugar to taste, (I like 2 teaspoons), optional
1-1/2 ounces peach schnapps
1 ounce vodka, rum or bourbon, optional (if you are looking to grow a little hair on your chest)
Fresh peach slices (as many as you can get in the glass)

Place the tea bag in a cup and pour the boiling water over. Allow tea to steep for about 5 minutes or until it's good and strong, but not bitter. Remove the tea bag and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Cool completely.

Place enough ice into a 16 ounce glass to fill about 2/3 full. Pour the cooled tea over the ice. Add the schnapps, vodka and peach slices; stir well. Add a splash of water or club soda if desired. Enjoy.
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