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Cheers! A real peach of a summer cocktail featuring two Michigan rums

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
Ingredients for the Edgewater Beach.

When we do a test taste of Tammy Coxen’s (of Tammy’s Tastings) concoctions, I’m often surprised by the ingredients on the counter. This time there was a Mason jar full of preserved peaches.

“We're starting to see some fresh peaches come into the market now, but not nearly as many as we would normally expect this time of year because of that polar vortex that we got in January really damaged the southwestern Michigan peach trees. So, I thought we should highlight a cocktail today that people could make with the peaches they put up last year. So, they can save those nice fresh peaches for eating out of hand,” Tammy said.

Credit Public domain

The drink she chose is a classic cocktail which originated in Chicago. It’s called the Edgewater Beach after a hotel of the same name which was built in 1916.

“Although,” Coxen said, “they probably borrowed this drink from an earlier cocktail called the Cohasset Punch, which dates back to at least 1899. So this drink has long roots, and you can sort of see that reflected in the ingredients and in the use of something like canned peaches.”

There is a Michigan connection. The recipe appears in the same 1951 cocktail book titled Bottoms Up, which also included the most famous cocktail originating in Detroit, the Last Word.

Along with the peaches on the table were two Michigan rums. The first was Two James Dr. Bird Jamaica Rum. The Detroit Distillery handpicked barrels of Jamaican rum and made its own blend. The other was Mammoth Wood Boat Rum from Torch Lake. But why two rums? Tammy’s answer: “Why not?”

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
Peaches, raw sugar, lime juice, and the lime shell go into a tin to be muddled.

“Rum is actually a really varied spirit. People don't realize it. They'll tell me, ‘I don't like rum.’ You've told me you don't like rum. (It’s true.) But I have 15 rums on my shelf. I bet I can find one that you like,” Tammy said.

“When you combine rums of different styles you can create a drink that doesn't taste like anything you could get out of a single bottle,” she added.

After shaking up the drink (see recipe below), it was time for a taste test.

“I'm a little worried because I know you don't like rum," Tammy said. "But I hope you like this one.”

Skeptically, I took a sip. Loved the peaches. That was the first flavor, but it was complemented by the Dr. Bird rum in an interesting way. I liked it. 

“The Doctor Bird rum has a lot of these fruity esters that we find in Jamaican rums, so I think you're right that pairing that with a fruit really plays off the strengths of the rum,” Tammy said.

For a rum drink, I'm going to give it high marks.

Edgewater Beach

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
Tammy double-strains the ingredients to filter out the peach pulp.

(recipe updated by Paul McGee)

2 slices canned peaches
1 tbsp raw cane sugar (Tammy likes it better with around 2/3 tbsp)
3/4 oz lime juice, plus the lime shell
3/4 oz overproof rum (we used Doctor Bird from Two James)
3/4 oz aged rum (we used Wood Boat Rum from Mammoth)
1/2 oz sweet vermouth (we used Carpano Antica)

Muddle peaches, lime juice, raw cane sugar, and lime shell in a cocktail shaker. When peaches are broken down and sugar is dissolved, add remaining ingredients and ice. Shake well and double strain into a cocktail glass.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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