Apricots have finally shown their smiley red cheeks at our neighborhood market, and we have been enjoying very often.  I am really hoping they stick around for a bit as I have some great ideas that I want to try out.  Just one of them happened to be this cocktail, The Helen.  It is kind of like a smoothie with booze.

We named this cocktail after my grandmother Helen, as it was her small but humble apricot tree that made me fall in love over and over every summer.  My sister and I use to run around the backyard, making up stories and playing for hours.  I remember springtime days when the blossoms would gently scent the backyard.  A quick run under the tree would stop my tiny feet in their tracks, so I could inhale the perfumed air.  I loved that smell, and to this day, it grabs me whenever it may be floating by.  I anxiously use to wait until that first “perfectly” orange apricot arrived, just waiting for me to pluck it off the branch and stuff it into my tiny mouth, nibbling away, rolling the pit between my teeth;  savoring every last fiber.  They were so perfect, still warm from the sun kissing it’s flesh, still slightly firm from barely just turning orange and sweet like nectar.

My grandmother never made cocktails out of the apricots nor did she feed us Rye;  there was an occasional shot of brandy or apricot schnapps to cure what ailed us.  Instead, she made a delicious jam out of the bounty of apricots, which to this day, I still miss.  It was so fresh that I would sneak it by the spoonful.  I am sure if she was still here with us, we could talk her into joining us for a Helen, and that she would enjoy every sweet sip just as I enjoyed that first bite every summer.

Do you have a favorite cocktail using Apricots?

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The Helen Cocktail

* serves two


2 apricots, cut in half and pitted

4 ounces rye

2 tablespoons simple syrup

1/4 lemon juiced

1 tablespoon thyme

crushed ice

apricot for garnish

triple sec

How To:

In a blender add the apricots and 2 ounces of the rye.  Blend until smooth.
Set a sieve over a bowl and strain the apricot mixture;  just to remove some of the pulp from the puree.
Put the thyme into a shaker and gently muddle just to slightly bruise the herb;  then add a handful of ice, the apricot puree, 2 ounces of rye, lemon juice and the simple syrup.
Give a couple of generous shakes, the outside of the shaker will begin to ice a bit.
Strain into 2 cocktail glasses add a floater of triple sec and garnish with a slice of apricot.
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