When you live in Kentucky, the weeks leading up to the Kentucky Derby are very special. Everything is lush and green, and one glance at the horse fields helps you understand why they call it the Bluegrass State; people are coming to visit from all over the world; horses are everywhere; ladies are hat shopping; bets are being placed; mint and bourbon are being purchased with abandon; and Derby parties are a sure bet.
At a Derby party you are sure to drink a Mint Julep, a classic Derby drink made from Kentucky Bourbon, mint syrup, and a mint garnish served in pretty Mint Julep cup. There will likely be ham biscuits, Kentucky Burgoo (a spicy stew served with cornbread), Kentucky Hot Browns (turkey, bacon and tomato sandwiches smothered with cheese sauce), and Benedictine (a creamy cucumber and cream cheese spread) that is spread onto bread or crackers. For dessert there will either be Derby pie and/or Derby bars (a lovely chocolate and walnut pie that reminds me of chocolate chip pie). You will not walk away thirsty or hungry.
In the days leading up to Derby, fresh mint is in very high demand. In order to supply the masses with mint, the grocery stores push big carts full of mint into the produce section, making the air fragrant. The fresh mint wafting through the market is the hallmark of Derby season and the culmination of what's to come. A celebration of old-fashioned Southern living that is, for the most part, untouched by modern times. A magical sort of time in Kentucky.
No matter how many mint garnishes you created, or Mint Juleps you've made, you are certain to have leftover mint. This Peach and Mint Iced Tea is the perfect way to use it up! A subtle and refreshing blend to help soothe you after a day spent in the sun, eating and drinking to your heart's content.
Peach and Mint Iced Tea
Adapted from Relaxed Cooking with
1-1/4 cups (lightly packed) cups fresh mint leaves
3 ripe peaches, pitted
4 cups ice cubes, crushed
Pour 6 cups water into a medium sized saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and add 1 cup of the mint leaves. Cover and steep for 30 minutes to allow the mint to infuse the water. Then strain the mint tea into a pitcher, discarding the leaves, and refrigerate until cold.
Meanwhile, chop 2 of the peaches coarsely and place them in a blender. Puree until smooth, adding a couple tablespoons of the mint tea if necessary to hep create the puree. Strain the peach puree through a fine-mesh sieve and chill the puree.
Thinly slice the remaining peach. In 4 tall glasses, layer the crushed ice, thin slices of peach, and the remaining 1/4 cup mint leaves, filling the glasses about halfway. Divide the peach puree among the 4 glasses. Then stir in the chilled mint tea and serve immediately.