Just because summer is coming to a close soon doesn’t mean we have to pack it all in just yet. I fully intend to indulge in patio drinks well into September – even if I’m technically inside, I’ll be looking at the patio. It still counts.
Plus, the end of August means there are lots of delectable fruits that can be incorporated into a cocktail – especially when you find yourself with a whole bushel of plums, peaches, or apricots that you scored at the market or at a U-Pick. Adding water, sugar, a squeeze of lemon, and boiling the fruit down to a syrup is an easy way to get creative with your drinks.
…Not that I’m constantly looking at things and thinking, “I wonder if I can boil that down and add vodka to it?” Sometimes it’s gin or rum or whiskey. ;)
In this case, I had a pound of perfect apricots that I needed to do something with. My first inclination is to cut up fruit and freeze it for colder months, but having stuffed our freezer to the point of bursting, I decided a syrup was the way to go.
The great thing about this syrup is that you can put it on anything: ice cream, waffles, oatmeal, you name it. The brown sugar and ginger really complement the apricots and make them sing. Balance that out with some tart lemon, fizzy soda, and good quality Polish vodka, and you’ve got yourself an Apricot Polska – the light and fruity swan song of summer. Let’s enjoy the hell out of it.
- 1 shot apricot syrup (see recipe below)
- 1 shot Luksusowa or other Polish vodka
- ½ shot fresh lemon juice
- 4-5 ice cubes
- Club soda to top off
- 1 pound fresh apricots, pits removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1½ cups packed light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups water
- 1½ teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- To make the apricot syrup: in a large saucepan, stir the apricots, brown sugar, and salt together. No need to turn on the stove yet - just let this mixture sit for about 10 minutes until the sugar is partially dissolved.
- Stir in the water and grated ginger, and bring to a boil over high heat. Once it has reached a boil, turn down the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. While stirring, use the back of your spoon or a fork to mash the fruit against the sides of the saucepan. You want to try to mash all of it - don't leave any chunks of solid apricot.
- Using a fine sieve, strain the syrup into a heat-proof bowl. You can discard the solids, but they're also great stirred into yogurt or overnight oats. ;)
- Once the syrup has cooled down to room temperature, transfer it to a clean airtight jar and store in the fridge.
- To make the cocktail: half-fill an Old-Fashioned glass or tumbler with ice, then pour the syrup, vodka, and lemon juice over top. Fill the rest of the glass with soda and stir gently to combine. Serve with a few slices of apricots or peaches.