Joel Baker, bar manager at the three-year-old speakeasy Bourbon & Branch -- which has already landed twice on Esquire's Best Bars in America list -- and bar consultant behind Future Bars, gives us this week's summer cocktail. It's a crisp, complex, slightly sweet concoction that looks like a deceptively simple, clear martini. Here's Joel on the origins:
I designed this cocktail for our summer menu at Bourbon and Branch. It involves one of my favorite flavor combinations: stone fruit and herbs. Initially, I had worked out a drink muddling fresh peaches and basil, and gave it a test run one night as a special. The drink was a success, but the only things I had to show for it that evening were a sink clogged with the remnants of peach and basil, and the curses of the bartender I was working with that night. A few days later, I was taking inventory on my spirit collection at home and came across a bottle of the Aqua Perfecta Basil Eau de Vie I had picked up at the St. George Distillery in Alameda about a year ago. I brought it into B&B that night and started playing with it, and a couple of hours later The Naughty Sun Dress had been born. I have to give credit to Kelli Bratvold for the name. I used the manzanilla sherry to help dry out some of the sweetness of St. Germain and Old Tom Gin, without masking their flavors and the basil eau de vie and peach bitters add depth.