Au Pear: Drinks With a Fruity Edge 

Pears are having a moment. My interest in the winter fruit, a staple of holiday gift baskets, was piqued in late November, when I discovered a recipe for a sparkling pear sangria on the website The Kitchn. There, the cocktail was touted as a Hanukkah crowd pleaser, but it's simple enough to make for any gathering. Core and slice a few green pears (Bartlett or D'Anjou), and toss into a pitcher filled with Prosecco (or cava), pear liqueur, lemon juice, and seltzer. Don't have pear liqueur in your liquor cabinet? St. Germain Elderflower liqueur will do.

Ever since sampling that crisp, elegant drink, I've noticed pear cocktails popping up everywhere. Downtown, Automatic Slim's has a Peartini (made with Absolut Pear) on the menu; on the other side of town, East Tapas & Drinks has a version of the pear martini that includes an infusion of ginger. At Alchemy in Cooper-Young, you can sip a concoction that includes pear puree, pear vodka, and Prosecco.

A bottle of that Absolut Pear, which you should be able to find on the shelf of your favorite liquor store, is something I recommend having on hand this time of year. The subtle flavor addition makes the tedium of January a little easier to tolerate, especially if you use it to create drinks like the Tuscan Pear, which I found on The Spruce. This cocktail, served in a lowball glass, is an easy blend of pear vodka, limoncello, a ginger liqueur (if you have it), simple syrup, and orange juice. If that's not your style, check out AbsolutDrinks.com for inspiration: You can make a Pears Mule, a pear and mango Collins, a Pear Fizz, and much, much more.

click to enlarge spirits_absolut-pears-70cl.jpg

You can also make your own pear vodka, if you have the time. Simply core up to 10 pears and cut them into wedges, place in a sterilized jar, and cover with vodka. Seal the jar, and place in a cool, dry place for at least two weeks. Strain, and decant into a bottle.

Or just make a spiced pear syrup. Via their food blog, Nerds with Knives, Matt and Emily recommend chopping a few sweet pears and combining them with a cup of water, ½ cup white wine, a cup of sugar, a cinnamon stick, star anise, and a strip of lemon zest to make a variation on simple syrup. Once that's done, use it as the base for a Spiced Poached Pear Cocktail, a blend of vodka, Lillet Blanc, spiced pear syrup, and fresh rosemary.

The website for Tito's Vodka, one of my favorite brands, has their own recipe for a Spiced Pear Cocktail, which also has a spiced syrup for the base. This one is flavored with cinnamon sticks, fresh ginger, a vanilla bean, allspice, cloves, and star anise. Combine a half-ounce of the finished product with an ounce of Tito's, and a half-ounce each of pear liqueur and pear nectar. Shake, pour into a martini glass, and top with Champagne or Prosecco.

It's also easy to make your own roasted pear puree: Just core and slice two Bartlett pears, then roast them until they begin to caramelize. Toss the pears into the blender with a few tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and 1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves. Now you've got the base for a bourbon-pear mixer, made by adding a cup of puree to two cups of bourbon and ½ cup maple syrup. Refrigerate the mixer for up to four hours, then use it to make a sparkling bourbon pear cocktail by topping the mixer with sparkling wine. Drink enough of these, and you'll see a partridge in a pear tree, even though Christmas was last month.

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