About a month ago I was invited to a tasting for Peach Street Distillers. While they hold the title of oldest locally owned distillery in Colorado, and the American Distilling Institute awarded them Distillery of the Year in 2012, they have only just recently crept on my radar. Based in tiny Palisade, Colorado, a sunny valley town with a population of just over 2,000 people, the area is known for its peach orchards and wine vineyards. So, it’s no surprise that most of the ingredients they use to make their spirits are grown within a 5-mile radius of the distillery. And they are able to produce quite a variety of things.
At the event, we were able to sample a wide range of their craft spirits, from pear brandy to artisan vodka, small batch gin and Colorado bourbon. But first we were treated to some delicious cocktails that showcased this prolific distillery’s spirits. There was a Milk Punch with clarified raw milk and their Colorado Straight Bourbon, a Fish House Punch with their Peach Brandy, dark rum, Cognac and green tea, and my favorite of the night: Peach Street Close Haul. That cocktail had the Jackelope and Jenny Pear Gin, cucumber, chamomile tea, lemon and meyer lemon bitters. That Pear Gin! Holy smokes was that tasty.
Moose Koons, co-owner, sales ambassador, number one cheer leader for Peach Street, and our host for the evening, told us that Jackelope and Jenny Pear Gin came about when they experimented a few years back by mixing their Pear Eau De Vie with their Jackelope Gin and, voila! They had discovered something wonderful. It really tastes like pears! Fresh, delicious pears. AND it tastes like gin! Because the flavor is so brilliant, you don’t want to mess with it too much. I thought this spirit would be perfect in an herbaceous gin and tonic. Guess what? I was right!
But what tonic to use? I’d been hearing about the Strong Tonic folks in Oklahoma City for a while now but only just recently got the chance to try their small batch tonic syrups. And I was really impressed. They use pure cane sugar and agave nectar, and have flavors of bright citrus and spices but they taste like how you expect tonic to taste, only better. And guess what ingredient is also in their Original Tonic flavor? Pear juice from concentrate! A perfect partner in this herbaceous pear g&t I was fantasizing about!
We are just now approaching pear season, so you should be able to get some crisp, delicious ones for the garnish here. The sage is also just a garnish, but when bunched up at the top of the glass, it provides the most beautiful aroma with each sip.
Pear & Sage Gin & Tonic
2 oz of Jackelope & Jenny Pear Gin
1 oz Original Strong Tonic
3 oz Club Soda
1 bunch fresh sage
3 thin slices pear
Add gin, tonic and soda in a mixing glass with ice. Stir well, Strain into a high ball glass filled with ice. Garnish with pear slices and sage.