A peachy way to quench thirst


Driving through Georgia at the height of peach season, we stopped for gas and refreshments. From a huge array of cold beverages, my 11-year-old passed over the sodas in favor of a smallish bottle of Looza peach nectar, inspired, no doubt, by the basket of ripe beauties in the back of the car.

The only problem was the size. It seemed those 6.7 ounces went down in one big gulp, followed by a plea for more. We've been on the lookout for peach nectar ever since.

The other day we discovered it at the grocery store in a large 1-liter bottle, which has allowed us a chance to experiment and prompted a closer look at other peach-flavored sips.

It's hard to match the burst of flavor from a perfectly ripe peach, but peach nectar can come close. For my taste, nectar all by itself is a bit thick, so the first experiment was a simple spritzer - peach nectar and club soda.

We started with equal parts, which seemed perfect to me. My son, however, considered it too watery for an 11-year-old palate. He preferred a ratio closer to one-third water, two-thirds nectar.

Either way, the result was refreshing. But when we added a slice of lemon, it became a great summer drink - and a welcome alternative to soda. Don't confine it to summer, though. That peachy flavor can be a nice reminder of ripe fruit all through the year.

Aside from nectar, there are a number of other good peach drinks worth trying. Several companies produce peach tea. Honest Tea's is called Peach Oo-la-long. The company's usual light touch with sugar works especially well with this fruit, enhancing its flavor and making this a very pleasant drink.

Sobe produces a sweeter but quite tasty peach tea, which is available in both regular and diet versions.

As for juices, one worth trying is Nantucket Nectars' mixture of peach nectar and orange juice. Like that dash of lemon in the spritzer, the orange juice cuts the syrupy quality of the nectar and livens up the drink.

And for cocktails, don't forget peach schnapps, which can enliven a drink anytime of year.

Right now, however, while you can still find fresh fruit, why not sip a basic peach daiquiri?

Peach Daiquiri

Makes 1 drink

1 3/4 ounces light rum

1/2 ripe peach, peeled

juice of 1/4 lime

1 teaspoon sugar

1 scoop crushed ice

Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a blender. Pour the mixture into a large cocktail glass or champagne flute.

- "The Complete Book of Mixed Drinks (Revised Edition)" by Anthony Dias Blue (HarperCollins Publishers, $17.95, 2002)

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