Thursday, January 24, 2013

Spiced Pear Goodness

I don't normally post specific syrup recipes, mostly because they never really deviate from the standard method, but this one is a little more complicated. Plus it turned out too well not to brag about.

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup water
1 stick cinnamon
8-10 whole cloves
4-5 whole allspice berries
1 large pear

Dissolve the sugar in the water over medium heat. Add the spices, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer (don't boil!) for about 20 minutes, then kill the heat and let stand for another 10 minutes.

Chop the pear into 1/4-inch cubes and place into a French press or other nonreactive vessel. Pour the hot syrup over the pear pieces while straining out the spices. Let stand for about12 hours, then strain again and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

This is calibrated for about 2 cups of syrup, which is about all I ever make for home use.

As a bonus, here's a damned fine use of the above:

1 1/2 oz cognac or French brandy
1/2 oz spiced pear syrup
3/4 oz orange juice

Shake and strain over fresh ice in a double old-fashioned glass , then top with 2 oz dry Prosecco or Cava. Stir gently and serve with a twist of orange peel.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Moroccan Haze

Here's a potent and slightly foggy cocktail that was too good not to write down.

1 1/4 oz cognac (VSOP grade or better would be nice)
1/4 oz absinthe
1/4 oz Cynar (I haven't tried Cocchi Torino, Carpano Antica, or other reasonably bitter vermouths, but I have every reason to expect that any of them would work; however, the herbal notes of Cynar have an interesting synthesis with the absinthe)
1/4 oz rooibos tea syrup
2 dashes ras-el-hanout bitters (I'll get around to publishing a recipe someday, I swear)
2 dashes orange bitters

Stir and strain into a cocktail glass; garnish with a large orange coin squeezed to express the oil.