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Food & Drink

Best Peach Daiquiri 

Kinder's Restaurant

To find the best peach daiquiri, you must cross many rivers: the Missouri, the Mississippi, the Illinois. Take the best route: Follow Highway 367 north, over the new chiffon-yellow suspension bridge, down into Alton, Ill., then north up the Great River Road to the Brussels free ferry over the Illinois River. On the peninsula, follow the bikers and boat trailers along the principal country road, slinking and dipping through plush bean fields, orchards and hog farms. Note the fruit and apple-butter stands dotting the shoulders, the cranes gliding over the corn. Follow the signs, for six miles, to the Golden Eagle Ferry. Once on the banks of the Mississippi, park and trail the jukebox sounds of Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Dixie Chicks into the dockside restaurant on stilts. Under its current ownership, Kinder's Restaurant has been serving Harley riders and waterskiiers since 1971, but it's been in the same family since the late '20s. In season -- mid-July through September -- they make peach daiquiris for which one might gladly die. The typical dive-bar daiquiri is a sickly-sweet Yellow Dye No. 7 Slurpee with booze and an umbrella. At Kinder's, the bartender ladles into the blender sliced, peeled peaches -- recently picked from nearby orchards -- and adds a jet of rum (your choice) and a scoop of ice. No extra sugar; Calhoun County peaches are that sweet. When fresh peaches aren't available, ask for the fresh strawberry daiquiri or the "banana banger." Even if the daiquiri is served in a 16-ounce Styrofoam cup, the result is worthy of Havana's legendary clubs: never watery, always preserving the sensuous golden ripeness of deep summer. Sit on the patio, watch the river flow and dream of peaches.

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