Last week, Free Times went inside Copper Horse Distillery in the Vista; this week, Copper Horse went inside us as Drink of the Week. Rather than being made in bulk and filtered until purified, Old Mill vodka is distilled slowly and carefully, which prevents the need for multiple filtrations, and allows the natural flavors of the source grains from which it is distilled to emerge. Made from a blend of 70 percent corn and 30 percent wheat, the vodka has a corn-flavored sweetness reminiscent of a white whiskey, but smoother. Copper Horse owner Richard Baker says he crafted the vodka recipe to work well in earthy cocktails like bloody marys and martinis, but also found it goes well in fruity cocktails like a Madras or Tom Collins. I took that idea, added some ripe peaches from Ridge Spring, South Carolina, and came up with a simple cocktail for the last sweltering days of summer. (Crowdsourced tip from Labor Day weekend: The corn sweetness of this vodka does not mix well with most tonics.)
Old Mill Peach Smash
2 oz. Copper Horse Old Mill vodka
1 ripe peach, pitted and quartered
2 sprigs fresh spearmint
Muddle half a ripe peach with mint and crushed ice in a rocks glass. Stir in vodka, top with soda and garnish with a slice of peach and a sprig of mint. — Jonathan Sharpe
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