While habit drives many to favor clear spirits over their darker, aged counterparts on hot summer days, this refreshing cocktail featuring grilled fruit and aged cachaça proves habits are made for breaking.
Note: To make simple syrup, combine 1 cup water with 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Cool before using. Simple syrup will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Lemon thyme can be found at most gourmet produce markets or farmer's markets. If unavailable, use one sprig of regular thyme with a pinch of fresh lemon zest. If you don't have aged cachaça, you can use an aged rum instead, such as Flor de Caña 12 Year.
- 1 nectarine, halved
- 1 lime, cut into 4 wheels
- 4 cherries
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup (see note)
- 4 springs lemon thyme (see note)
- 2 cups crushed ice
- 3 ounces aged cachaça, such as Novo Fogo Barrel-Aged (see note)
Soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes before using on the grill. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to the highest heat setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate.
Skewer halved nectarines, lime wheels, and cherries on three skewers (with one variety of fruit per skewer) and place over hot side of grill. Cook until fruit begins to bubble and char lines are visible on all sides, rotating as necessary, about 4 minutes for cherries and 8 to 10 minutes total for nectarines and limes. Remove from grill and let cool for 10 minutes. Cut nectarines into quarters.
For each drink, muddle 2 cherries, 2 lime wheels, 2 nectarine quarters, one sprig thyme, and 1/4 ounce simple syrup in the bottom of a rocks glass until nectarine is broken up. Remove lime wheels from glass. Pack 1/2 cup crushed ice. Add 1 1/2 ounces cachaça and stir gently. Pack 1/2 cup more crushed ice into glass and garnish with second thyme sprig. Repeat for second drink. Serve immediately.
10-inch wooden skewers, muddler