The Friday Tipple: Pear Champagne Cocktail

TGIF, Boozers. We’ve had a long week and so we were already in a celebratory mood before we spotted this little message on Twitter: “Pearousia pear brandy is HERE!”. We may have even heard a choir of angels sing. Did we mention it’s been a long week?

‘Nuff said, Boozers, we need no more encouragement than that to crack open a bottle of bubbly. Our friends at Catoctin Creek Distilling Company make a luscious pear brandy known as Pearousia, and if you live in the DC area, we suggest that you run, not walk, to snag one of the 402 bottles now available. We already have a bottle, and in fact had planned a different Pearousia cocktail coming to you in a couple of weeks, but we pulled this together today because we couldn’t wait another minute.

If you can’t get Pearousia, don’t despair. As you know, we encourage you to buy local, and our loyal Boozers are spread far and wide; pear brandy pops up in small distilleries across North America, so we suggest that you check in your local area. Also known as an eau-de-vie, pear brandies are made at Clear Creek Distillery in Oregon, Harvest Spirits in New York, and Bartlett Winery in Maine. However, most liquor stores will carry a bottle of pear brandy, perhaps just slightly dusty, somewhere on their shelves. Grab it.

Pear Champagne Cocktail

We like to use a little turbinado sugar with this, borrowing from an Italian tradition of dropping a sugar cube into a glass of champagne, symbolizing the sweetness of life. Steal a few packets of Sugar-in-the-Raw the next time you’re buying a pricey cup of coffee and keep them at home for this tipple.

Chilled champagne

Pear Brandy

Fresh pear, chopped (remove the skin first, if you like, but we don’t)

Turbinado (raw) sugar

Drop a few pieces of pear into the bottom of a champagne flute and sprinkle some sugar over the top. Let sit for a few minutes while the sugar softens, then pour 1 ounce of pear brandy over the pear. Allow to macerate for 15 minutes, then top with chilled champagne. Salut!

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Roaring Twenties Raspberry Vinegar

“…the average woman considers she has lunched luxuriously if she swallows a couple of macaroons, half a chocolate eclair, and a raspberry vinegar…”

Very Good, Jeeves, P.G. Wodehouse

Being only familiar with raspberry vinegar as something we make to mix with olive oil for a nice summer salad, we at Good Booze have puzzled over the above quote from a favorite Roaring Twenties short story collection for years. Why would a woman have raspberry vinegar with her eclair? Doesn’t sound appetizing, let alone luxurious, at all, but perhaps prohibition had rattled P.G. Wodehouse to the extent that he thought a glass of vinegar was preferable to bathtub gin.

But all was revealed recently when we read about the line of fruit drinking vinegars now available on the retail market by Pok Pok Tom, a popular Thai restaurant in Portland, Oregon. A quick search on Google revealed a New York Times article about — wait for it — raspberry vinegar that is sweetened and boiled into a syrup. Add just a teaspoon or so to a glass of club soda and what you have is an incredibly refreshing drink that is both sweet and acidic, with the faintest hint of vinegar to help you digest all those macaroons.

We see a lot of cocktail potential in this charming reminder of a bygone era — so keep your eye out for this Friday’s Tipple. You’ve got plenty of time to make your own drinking vinegar before then!

Roaring Twenties Raspberry Vinegar

Drinking vinegar recipes are largely the same across the board, just varying the types of fruit and vinegar, and sometimes using honey instead of sugar. Here’s our version, which yielded almost 4 cups total.

2 16-ounce bottles of red wine vinegar

3 cups fresh raspberries

5 cups sugar

Put the vinegar and raspberries in a large bowl, cover, and let sit for up to three days (or even four, to deepen the flavor). Uncover and mash the raspberries into the vinegar, then strain the liquid into a saucepan. Add the sugar and bring just to a boil, then turn the heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes, let cool, and bottle. Most recipes say it will keep refrigerated for three months, but we doubt it will last that long, simply because we will slurp it down too quickly.