Celebrate Summer with The Pear-fect Cocktail
“There are only ten minutes in the life of a pear when it is perfect to eat.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
The summer season in India is dreaded with a vengeance for its merciless heat. The only thing that makes us cope with this blistering heat is the bounty of fresh, delicious, and refreshing fruits that the season offers. One of the best fruits to counter the summer heat are the underrated Pears. In fact, Pear Juice is probably one of the best drinks to have in order to avoid sunstrokes and dehydration.
Pear is an extremely delicious, crunchy, and juicy stone fruit that makes an appearance once all the summer stone fruits have been exhausted. Pears have been cultivated since ancient times and Europe was probably its region of origin.
Pears are one of the oldest fruits that have been around since prehistoric times. Dried Pears have been unearthed in Swiss caves that date back to the Ice Age. The earliest reference to Pears appears in ancient Mesopotamian tablets. However, the first literary mention of Pears is in the Greek poet Homer’s epic poem Odyssey, written sometime between the 8th century — 7th century BCE, in which he calls it the “gift of gods”. In 100 BC, the Romans used grafting techniques to cultivate 6 varieties of Pears and by 200 AD, as reported by the Roman Historian Pliny, they had 40 varieties. In Greek and Roman mythology, Pears were sacred to Goddesses Hera, Aphrodite, and Pomona. No wonder the pears are a part of the European cultural heritage.
The ancient Chinese believed that the pear represented immortality and prosperity. For thousands of years, across many cultures, one finds references to the pear tree as a symbol of longevity, abundance, and divine sustenance. It even features in the 12 Days of Christmas Carol. In the world of art, the pear shape represents the female shape.
Over 3000 varieties of pears exist across the world. However, they can be divided into two categories: European and Asian Pears. The most popular ones are:
- Green Anjou Pear is bright green in colour that is identified by its egg-shaped appearance. This variant does not change colour as it ripens. Smooth and juicy in texture with a sweetly mellow taste. Truly an all-purpose pear that is delicious when eaten raw especially, during breakfast, as well as in baking, roasting, and poaching.
- Red Anjou Pear is similar to its green cousin. The main difference is the red skin. It is milder and sweeter with hints of spice that replace the citrus notes of the Green Anjou. Great in green salads.
- Bartlett Pear is the iconic bell-shaped pear that is the post child of pears. The skin of this variety brightens as it ripens. This traditional canning pear with its green-gold skin is extremely juicy and sweet with a buttery texture. However, this variant does not hold its shape when cooked.
- Bosc Pear is wonderfully crisp with a unique, delicate honey-like sweet flavour with a woodsy hint of spice. It is oblong in shape and retains its shape when it is cooked, making it a favourite for baking and poaching. It is recognized by its cinnamon-brown-coloured skin.
- Comice Pears are sweet and juicy with a mellow and earthy flavour. They are round with a short neck, with light green skin that has a rosy blush, and soft lusciously creamy textured flesh. They taste best when paired with cheese and wine.
- Concorde Pear is derived from a cross between comice and Conference Pears. It has an elegant shape with a long neck. It is juicy and smooth and is ideal for cooking as it holds its shape and flavour.
- Seckel Pear is small and juicy with a Chubby round shape that packs a sugary punch. It is also known as “sugar pears”.
- Forelle Pear is slightly larger than Seckel and is an old European variety. It resembles an apple in texture as well as taste. It has a beautiful red blush over yellow-green skin. It is sweet and delicate. Great for snacking.
- Asian Pear is a crisp, crunch apple-shaped Pear. The skin is not as soft as other pear varieties. There are many varieties of Asian Pears and unlike some European varieties, the Asian Pear does not change colour once it has been harvested. The Asian Pear usually has a sweet-tart flavour with delicate floral notes.
Pears are one of those few fruits that do not ripen on the tree. In fact, they are harvested when they mature and are left at room temperature to ripen. The ripeness of a pear cannot be judged on its colour. One needs to “check the neck” by applying gentle pressure with one’s thumb on the neck of the pear to check its ripeness.
Pears have tremendous nutritional benefits as they are rich in antioxidants, Vitamin C, and dietary fibers.
The Pear-fect Cocktail
A thirst quencher that will keep you cool through the summer heat.
- 1oz / 30 ml Gin
- ¾ oz / 22 ml Elderflower Liqueur
- ½ oz / 15 ml Homemade Pear Liqueur
- 2oz / 60 ml Pear Juice / Puree
- ½ oz / 15 ml Honey Syrup
- ¾ oz / 22 ml Fresh lime Juice
- 2 dashes Cinnamon Bitters
- Chilled Brut Champagne to top up
- Garnish: Baked Pear Slice and fresh flower.
- Add all ingredients except the champagne into a shaker tin filled with ice.
- Hard shake and strain into a Glass.
- Top with chilled Champagne
- Garnish with a baked pear slice and fresh flower
- Drink, Smile, and Repeat.
Tasting Notes: The Elderflower Liqueur, Champagne, and Pear Juice pair beautifully to create a light, fruity, and floral cocktail. The rich Pear flavour in the cocktail is an absolute delight. The cinnamon bitters along with the Pear Liqueur add a hint of spice. The Gin gives the cocktail an herbaceous and citrus backbone.
- Small Plates: Cucumber Tea Sandwiches; Cheese Platter; Honey Walnut and Cheese Crostini; Tandoori Paneer Tikka; Charcuterie Board; Crab Artichoke Toasts; Bacon Wraps; Chicken Malai Tikka.
- Greens / Soups: Roasted Pumpkin Soup; Crab Bisque; Green Salad with Apples, Avocados, Walnuts, and Blue Cheese Dressing; Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad.
- Big Plates: Lemon and Herb Tilapia with Steamed Vegetables and Mashed Potatoes; Smoked Duck Breast with Orange Sauce served with Roasted Beetroot and Feta Salad; Grilled Basil Chicken and Zucchini served on a bed of Rice; Murgh Badami served with Tandoori Roti; Honey Garlic Pork Tenderloin served with Roasted Green Beans; Pulled Pork Burgers with French Fries; Margherita Pizza with Basil; Creamy Mushroom Risotto; Blue Cheese Souffle served with Walnuts, Endive, and Fig Salad; Tofu Pad Thai; Palak Paneer with Tandoori Roti.
- Desserts: Apple and Vanilla Tarte Tatin; Pecan Pie; Crème Brûlée; Sticky Toffee Pudding; Pista Badam Barfi.
Originally published at https://perfectpotions.co on June 25, 2021.