“If you go down to the woods today
You’re sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the woods today
You’d better go in disguise.
For ev’ry bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today’s the day the teddy bears have their piiiiicnic.”
My earliest memory of Pears will always be tied to that classic children’s song, Teddy Bears Picnic! I was in kindergarten (in New Zealand) and my mum packed me a picnic lunch with a pear for my “Teddy Bears Picnic day” in school. We went to a park nearby where we all sat down in a big circle and sang Teddy Bears Picnic while eating lunch. Good nostalgic memories indeed! (And now that song is going to be stuck in my head all day too!)
Back in the present, I think I may have a pear obsession. I don’t eat pears all the time but having been in season and being displayed everywhere in the local grocery stores in the last few months, I have been seemingly enticed into a new obsession. It doesn’t help that there are so many different types to choose from and so many different things that can be created out of them. I do love eating pears out-of-hand but I absolutely have to tell you about my new most favourite way of enjoying them – my Vanilla Pear Cocktail With Ginger!
There are so many types of pear out there. Bosc, Bartlett, Anjou, Asian, Seckel, Comice and then you also have the red varieties too. I prefer Bosc and Bartlett pears, but you can use any kind of pear you like for this. For this particular recipe I have used Bartlett pears that were perfectly ripe. Bartlett pears that have a yellow shade on their skin are beautifully sweet, needing only the littlest amount of sugar to enhance the flavour.
You can see that I have pureed pears for this cocktail rather than use store-bought pear juice or pear nectar which might be a slightly more convenient alternative for you if you choose to do so. This way though I can control exactly what goes in my cocktail and it is slightly cheaper to buy pears and puree them yourself at home with a blender. Plus I absolutely love the texture of pureed pear.
Vanilla Pear Cocktail with Ginger
- 3 Bartlett Pears
- 1/4 cup sugar syrup
- 3/4 cup Vodka
- 1/2 cup Almond milk
- seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla pod or 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 inch ginger piece minced or grated.
- A bowl of cold water with the juice of 1 lemon mixed in
- Peel and core the pears, and cut them into large chunks.
- Immediately place them in the bowl of cold water with the lemon juice until you're ready for the next step.
- Drain the pieces of pears and steam them for about 4-5 minutes until they are tender, but still firm.
- While they are hot, place them in a container and cover the pears with plastic wrap and let them chill in the fridge.
- To make the cocktail, place the steamed and then chilled pears in a blender with half of the sugar syrup, ginger, vodka, almond milk and vanilla beans and process everything until the mixture is nice and smooth.
- Transfer to a jug/container with some Ice cubes. Taste and add the rest of the sugar syrup if needed (I only needed about 3 tbsp of sugar syrup).
- Chill until ready to serve.
Let me, let you in on a neat trick that works like a charm in a pear cocktail like this. You may know from experience that when you slice or cut a pear in half it browns after a little while of being exposed to air (like apples, bananas, avocados etc. do). This is the result of an oxidation reaction caused by an enzyme in the fruits. This can be temporarily stopped by rubbing the cut surface with some lemon. This is why I usually place cut pieces of pear in a bowl of water with some lemon juice to make sure they look appealing and fresh even after some time. However once you have pureed the pears they turn brown even quicker, and you may have seen that a lot of pear cocktails out there seem to suffer from this unappealing brownish look. Adding lemon juice was also not an option for this recipe because that changes the flavour too much for me. So instead I steamed the pears before using them. This deactivates those oxidizing enzymes and helps retain the original flavour of the pears. And as you can see it worked beautifully and the drink did not discolour at all even after about 15 hours (which is about the longest this cocktail has lasted in our house so far!). And you can easily keep those steamed pears in the fridge (or freezer for longer) and whip up this cocktail whenever you want.
There is something truly serene about the look of this snowy-white cocktail. I love the almost paradoxical gritty smoothness of the pureed pears. And those tiny flecks you may notice in this cocktail are from Vanilla beans. It makes the cocktail wonderfully aromatic and adds another layer of subtle flavour to it. The real star however is the fresh ginger! It gives a rich aromatic warmth to this drink that you cannot get anywhere else and completely enhances the boozy kick you get from the vodka. I honestly cannot have enough of this. It’s a beautiful cocktail (and without the alcohol, a refreshing drink even kids could enjoy) that you can enjoy any time of the year and it is most certainly going to be a part of our Thanksgiving meal this year! I can’t help repeating how much I love the subtle gritty texture of pureed pears and the almond milk rounds off this perfectly seasonal cocktail with a smooth delicious taste. If you could ever take Fall and Winter, process them in a blender together and pour them in a glass, this is surely what it would look like.
It is our first Thanksgiving together here in the giramuk house hold! Although the kitchen is going to look nothing short of a war zone this week, I will still be updating my facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest or google-plus with all that’s happening here!
I will be back this week for another awesome recipe, so stay tuned in, or better yet subscribe for updates and free recipes via email below or on the sidebar. I love reading your comments below, so please feel free to show me some love 🙂