Since the holidays are fast approaching, I wanted to fashion a weather-appropriate drink with enough versatility to please a crowd. I think I’ve succeeded. (At any rate, I think it’s pretty delicious.)
The result of blending pears with nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla is a warming, satisfying cocktail that takes a hint of freshness from Meyer lemons. As a bonus, whipping up the syrup will make your house smell insanely great.
The pear-vanilla syrup recipe yields about 1/2 cup. If you don’t use it all for cocktails (or mocktails for the kids), warm it and pour it over: yogurt, ice cream, fruit, hot cereal. Stir it into tea, or a hot toddy. It can be brushed onto cake or pastry as a glaze.
- 2 pears
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 a vanilla bean, scraped
- 1/2 cup golden sugar (or light brown)
- tiny pinch of sea salt
- 3 cups of water
- 3 teaspoons pear-vanilla syrup
- 1.5 ounces vanilla bourbon (or regular bourbon)
- 1/2 ounce amaretto
- 1/2 ounce poire eau de vie
- 1 tablespoon Meyer lemon juice
- a dash of lemon bitters
- soda water
1. Wash and dry the pears. Peel and core them; move the peels and cores directly into a medium-sized pot. (You can save the pears for snacking.)
2. Add the nutmeg, the cinnamon stick, the vanilla (seeds and bean), the sugar, and the salt to the pot. Add the water, and give everything a stir, so that the sugar dissolves. From here, you have two options: You can simmer over low heat, which will take about 1.5 hours, or you can simmer over a more agressive medium heat, which will take about 40 minutes. The former takes longer, but doesn’t require as much attention. Either way, your kitchen will smell divine.
3. When the syrup is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, take it off the heat. Run the solids through a sieve to extract the syrup: the cinnamon stick can be rinsed and used again, the vanilla bean can be added to a bottle of alcohol to flavor it, and the pear bits should be discarded. Move the syrup to the fridge to chill.
4. Once the syrup is cold, remove it from the fridge. Fill a cocktail shaker 2/3 full with ice, and then add the: syrup, the bourbon, the amaretto, the poire eau de vie, the Meyer lemon juice, and the lemon bitters. Close the the top and shake, shake, shake, until the drink is thoroughly chilled.
5. Strain the drink into the glass of your choice. Pour in the fizzy water: you want about 2/3 cocktail to 1/3 fizzy water. Cut off a little patch of the Meyer lemon peel, and twist. Drop it into the glass as garnish. Enjoy cold.