Oh, glorious summer peaches! I've been greedily and gratefully buying armloads at the farmers' market, accepting boxes from friends with orchards, and plucking the sun-kissed fruits from neighborhood trees. So, when I was thinking of a drink to serve during our upcoming Olympics viewing party – something refreshing and non-alcoholic – I immediately turned to the pile of peaches on the kitchen counter.
To make this punch, I blended ripe peaches into a luscious puree, then swirled it in a pitcher with chilled green tea and ginger ale. With a little honey (or agave) to sweeten and a sprig of basil (or mint), the drink was sparkling with summer freshness. I drank up the first pitcher, but hardly need an excuse to get more peaches for subsequent batches.
You might be tempted to use commercial peach nectar for this drink, and by all means try that if you wish, but I'd really recommend going with fresh puree if you have ripe peaches available. Canned or bottled nectar often contains high fructose corn syrup or other sweeteners and flavors, so you'd probably want to omit the honey/agave. As for the ginger ale, use any brand you like, or try making your own (it's really easy!).
Sparkling Peach Punch
Makes about 2 quarts
2 cups water 3 green tea bags 4 large, ripe peaches Juice of 1 lime 4 cups ginger ale Honey or agave nectar to taste A few sprigs of basil or mint
Place water in a small saucepan and heat to just under boiling. Turn off heat, add tea bags, and steep for 15 minutes. Remove tea bags and let cool completely.
Meanwhile, peel and pit three of the peaches. (To peel, use a paring knife or vegetable peeler, or the boil and peel method.) Place in a blender with lime juice and puree until smooth. If you prefer a less pulpy beverage, strain the puree through a sieve.
Cut the remaining peach into slices and combine in a pitcher with the cooled green tea, peach puree, and ginger ale. Add honey or agave nectar to taste – the amount will depend on personal preference and the sweetness of your peaches and ginger ale. Add a few sprigs of basil or mint to the pitcher or use the leaves to garnish individual glasses.
Make-ahead tip: Green tea and peach puree can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to a day, then mixed with ginger ale just before serving.