Sweet Vermouth Poached Pears

vermouthpoachSweet vermouth has really made a comeback thanks to the craft cocktail movement, and I am so glad it did. Without it, I’d have never tried a Manhattan and noticed the distinct and wonderful flavors that a good vermouth can lend, not to mention that I’d have never come up with the idea for this unique recipe. Pick up a bottle for making these poached pears and pour yourself a little over an ice cube to enjoy while you cook. You won’t be sorry.

Sweet Vermouth Poached Pears

Ingredients
3 cups good quality sweet vermouth, such as Carpano Antica
1 cup water
2 tablespoons honey
1 orange, peel only (use a vegetable peeler to cut several thin strips)
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
3 firm USA Pears, such as Bosc
Greek yogurt, for serving

Directions
In a medium saucepan, combine vermouth, water, honey, orange peel, and spices. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. In the meantime, peel and halve the pears. Use a melon baller to scoop out the seeds. Transfer the pears to the simmering liquid, being certain they are submerged (cover with a piece of parchment paper if necessary). Reduce the heat slightly to keep the pears at a low bubble. Simmer the pears for 15-20 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Transfer the pears to a bowl, leaving the liquid behind, and cover them to keep warm. Increase the heat under the sauce to medium-high and bring to a low boil. Cook for approximately 15 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced to about ¾ cup. Pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer and onto the still-warm pears. Serve immediately with Greek yogurt on the side.

Pear-Infused Vodka and Chai Cocktail

cocktail

Here is an elegant and delicious cocktail for you to enjoy this holiday season. You’ll need to infuse the vodka at least 10 days in advance, so be sure to grab some pears on your next trip to the grocery store! I recommend buying a mix of colorful pears for this recipe – the skins will turn your vodka a lovely honey-rose color as the flavor infuses. Then make a simple syrup with chai tea and shake up this sweet-and-spicy cocktail.

If you find cocktails like this too strong for your liking, try dividing a single recipe between 3 or 4 champagne flutes and topping with a dry, sparkling wine. You’ll get all the wonderful flavor with much less alcohol. Cheers!

Ingredients
Pear-Infused Vodka
5 firm ripe USA pears, such as Starkrimson, Green or Red Bartlett, Comice, or Anjou
1 bottle of vodka (750 milliliters)
Chai Simple Syrup
1 cup water
2 chai teabags (choose your favorite chai tea)
1 cup white sugar
Cocktail
2 oz. pear-infused vodka
1 tablespoon chai simple syrup
2 ice cubes
Cinnamon stick for garnish

Directions
infusionFor the vodka: Gently wash the pears under cool water and remove any stickers. Quarter and core the pears and place them into a half gallon glass jar (or divide between 2 quart-sized canning jars). Pour the bottle of vodka over the pears, seal, and set aside to infuse. Allow the pears to infuse the vodka for a minimum of 10 days or up to 3 weeks. To strain, place a fine mesh sieve over a large bowl and pour the pears and vodka over the sieve, pressing gently on the pears with a wooden spoon to release all of the liquid. Store the vodka in a clean glass jar.
For the simple syrup: Place the water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the teabags and steep 5 minutes to infuse. Remove the teabags and add the sugar, turning the heat back on to low. Stir until sugar dissolves. Cool the simple syrup and store in a jar in the refrigerator.
For the cocktail: Place the vodka, simple syrup, and ice in a cocktail shaker, cover, and shake vigorously for 10 – 15 seconds. Strain the liquid into an appropriate cocktail glass and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

prep time: 25 minutes total (plus infusion time)
yield: 12 cocktails

Pear Piña Colada

pear pina colada 1

I’ve been waiting patiently for the warmer weather to arrive to try out my idea for a Pear Piña Colada, and the results are deliciously successful! I love the creamy texture that the pureed pears lend to this cocktail, and using them allows you to cut down on the amount of coconut cream used in a typical recipe without compromising any flavor. The pears also lend a sweet, honey flavor to the cocktail that pairs beautifully with the tangy, fresh pineapple. I added a little unsweetened shredded coconut to my version as well because I love the texture it gives to this drink. Sip on this pear cocktail on a sunny afternoon and you’ll be transported to a tropical paradise!

Ingredients
2 ripe USA Pears, such as Bartlett or Anjou, cut into big chunks
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
¼ cup coconut cream (Coco Lopez brand is typically easy to find)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
8 ice cubes
3 ounces aged white rum

Directions
Place all of the ingredients into a blender and puree on high speed until smooth and creamy. Divide between two cocktail glasses and garnish with a pear ring and a slice of lime.

prep time: 10 minutes
yield: 2 servings

Please enjoy responsibly.

Dragon Well

Ring in the New Year with this light and festive drink. Fresh pear, green tea, and lavender flavors combine in this verdant cocktail that delights the senses. Garnish with pomegranate seeds to give this gorgeous green drink an added pop of color.

Ingredients

1/3 USA Red Anjou pear, cored and coarsely chopped (do not peel)

1 1/4 ounces pear vodka, such as Grey Goose La Poire or Absolut Pears

1/2 ounce pear liqueur, such as Clear Creek Pear Brandy or Aqua Perfecta Pear Eau de Vie

3/4 ounce green tea-infused simple syrup (see below)

1 ounce pear juice, such as Santa Cruz Organic Pear Nectar

Dry Soda-brand Lavender soda

Ice

Pomegranate seeds, to garnish

Directions

Put pear chunks in shaker and fill half full with ice. Muddle until pear is broken down. Add pear vodka, pear brandy, green tea syrup and pear juice and top with ice. Shake well, until very cold, and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Finish by filling glass with lavender soda and adding 5 or 6 pomegranate seeds.

To make green tea syrup: Bring 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup water to boil in small pot. Remove from heat and add 2 green tea bags. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain and chill.

Pear Margaritas!

USA Pears are sure to be a hit at your Cinco de Mayo fiesta! Our Mexican friends to the south sent us this recipe that will add some authenticity to your celebration.

For under-21 pear lovers, we recommend substituting a lemon-lime soda for the tequila. You don’t have to miss out on the party!

pear-margarita

Ingredients

2 Anjou Pears
½ cup Tequila
1 stick Cinnamon
Sugar, to taste
Crushed ice, to taste
Crushed cinnamon, to taste (optional)

Directions

Dice the pears. Put water in a saucepan and cook the pears with the cinnamon stick and the sugar until they are cooked and begin to fall apart. Blend the pears and strain. Put the pear blend back in the blender and add the Tequila, sugar to taste, and ice.

Blend and serve in glasses; sprinkle some cinnamon on top (optional). Garnish with pear slices and cinnamon.

4 servings
Cooking time: 35 minutes

Pearty Like It’s 2010

 

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In this season of gift-giving, I like to think of a nice, high quality cocktail as a small gift that I can give myself.  Now I’m not talking about cheap booze mixed with high fructose corn syrup, I’m talking about a quality spirit, fresh sqeezed or muddled fruit, and an unexpected touch, such as fresh herbs or a hint of spice.  A work of art that’s meant to be sipped and savored.      

pear-agon-recipe-finalWe have several excellent cocktail recipes that call for fresh pears, which were developed by mixologists across the country. 

We’ll even show you how to make super cool pear garnishes and give you ideas for food pairings.  In addition to this superb collection, we also like to keep an eye out for new cocktails.  Enter the latest Imbibe edition, which has a recipe on page 53:  the “Pear-agon.”  Developed by David Wolowidnyk of West(a popular restaurant and bar in Vancouver, B.C.), this cocktail calls for a ripe pear and pear liqueur…we can’t wait to try it! 

Happy New Year!

Eau de vie de poire (also known as pear brandy)

Cool signage is but one of the perks

Cool signage is but one of the perks

If you live in, near or are visiting Portland and consider yourself a pear lover (who doesn’t?) you simply must visit Clear Creek Distillery.  The owner, Steve McCarthy, has been making pear brandy for over twenty years, and more recently began making pear liqueur as well.  Steve and his crew crush and ferment whole Bartlett pears (grown on Steve’s family farm in Oregon), then distill the pure fruit mash in their German-made pot stills. 

Here’s a fun fact I learned on my tour – it takes 30 pounds of Bartletts to make one 750ml bottle of pear brandy!  Now, you can buy one of these bottles for about 40 bucks (smaller sizes are also available), or you can bite the bullet and spring for the Pear-in-the-Bottle version for about twice as much.  This is a beautiful product because they actually grow the pear in a bottle in the orchard starting in the spring, tend to them all summer, harvest in late August and then painstakingly scrub each bottle by hand before filling it with the pear brandy! 

Pear in a bottle!

Pears in the bottle!

Let me tell you something else, I’ve had some impressive cocktails that make use of Clear Creek pear brandy.  We have one fantastic recipe on our website, and you can also email me for other ideas.  Also – don’t forget to check out Clear Creek’s website for tour and tasting info!!!