DOTW: Gilded Pear

Posted by Anita on 12.15.06 6:49 AM

gilded pear (C) 2006 AECI’ve had the idea in my head for this drink for a while, but never got around to putting it together. For one thing, I was at a bit of a loss as to how to get all the various flavors I wanted to combine into alcoholic form.

I wanted to create a drink that offered the lushness of pears with the punch of ginger — a classic combo, to be sure. Although I knew I could make (or buy) ginger-flavored simple syrup, I was worried that so much sugar would push the cocktail in a sicky-sweet direction… definitely not my style, especially as I wanted to build off the flavors of my favorite Belle de Brillet pear cognac.

I consulted with my friend Sean — who knows his way around infusions — but he confessed that his sole attempt at ginger vodka turned out rather blah.

While browsing the baking aisle in the last few weeks before Christmas, an idea struck me: What about infusing vodka with candied ginger, rather than fresh? The flavor’s already concentrated by the candying process, and the little bit of sugar coating the chunks would dilute in the final mix.

So, I took about 3 ounces of candied ginger chunks, and covered them with a cup of vodka in a lidded jar. After the first day, I was worried — the ginger smelled like pine-scented kitchen cleaner, and the vodka tasted sharp and acid. Ugh. I set the jar aside, and resolved to try another route, after the holidays.

The next morning, I shook the jar, mostly out of idleness. And what do you know: As I rattled the ginger against the glass, I noticed dark, syrupy threads diluting into the vodka. Hm! A quick taste test showed we were definitely making progress. By yesterday morning — 3 days after starting the infusion — the mixture actually tasted like something you’d want to drink.

Last night, I decided to try a test run: Belle de Brillet and candied-ginger vodka stirred with ice, then strained into a tasting glass. Both the pear and the ginger seemed overpowering… but what about that bottle of bubbly in the fridge? I poured the mixed liquors into a small cocktail glass, and topped them with a float of the sparkling wine. Success! The dryness and effervessence neatly cut the sugar and the strong flavors, making for a lovely cocktail with a hint of sweetness and a kick of spice.

The Gilded Pear
1-1/2 oz. Belle de Brillet pear-cognac
1 ounce candied-ginger vodka
sparkling wine

Stir the cognac and the ginger vodka in a bar glass with ice; then strain into a small cocktail glass. Top with the sparkling wine.

Drink of the Week, preserving & infusing, recipes, wine & bubbly



Comment by Sean

Hooray! Now I simply must make a crystallized ginger infusion of my own …

Posted on 12.15.06 at 7:33AM

Comment by Steve

This looks divine but I think I’ll need an invite to your place to ever actually taste it!

Posted on 12.15.06 at 8:46AM

Comment by Brett

That sounds delicious, Anita. You’re a cocktail genius. I suddenly realized that I’m positively parched.

Posted on 12.15.06 at 1:43PM

Comment by Anita

Sean: I knew you were going to say that.

Steve: If you ever set foot further south than the Ferry Building, you know I’d invite you over for drinkies.

Brett: Genius?! Wow… No, I’m just a humble drunkard. :D

Posted on 12.15.06 at 2:17PM

Comment by Chubbypanda

I tried it! =)

It was divine, although I think I’m going to up the ginger quotient next time. This panda likes his ginger flava strong.

- Chubbypanda

Posted on 12.15.06 at 11:24PM

Comment by Anita

CP: Wow, you tried it already? I’m impressed…. but, how long did you leave the ginger soaking? ’cause the vodka got a LOT more ginger-y after day 2-to-3.

Posted on 12.16.06 at 6:50AM

Comment by Chubbypanda

I’m making a whole bottle of ginger vodka! =D

But a I poured a little off the top late last night/early this morning to
make the drink. Wanted to relax a little after dealing with the troll who
flamed me in my last Chowhound post. So six-ish hours? The rest is still
steeping nicely.

- Chubbypanda

Posted on 12.16.06 at 8:31AM

Comment by Anita

Ah! Let it steep another couple of days I think you will be muuuuuch happier with the gingery-ness of the drink.

Posted on 12.16.06 at 8:46AM

Comment by Anita

Since I’ve been asked twice, offline: The Belle de Brillet is a different thing entirely than the Clear Creek Pear Brandy. The Belle is a smooth, sweet, dark liqueur (I believe it’s cognac with pear infusion), and the Clear Creek is actually an eau-de-vie firewater. If you use the Clear Creek, the result would probably still be a tasty drink, but it won’t be a Gilded Pear. :)

Posted on 12.16.06 at 12:05PM

Pingback by Married …with dinner » Blog Archive » MxMo: Spice (must flow)

[...] Then I remembered an experiment from two winters ago. In the days before Domain de Canton hit the shelves, I’d spent a few months trying different techniques to get a strong ginger flavor into a cocktail without using ginger beer, mostly unsuccessfully. But then a “so simple it couldn’t work” idea paid off, and I ended up with a batch of spicy, faintly sweet infusion with a true ginger flavor. A repeat batch of this crystallized ginger digestif turned out to be just the thing to make my holiday sparkler shine. [...]

Posted on 12.15.08 at 10:54PM

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