Good morning, brunchers! What’s in your glass? Let’s see: mimosa, mimosa, bloody Mary, screwdriver, mimosa, Calistoga with lime, bloody Mary, and just coffee for you, thanks.
Oh, has it come to this? Can we not break out of the orange-juice rut, spread our wings and flap a little, veer a little to the right or left in our quest for a morning pick-me-up that lets you down easy. Personally, I like to be able to recall my name and address (and yours) post-frittata, rather than ending up in the Jacuzzi at 5pm with three pairs of new shoes and no idea how I got there.
The LA Coffee Mill, très chic in Silverlake, does a very fabulous morning mojito, made with muddled mint and lime in a a base of chilled green tea, topped with a splash of soda water. It’s tangy and refreshing, very post-Pilates. But what if you want something a little more lush, a little more beignet-friendly? Welcome to your new favorite brunch drink: white peach Meyer lemonade.
Now Meyer lemons, which really should be growing in your backyard if you have one, and in your friends’ backyards if not, make the most flagrantly, fragrantly delicious lemonade.
But with white peaches and nectarines in full sugary swing now, you can one-up even Meyer lemonade by adding a little pale and luscious peach puree, turning your lemonade into a coral-colored quaff even better than a Bellini.
Anytime you buy white-fleshed stone fruit, you know a few of these dainty little princesses are going to get bruised on the way home. But hard knocks don’t matter to a puree. Pit your peaches and throw them in the blender or food processor. (Or just thwap the heck out of them with a potato masher.) Drip the puree through a fine-mesh strainer into your lemonade, so you get all the lovely tequila-sunrise color with none of the skin.
A very good trick, when you have the time, is to skin off all that aromatic rind and infuse it into a sugar-water syrup. Use this lemony-sweet syrup to sweeten fresh lemon juice to taste. Finish with just enough water, sparkling or still, to make it drinkable over ice.
Even better, try rubbing a few heads of fresh lavender into your sugar, or infuse the blossoms into your lemon-rind syrup. If you’re really lucky, all this—Meyer lemons, lavender, white peaches—could come from your own garden right now. Lavender white peach Meyer lemonade: effete, yes, but oh, oh, so good.
White Peach Lemonade
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar, or to taste
1 tablespoon lavender flowers, optional
1 tablespoon honey, or to taste
3 to 4 lemons
2 to 3 white peaches or nectarines, pitted and chopped
1. Peel off the rind of your lemons in long strips. In a small saucepan over medium heat, dissolve sugar in water. When sugar is dissolved, add lemon rinds and lavender flowers, if using. Bring to a slow simmer and let bubble gently for 5 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and let cool. Meanwhile, juice your lemons. When syrup is cool, strain and add 3 tablespoons to lemon juice. (You can always add more later).
3. Puree peach chunks, honey, and lemon juice mixture in a food processor or blender. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a pitcher.
4. Add water until it’s dilute enough to drink. Add more honey or lemon syrup as needed. Serve over ice.