Thanksgiving Monday in Canada, and specifically in our small town of Tumbler Ridge, is a pretty laid back kind of day. Turkey and ham bones were boiling for soups and left over apple chunks from garnish making were baking into muffins. The sky was grey, threatening rain, and the day was calm and warmish. That is warmish for fall in the Peace River Region of BC.
I decided to work of some of the turkey dinner by heading outside to tackle the leaves blown off the nearby trees and blanketing our yard. Some years, this is mute point, as the leaves are falling at the same time as the first snowfall, but this year – while we did have a skiff of snow a few weeks earlier – we’ve been enjoying a mild Autumn… so far. The day was perfect, or shall I say pear-fect and even though rain eventually fell on my new piles of leaves awaiting halloween themed bags, the kids were happy, we all had warm soup for dinner and I could sit back and relax in the evening.
To finish the Thanksgiving holiday I whipped up some pear inspired drinks. This was a great opportunity for me to pull out some frozen pears I had put away during the summer – and use the fresh rosemary brought to me from the nearest Safeway one town over (which works out to an hour and a half drive) and brought in by my niece when she came for thanksgiving dinner – thanks Jade!
Rosemary Pear Collins
Saveur describes their Spiced Pear Collins as “Pear puree, gin, and rosemary give this autumnal cocktail a crisp, woody sweetness, robust density, and sour, crackling effervescence.” So the challenge is to create the same flavour without the gin base. The original recipe also required three steps – making the pear puree, making a clove and rosemary simple syrup and then mixing the drink. I wanted to find a way to simplify this process as much as possible, without loosing the intensity of the flavours.
- 1 oz simple syrup (1 part sugar to 2 parts water)
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- pinch of ground cloves
- 1 oz fresh lemon juice
- 2 oz pear puree (see below)
- Sprite, 7-up or other lemon soda
Muddle torn up rosemary from one sprig with simple syrup and pinch of cloves in bottom of cocktail shaker. Add fresh lemon juice and pear puree and shake well to mix. Add ice and 2 oz sprite and stir with spoon. Pour over iced filled collins glass using a julep spoon to strain out the rosemary leaves. Top with more soda and garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
This drink needs lots of soda to cut the thickness of the pears, but the flavour of each component comes through beautifully when made with the fresh ingredients and ground spice. While the missing gin removes some of the brightness and some of the sour flavour, using fresh lemon juice and a little more than the original recipe replaces this somewhat. Lemon and rosemary pair together beautifully, and match the pear flavour and brightness of the soda. Maybe someday I’ll try the original, but I would be happy to serve this elegant drink at any dinner party.
Kid-o-metre 3/5 sweet enough but the flavours are more adult and not appealing to my youngest
Taste: 5/5 yum…
Simplicity: 4/5. simple to make if you have plenty of fresh pears
Ingredient finding: 4/5 can’t get fresh rosemary here, I buy it out of town and then have to freeze it for use.
The original recipe from Saveur suggest a pear puree made in the blender from pears, lemon juice and rosemary. For my version I simply used pears, sliced, gently heated and covered in simple syrup, then frozen until needed. This is a basic technique for freezing fruit and results in sweet pears ready for any purpose. When I need them, simply defrost and throw into baking, drinks etc.
If you don’t have any frozen pears, follow this option:
2 pears – peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 oz lemon juice
Put sugar, water and lemon juice into a sauce pan, heat until sugar is dissolved. Add pears and simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into blender. Allow to cool slightly to prevent blender explosions and then puree. Pour into storage container, should last about 1 week or make about 5 cocktails.
Pear Ginger Fizz
There are a bunch of recipes for this online, all different and most alcoholic. Food in a minute had a wonderful non alcoholic version using a blender, canned pears and lemonade as the base. Working with this as my starting point, I found that the chunks of ginger and the thickness of the drink made for a more smoothy type drink great for breakfast, but not as an evening sipper.
So I adjusted the concept slightly to create something more cocktail like in taste and presentation.
- 2 slices of fresh ginger
- juice of one lemon
- 2 oz pear puree (see above)
- 1 tsp sugar
- club soda
Muddle ginger, puree, lemon juice and sugar in bottom of a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake vigorously to blend flavours. Add a splash of club soda to thin puree and stain into short glass filled with ice. Top with more club soda and serve with lemon wedge garnish.
Thinning the drink with soda instead of lemonade adds sparkle and gives the drink a more cocktail feel. The fresh lemon and ginger add brightness. The final drink is thick but not like a shake, and smooth – no chunks making it a pleasure to drink. The addition of sugar adds a hint of sweetness. Compared to the original, this is a very similar flavour and doesn’t loose on the intensity with the thinner version.
Kid-o-metre 3/5 similar to the other pear creation, this was not a big hit for my 6 year old
Taste: 4/5 Has a tendency to settle, stir lots.
Simplicity: 4/5 simple to make
Ingredient finding: 5/5 when in season, every item can be found close at hand. Out of season, canned pears are easy to come by.