Often seen right by the apples at the fruit stand, the pear is a well-known and loved fruit. Also like the apple, the pear is becoming a star in the world of cocktails.
If you haven't yet thought of using pears in cocktail recipes, think again. The humble pear is more versatile than you might realize! Use it fresh, blended into a puree, or try some pear brandy as the star ingredient for your cocktail.
Let's look at some of the top pear cocktails, explore what pear brandy is and how it's made, and dive into some “pear-y” delicious cocktails you can make at home.
What Is Pear Brandy?
Pear brandy is a pear liqueur made by either soaking a pear in a brandy-filled bottle or making a fermented pear mash and distilling it. Known officially as Poire William, this liqueur is grouped under the label of eau de vie, a clear, colorless fruit brandy.
Fruit brandy is best served chilled and mostly considered a digestif. The mashing process uses a lot of fruit, which means that a single bottle can be costly. However, using pear brandy is done sparingly, so a little goes a long way when it comes to this liqueur.
How Is It Made?
It's best to make pear brandy where pears grow naturally. European liquor makers first produced this brandy, where the cooler climates are great for growing high-quality pears. In later years, the trend arrived on American shores, where it's still popular today.
In the early years, Poire William manufacturers grew pears in bottles! The pear was still small on the tree when they placed the bottle over it. Later, they would harvest the bottles (pear and all), then fill them with brandy. The pear in the bottle infuses the brandy with delicious pear flavor.
Another way to make a pear-flavored brandy is to crush the ripest picked pears, ferment that mash, and distill it in pot stills. A whopping 20 pounds of pears are used to make a single 750ml bottle of pear brandy!
Pear Cocktail Recipes
#1. Pear Spiced Sailor Cocktail
This cocktail has a refreshing balance of flavors. It combines Sailor Jerry spiced rum and pear puree with some homemade ginger nectar thrown in for an extra punch. Topped with bitters and ginger ale, this drink will have you singing sea shanties in no time.
- 1 1/2 oz of spiced rum (Sailor Jerry is preferred)
- 1 1/2 oz of pear puree
- 1 1/4 oz of ginger nectar (see the instructions below)
- 1/2 oz of fresh lime juice
- 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
- 2 oz of ginger ale
- Pear slice and nutmeg as a garnish
Pour everything into your cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake thoroughly. Place 2 fresh ice cubes into a Collins glass, strain the cocktail mix over it, and pour the ginger ale slowly over the back of a spoon to create a float. Sprinkle some nutmeg, garnish with your pear slice, serve and enjoy!
To make the ginger nectar:
- 1 full piece of ginger root, peeled and sliced
- 4 c of hot water
Spread the ginger out on a baking sheet and bake in an oven for 15 mins at 350°F. Place the baked ginger and hot water into a storage container and let it steep overnight. Blend at high speed and strain thoroughly. If it's too spicy, add some water to balance it out.
#2. The Pearly Bird
Intricately layered, the Pearly Bird delivers an over-the-top pear flavor sensation. The vodka in this cocktail gives it a welcome warmth, and the multiple layers tantalize the taste buds. When it comes to pear vodka cocktails, the Pearly Bird is a winner!
- 1/2 a pear, diced
- A pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1/4 oz of simple syrup
- 1 1/2 oz of vodka
- 1/2 oz of Tuaca or pear brandy
- 1/2 oz of Bénédictine
- Orange peel as a garnish
Add pear, simple syrup, and nutmeg into a cocktail shaker and mix thoroughly. Then add vodka, Bénédictine, Tuaca or brandy, and ice. Shake the contents well. Double strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a chilled cocktail glass.
Use orange peel zest for extra flavor and as a garnish. Serve and enjoy!
#3. The perfect French Pear Martini recipe
One of the most well-known pear cocktails is the French Pear Martini. Simple ingredients such as Champagne, St. German Elderflower Liqueur, and vodka are all it takes to bring the crowd-pleasing sparkling spirit to life!
- 1 1/2 oz of pear vodka
- 1 1/2 oz of elderflower liqueur
- 1 oz of Champagne
- Lemon twist and pear slice - as a garnish
- Superfine sugar and a lemon wedge - used to rim the glass
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, then pour in the elderflower liqueur with the pear vodka. Shake thoroughly and strain into your rimmed glass. Top up the glass with the Champagne. Garnish with the pear slice or the lemon twist, serve, and enjoy!
Optional: Wet the rim of a cocktail glass with the lemon wedge, then roll the rim's edge in a dish filled with the superfine sugar.
#4. Autumn Spiced Tonic
If you are up for a bit of a mixologist challenge, The Autumn Spice Tonic is right up your bartending alley! By creating a homemade apple-pear-cinnamon vodka, you'll have a versatile infusion that you can adapt to other drinks.
- 1 1/2 oz of apple-pear-cinnamon vodka (see the instructions below)
- A splash of simple syrup
- 3 to 5 oz tonic water
- Garnish with an apple slice
Fill a highball glass with ice. To make it more decorative, you can create perfectly shaped ice balls with an ice ball maker. Pour your infused vodka mixture, along with the simple syrup, into the glass.
Top the mix up with tonic water, garnish with the apple slice, serve, and enjoy!
To make the apple-pear-cinnamon infused vodka:
- 1 medium red apple
- 1 medium pear
- 1 (750-ml) bottle of vodka
- 1 cinnamon stick
Cut your apples and pears into slices and remove any seeds. In a large jar, pour the vodka, add the fruit pieces, and shake well. Seal the lid. Store the mix in a dry and cool place for roughly 3 or 4 days, but check the taste daily and shake each day.
Add the cinnamon stick a day before your vodka's flavor is where you want it. Seal it again and give it a good shake. The next day, strain out all the solids using a fine-mesh strainer and pour the contents into a bottle.
The Perfect Time for a Pear Cocktail
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "There are only 10 minutes in a pear's life when it is perfect for eating." However, it's always the perfect time to drink a delicious pear-infused cocktail or two.
Try these cocktail recipes out, or if you prefer a sweeter, smoother taste, swap your vodka or rum for brandy to make a delicious pear brandy cocktail. The sky's the limit with these fruity delights!