10 Pear Cocktails to Brighten Your Holiday Spirit

Hailed as a “gift of the gods” by the Greek poet Homer in his epic The Odyssey, the venerable pear has graced civilizations for more than four thousand years. For a chunk of that time, crafty folks have been incorporating the fruit into their alcoholic beverages. Like other fruits, pears are a delicious and creative ingredient, and it’s no surprise that mixologists jump at the chance to include them in their libations. Even though there are plenty of reasons to eat pears for their nutritious value, there are also reasons incorporate pears into more fun parts of the menu.

Whether muddled, juiced, mixed, pureed, shaken or stirred, pears present countless possibilities as a cocktail ingredient. Because it’s the holiday season as well as pear season – not to mention National Pear Month – we figure there’s no better time to highlight some of our favorite pear cocktail recipes. As we like to say…when life gives you pears, make cocktails!

A Pear of Cloves

Warming spices like clove pair beautifully with the harvest-fresh flavor of pears. The drink’s pale green hue comes from the bits of green skin left behind after muddling the pears, making it very fresh and fun.

Millionaire Pear

This delicious drink looks great in a martini glass, champagne flute or cocktail glass, especially with the sparkle of the sugared rim. The vodka float and black pepper make for a subtle, elegant appearance but the addition of a few pear batons as a garnish would not detract from its simplicity. A very thin pear slice (cut on a mandolin) can also be floated on top.

Pear Dauphine

This delicate cocktail tantalizes the taste buds with a balance of sweetness and substance. The elderflower liqueur brings out the floral essence in the flavor of the fresh pear.

Kietsu: Sake Pear Margarita

Cultivated palates around the world thirst or flavor combinations that inspire. In this fresh pear cocktail, crisp, dry sake and smooth silver tequila unite for an intriguing fusion of flavors and cultures.

The Oregon Anjou

Fresh Green Anjou pears are put on the pedestal they belong in this flavorful libation. Handcrafted Pinot Gris syrup adds another layer of complexity that balances the drink with a subtly dry finish.

The Pearhattan

This cocktail’s pretty ruby red color is unexpected, as are the flavored pear-lemon ice Pearhattan cubes which imbue the cocktail with additional flavor as they melt.

Oh Pear

A variation on the classic Rusty Nail, the silky smooth pear purée makes this cocktail a joy to drink either up or on the rocks. Leave the skin on the pear for a beautifully colored pear purée.

Pear Cardamom Flip

Velvet smooth and practically singing with pear flavor, this charming cocktail offers spicy notes of cardamom, mint and ginger and is perfect for any time of day. It would be apropos as a brunch cocktail.

Dragon Well

Fresh pear, green tea, and lavender flavors combine in this verdant cocktail that delights the senses. Garnish with pomegranate seeds to give this gorgeous green drink an added pop of color.

Pear Tea Cobbler

The Cobbler is an old form of mixed drink that consists of a base spirit and fresh fruit. Here it’s been updated with the delightful flavor of gin combined with sweet USA Pears to experience an entirely new flavor sensation.

Want more pear recipes? Visit our recipe page!

Pear and Pineapple Green Smoothie

Pear and Pineapple Green Smoothie sm

Looking for a smoothie that combines both fruits and vegetables and still tastes delicious? Look no further! This recipe includes a full cup of spinach and several sprigs of brightly-flavored cilantro. These flavors are balanced by the honey-sweetness of pear and the tanginess of pineapple. Add refreshing coconut water as a base, and you’ve created the perfect green smoothie.

1 ripe USA Pear, such as Anjou, Bartlett, Concorde, or Comice, cored and cut into large chunks
1 ½ cups cubed pineapple
1 packed cup spinach
10-12 sprigs fresh cilantro
1 cup cold coconut water

Place all of the ingredients into a blender and puree at high speed until smooth.

prep time: 5 minutes
yield: 2 servings

White Sangria with Pear and Cranberry

sangriaThe holidays are officially upon us! While I love to indulge in a little egg nog, mulled wine, or a hot buttered rum this time of year, sometimes I find myself wishing there were some lighter cocktail options available. I created this festive white sangria with just that issue in mind. My sangria is both beautiful and seasonally appropriate thanks to the addition of a simple cranberry syrup and colorful red and green pears. If you’ve never used pear brandy in a cocktail before, prepare to fall in love! It has an incredible concentrated pear flavor and is a great addition to many different cocktails. I recommend Clear Creek Distillery’s version, which is made exclusively with Oregon grown pears.

This is the perfect drink to hand your guests as they arrive at your holiday gathering. Consider pairing this cocktail with an hors d’oeuvre tray of sliced red and green pears alongside your favorite cheeses. Serve the sangria in clear cocktail or wine glasses or a beautiful glass pitcher to show off its gorgeous pink color.

Cranberry Syrup
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
1 bottle fruity white wine (I suggest a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or a Viognier)
2 tablespoons cranberry syrup
2 tablespoons Pear Brandy
1 ripe green USA Pear, such as Anjou, small dice
1 ripe red USA Pear, such as Red Bartlett, small dice
Sparkling water, to top off

For the syrup: Combine the cranberries, sugar, and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cover and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook until the cranberries are softened, about 5 minutes. Mash all of the cranberries with the back of a fork and pass the mixture through a strainer and reserve the syrup, pressing on the berries to extract all of the liquid. Discard the cranberries and set the syrup aside for use in the sangria.

For the sangria: In a medium sized pitcher or jar, combine the bottle of wine, two tablespoons of the syrup, and the pear brandy. Stir the mixture together until it becomes a uniform, pale pink hue. Taste a spoonful of the sangria to make sure the flavor of the cranberries and the pear brandy come through. If you don’t detect these flavors (or prefer them to be more bold), add more syrup or brandy. At this point the sangria can be covered and stored for up to three days in the refrigerator.

When you are ready to serve the sangria, add the diced pears and stir gently. Ladle or pour the sangria into large wine glasses, being sure to include some fresh pear in each glass. Top each glass of sangria with a generous splash of sparkling water and serve.

prep time: 15 minutes
yield: 6 servings

Pear Drinking Vinegar: Part 2

I’ve been suspiciously quiet on my drinking vinegar experiment, but I have an excuse. I wrecked it. As in, burnt-sugar-on-the-pan, kitchen-smelled-for-hours wrecked it.

But don’t worry! I just finished round two, and the results were wonderful. I tweaked the recipe a bit this time, following the advice of Brook over at Learn to Preserve. Instead of boiling the strained liquid for an hour, I just simmered it for five minutes. The boiling is where I went wrong last time – maybe my proportions were off, but I ended up reducing the liquid down to a gooey, stringy mess in one pan and a crusted, black, stinky mess in the other.

This time, I strained my mixture into a saucepan, added ½ cup of honey, and stirred until the honey dissolved. I set the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for five minutes. When it cooled, I poured a few tablespoons over ice and topped it off with soda water for a refreshing, delicious drink. The vinegar was nice and tart with a sweet pear aftertaste.

The rest is in my refrigerator waiting to be added to a summery cocktail. Cheers!

Pear Drinking Vinegar: Part 1

Over the last year or so, I’ve grown to really enjoy a glass of cold sparkling water, especially when garnished with a few slices of lime or lemon. A local Portland restaurant is taking this drink to a new level by adding a delicious and unusual ingredient: drinking vinegars. Drinking vinegar has just a few ingredients: fruit, vinegar, and sugar. Luckily for me, I discovered they’re actually quite easy to make at home.

Drinking vinegars, or shrubs, as they’re sometimes called, have roots both in the colonial South and in Southeast Asia. Chef Andy Ricker of the aforementioned restaurant, Pok Pok, has popularized the trend here in Portland, offering Pok Pok Som in flavors such as tamarind, honey, apple, and raspberry at his Thai street food restaurant.

After purchasing a bottle of tamarind-flavored drinking vinegar and realizing just how tasty it is, I decided to experiment with a little pear-flavored vinegar. I’m making two batches now; one with apple cider vinegar and the other with distilled white vinegar. They both contain Green Anjou pears.

The recipe is simple: roughly dice and mash fruit. Add vinegar of choice (rice, white, cider, etc.) until fruit is covered. Cover the container and let sit for one week, stirring daily. Do not be alarmed by the smell or the sludge on top. (This sentence taken verbatim from a recipe in the New York Times.) After one week, strain liquid into a saucepan and add sweetener of choice (sugar, honey, agave syrup, etc.) Reduce by boiling gently for an hour. Strain again if desired, cool, and serve full strength as a cocktail mixer or diluted with soda water.

Next week, I’ll reveal the tasty fruits of my labor.