It’s true fall and your farmers market is abundant with fruit, particularly apples and pears. I have this love/hate relationship with pears that cannot be solved. When good, a pear is the best fruit possible. Of course, a pear is at its peak for all of 90 minutes it seems.
Still, Suzen and I have been looking and we have some wonderful fall pear recipes to share with you. This is the first one, a pear cocktail from Martha Stewart. Now the recipe below is exactly what Martha says, and it uses pear nectar. The recipe is good, but there are alternative paths to explore.
For example, I prefer fresh pears, over nectar
And, this recipe uses bourbon. Martha is a bourbon woman. My Suzi is not. Sometimes, the power of bourbon can overcome the delicacy of pear. So, here is what I suggest. First, make this recipe as you see it below to get that base feeling for flavor. Then, try these changes:
- · Use a fresh pear, not nectar. Peel and slice the pear, then muddle it. To get a fluid [like nectar], and not just muddle mush, add some liquid like some simple syrup and the lemon juice. Then keep muddling away. When you shake your cocktail, really, really shake it.
- · Alternatively, after muddling, put the whole thing, including a few ice cubes and the booze, into a blender — or, much better, a Vitamix. You’ll get a “Pina Colada” style beverage that is cold, thick, and yummy.
- · Change the liquor from bourbon to something less intense. I’ve used gin, Suzen’s favorite. A low alcohol silver tequila would work. Dark, aged tequila may just have too much flavor power for those pears. Pear vodka? Don’t use the commercial versions. I’ll blog a much better homemade version this week.
- · Change the sage for other herbs, certainly mint, perhaps rosemary
Pear Nectar Cocktail with Bourbon and Sage
Yield: 1 cocktail
- 4 sage leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon superfine sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 ounces bourbon
- 2 ounces pear nectar
- 1 red pear slice, for garnish
Muddle sage, sugar, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker until fragrant. Add bourbon and pear nectar. Shake and strain into an ice-filled glass. Garnish with a pear slice.
Source: Base recipe from Martha Stewart Living
I am a rum and tequila person. Those are the spirits that move me. Literally.
Bourbon and whiskey? I get confused. I drink them rarely and off the top of my head, I can’t tell you which is which. I know, it’s embarrassing.
But I take refuge in the fact that confusion about the two has reigned for years. So much confusion that in 1964 the United States Congress passed a law making it all clear. Well, not clear, clear because bourbon and whiskey do have that golden-honey color. But, Congress has decreed that:
- Must be produced in the United States [really Kentucky and Tennessee]
- Be made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn
- Must have the alcohol content no higher than 80% [160 proof]
- Must be 100% natural [only water can be added]
- Must be aged in new, charred casks made from American white oak
 Rye Whiskey
- Must meet the same standards except be made from at least 51% rye
 Wheat Whiskey
- Same standards but at least 51% wheat
 Corn Whiskey
- Same Standards but at least 80% corn
 Tennessee Whiskey
- Bourbon made in Tennessee and filtered through sugar maple charcoal before aging
And just for reference, the first American whiskey was made in Pennsylvania and Maryland from rye. Bourbon is the corn spirit.
Recently in Martha Stewart Magazine, there was a recipe for grilled peaches, muddled, and mixed with Bourbon. The recipe called for grilling the peaches until they begin to blacken, probably a good idea to match the Bourbon. I stopped just short of black, because my peach halves were beginning to stick to the grill. And Martha’s recipe called for bitters. I have a shelf of different bitters, including peach. That was a no brainer.
So here’s the recipe for the beverage using Bourbon. If you are a Bourbon fan, I’m sure you’ll love it. I did enjoy it. But, more importantly, the muddled mixture of peach, sugar, lime juice and bitters was something close to nirvana. I love that mix. This weekend, it goes into rum and tequila and cachaca. I’ll let you know. In the meantime, find that bottle of Bourbon and enjoy a truly American cocktail.
Peaches and Bourbon
Yield: 2 generous cocktail
- 2 peaches, peeled, halved, pits removed
- Vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of lime juice
- 4 dashes of bitters [peach if you have it]
- 6 ounces of Bourbon [or the spirit of your choice]
Heat a grill to medium.
Coat the 4 peach halves with a little vegetable oil so they will not stick to the grill, or at least stick less.
Grill the peaches until softened. Remove and place in a cocktail shaker.
Add the sugar, lime juice and bitters. Muddle seriously. You do not want any chunks of peach here, so be patient. It’s a 2-3 minutes process.
Add the spirits and ice to the cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously until chilled.
Pour into two cocktails glasses, filled with shaved ice. There will be some peach fragments or strings stuck in the cocktail shaker — no matter how well you tried to muddle. Feel free to spoon those into the cocktails.
Sources: Inspired from Martha Stewart Magazine with reference material from The Ultimate Guide to Spirits and Cocktails by André Dominé