Four years ago I moved from Ohio to Santa Monica, CA. While we have “seasons” here, they’re very muted compared to what we get back East. Here, the major difference between summer and winter is that in the winter I sometimes wear socks to bed.
I get most homesick during the fall because, as I learned when I moved here and started working with a bunch of twenty-five-year olds, I’m something called “basic”. I’m super into sweaters and scarves and cider and pumpkin patches and going on road trips just to look at trees (I’ve also started to overuse the word “literally” but that developed after I became a Californian). Once I thought I saw some leaves turning in my neighborhood and got really excited, but it turned out it was just a sycamore that was dying. I was crestfallen.
Anyways, we’re not quite into fall yet, despite what the trending hashtags are indicating, we’re at the tail end of summer, and I have a bunch of rapidly ripening fruit that needs to be used up before I can start making anything pumpkin.
For this punch, I pureed a very soft peach and a pear with two 6 oz. cans of pineapple juice, the juice of an orange, and a little ginger plum simple syrup leftover from a previous recipe (you can use regular!). Feel free to use more or less of any of those, but build to approximately three cups of fruit mixture. Mix in the rum and place in the freezer for several hours, stirring every so often, until you get a nice smooth, slushy texture. Serve with cherries and soda water to taste.
Indian Summer Rum Punch
One peach, peeled* and roughly chopped
One pear, peeled and roughly chopped
12 oz. pineapple juice
3 oz. orange juice (fresh if you have it)
2 oz. simple syrup (I used plum ginger* but regular is fine)
1 cup silver rum
Add first five ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth. Mix in the rum and place in the freezer for several hours, stirring occasionally, until slushy. When ready, divide mixture between four glasses (or two if you came here to party). Add one or two cherries and some cherry syrup. Top with soda water to taste and garnish with a sprig of mint.
* To peel peaches, dunk in boiling water for 30-40 seconds, then plunge into cold water. The skin should slide right off.
*Plum Ginger Simple Syrup
¾ cup water
¾ cup sugar
1 plum, skin on, roughly chopped
1 to 1½ inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin
Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small, heavy saucepan. Simmer for five minutes, then remove from heat. Add plum (leave the skin on for a pretty pink color) and ginger ingredients and let steep for 2 hours. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.