Tag Archives: cocktails

Spiced Pear Vodka

3 Mar

A few years back, I had a pretty intense love affair with St. George‘s Spiced Pear Vodka. Part of its allure was its amazing pear flavor, sure, but another piece was almost certain that it was LIMITED EDITION. You mean I can’t have this delicious taste whenever I want? I’LL TAKE TWO. You know, just in case. Fast forward a few years, (yes years) and I’ve still got the majority of one bottle in my freezer – you can’t just drink it all at once! It’s for special occasions because its LIMITED EDITION.
We took it with us when we moved, and through a cruel twist of fate, I ended up having to to dump it out. Heartbreak.
My darling husband put my entire family on the hunt for this beloved tipple – all to no avail. LIMITED EDITION, remember.
They tracked a couple of bottles down here and there in Florida, but how on earth were they going to get it from Florida. It was a lost cause.
Cue my clever mother, who wrapped up and delivered my very own DIY spiced pear vodka kit. Delicious Hangar 1 vodka, all the necessary spices, a nice bottle for infusing, and directions to go pick up my own dang pears (since who knew when I’d actually get around to making it).
She also scrolled through the far reaches of the internet to find a couple of recipes, clever lady.  My ingredients came complete with print outs from One Martini (in protective plastic sleeves, since vodka infusing can get spilly).

I followed Jessica’s directions pretty closely, only making a few tweaks.


  • 2 ripe pears
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 star anise
  • 5 cloves
  • 750 ml vodka
  • Large jar/bottle – large enough for the entire bottle of vodka and the pears and spices.


  1. Wash pears, cut into slices/pieces and add to the jar.  The smaller the pieces, the more surface area you have, so theoretically, the faster it will infuse.
  2. Add the spices and pour in the vodka.
  3. Cover and let sit to start infusing. After a day or so, check the taste. I pulled the star anise fairly early on, probably only a day in, but left everything else to continue to infuse.
  4. Each day, give it a swirl and taste it again. Once the flavor is where you want it, strain the vodka and store in a glass vessel.  I put it back in the vodka bottle.  I’d say to plan on at least three days, maybe a week before it’s “done.”
  5. I lost about 150ml through the process, but didn’t want to lose that boozy goodness, so I heated up the fruit to make a compote, and served it warm over vanilla ice cream.  Super good!
  6. I love this with a mix of fizzy water and vanilla syrup (sugar free usually), but I keep trying to come up with amazing cocktails to make with it that don’t require me purchasing all sorts of additional obscure liqueurs and bitters.  Sadly, that’s not my strong suit, so if you have any recommendations, let me know!  I have this one on my radar – with plain old sweet vermouth in place of the Cardamaro, and these yummy The Bitter Housewife bitters I picked up at Bitters + Bottles in South San Francisco.

Gingerbread Martini

13 Sep

It’s nowhere near Christmas (well, that’s not true, it’s only four months away), but now you’re ready, cocktail wise at least.  I’d tell you where I found it, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. . .

1 ounce vanilla vodka
1 ounce hazelnut-flavored liqueur (recommended: Frangelico)
1/2 ounce butterscotch schnapps
Ice cubes
4 ounces ginger beer (recommended: Reed’s Ginger Brew)
Dark rum
Gingerbread man cookie (recommended: Pepperidge Farm), for garnish

Pour the vanilla vodka, hazelnut liqueur, and butterscotch schnapps into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into high ball glass or any 8-ounce glass filled with ice. Top with ginger beer. Pour a little dark rum over the back of a spoon and float on top of the ginger beer. Garnish with a gingerbread man cookie.

Red Currants

19 Jun

My sweetie adores red currant flavored things – I’d love to do a red currant syrup for use in cocktails and homemade sodas (thanks to our trusty Penguin).  I’d also love to do a red currant wine and have my own little Anne of Green Gables moment; if only I had Marilla’s recipe!  While I’m thinking of an alcohol free version, this could be fun as well; the recipe sounds remarkably old fashioned.

After picking up some frozen red currants online (curses for not having this stuff here in the Bay Area!), I’m scouring the internet for proof that I can use these wildly expensive frozen berries to make stuff.  I can find plenty of recipes for things to make, but everyone talks about FRESH berries, which I just don’t have access to.  I might have to pull on my trailblazing pants and just see what happens.  Of course I could’ve just purchased the dang stuff, but what fun is that?

My friends at Chowhound say it’s probably possible, thankfully, to make jams with frozen berries at least.  They also led me to the wonderful world of freezer jam, which I have never heard of.  It can even be made South Beach friendlyOne recipe for freezer jam I found involves just mixing together a few ingredients, and freezing.  Um, I can do that!

As for a cordial (this one sounds nice, if a little more gourmet than I planned), I’m not entirely sure.  And when I saw cordial – I’m really thinking cordial like Australians mean it – a flavored syrup for mixing with water in a Kool-Aid like concoction.  So really, I just need to make syrup out of it.  SURELY I can just boil down the berries, add some water and sugar, and from there keep it as syrup, or go one step further to jam.  SURELY.


I just found some great info on growing red currants here.  I can’t wait to get my hands on a couple of bushes and see how they do!


19 Jun

I adore this entire post.  The photos are amazing.  It makes me want to move to Portland immediately and spend my days on a farm.  Mind you, that’s kind of my plan anyway, but it makes my mouth water I want it so badly when I read something like this.

Photo by Lisa Waringer, via Design*Sponge

Summer Elderflower Drink

Fill a rocks glass with ice. Add elderflower syrup and soda, and stir. Garnish with a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint.

Hendrick’s gin, your favorite vodka (citrus or plain), or sparkling wine in place of that club soda would all be amazing additions to this drink.  I also love sparkling lemonade, so if you had some of that on hand, and elderflower liqueur sitting around in your bar, you’d be set to just add the mint and enjoy a slightly different version of this drink with a similar flavor profile.  If you love elderflower – Ikea has a few elderflower flavored things (as was the recommended source for elderflower syrup by the drink’s creator, Chelsea Fuss).  The jam looks divine.

If you were wanting to make your own, and you aren’t surrounded by wild elderflower bushes, it appears that dried flowers can be used – gotta love forums that are actually helpful.