Bourbon Peach Cooler
Depending on your point of view, I’m either the best or the worst person when it comes to shopping for fruit at the outdoor market in the summer. I tend to buy way, way too many fruits; since they ripen at different rates, I want to have my pick of the crop when I feel like eating a peach or nectarine. On the other hand, I find myself with way too much fruit on my hands at any given time and in between coddling the fruits through their different stages of ripeness, to refrigerating any overload that I can’t use right away, it seems like my entire summer is all about managing fruit. (When, to be honest, I could use some beach time.)
This week I bought way too many peaches. For some reason, they didn’t just ripen all at once, but they all went from unripe to almost overripe, within a day. I’ve been thinking about a bourbon and peach-based cocktail for a while and had been eyeing my bottle of Bonal, figuring the earthiness of the French apéritif would pair nicely with all-American whiskey in a fruity, refreshing summer drink, and knew I got it right when I took my first sip of this Peach Bourbon Cooler, which really hit the spot.
Bonal is a French apéritif that was originally sold as a health tonic. Developed in 1865 by a monk in the French alps, who eventually pursued a career in medicine, it’s made from alpine herbs which were gathered around the monastery, along with quinine and gentian root, which gives it an earthy, slightly bitter edge.
During its heyday, Bonal was marketed as an energy drink with posters of bicyclists pedaling over an arduous trail in the forest, a soccer goalie catching the ball just before it sails through the goalpost, and a boxer knocking out his opponent, presumably fueled by the alpine apéritif, which was referred to as L’ami des sportifs…or “The friend of athletes.”
While today it’s dubious that someone would think an apéritif might improve athletic performance (my unofficial guess is that it might have the opposite effect), I can say with confidence that it does make an excellent addition to this peach and bourbon-based cooler. If you can’t get it, I’ve offered a few substitutions in the headnote to the recipe below. No matter what you use, I think you’ll agree that this summertime cooler is indeed, quite a knockout.