Every year, it seems like overnight, we become obsessed with everything Fall. Iced coffee to coffee, caramelized root vegetables, hearty soups and stews. Suddenly, the easy-to-drink Summer cocktails (I’m looking at you margaritas!) are abruptly replaced with heavy, bourbon-laced drinks that dominate every bar from September to Spring.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love bourbon, but sometimes I just need a little time to adjust. That’s why I like this drink. The pear infused vodka takes advantage of seasonal flavors and the ginger syrup made with fresh ginger juice has both bite and heat. Topping it with ginger beer makes it light and refreshing not unlike the Moscow Mule, which it is based on.
It’s still iconically Fall, just not in such a rush to get there.
While infusing vodka is straightforward, there are a few pointers to keep in mind:
- Flavor – When it comes to pears, get whatever is freshest and in season near you. In Philadelphia, I have access to tiny Seckel pears with soft, sweet flesh. If you can’t find those, Bosc or Anjou work well. Just make sure they are ripe.
- Timing – The time required to fully infuse the vodka will depend on the ripeness of the pears. Start tasting the vodka after a day or so. When it tastes good, it’s ready to use. In general, that should take about a week.
- Storage – While the vodka may be shelf stable in a cool, dark place, refrigerating it will help keep the flavors fresh longer. Use within three months.
How to Make a Ginger + Pear Cocktail
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Ginger + Pear Cocktail
- 2 oz pear infused vodka, recipe below
- 1/2 oz ginger syrup, recipe below
- 1/2 oz lemon juice
- Ginger beer
- Garnish: 1 slice pear and candied ginger
Shake all ingredients (except the ginger beer) with 3 ice cubes, then strain into a glass filled with ice cubes. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with the pear slice and candied ginger.
Spiced Pear Infused Vodka
- 3 ripe pears, such as Bosc or Anjou
- 750 ml vodka
- 2 cardamon pods
- 2 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
Fill a clean quart-sized wide-mouth jar with coarsely chopped pears, spices, and one 750-ml bottle of vodka and stir well. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 week, shaking daily. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve.
- 196 g (1 cup) granulated sugar
- 4 oz (1/2 cup) fresh ginger juice
Make 4 oz (1/2 cup) fresh ginger juice, either by using a juice extractor or by finely grating fresh ginger, wrapping it in a clean towel, and squeezing out the juice; you’ll need 24 oz of ginger root to make this much juice. Put the juice in a blender, add 1 cup of sugar, and blend until the sugar is dissolved.