Oregon Pear & Honey Sparkler, A Cocktail for the Holidays

Last year for Christmas, the mister presented me with a sweater, and a bottle of Clear Creek Pear Brandy. It was not unexpected. The same gift is exchanged every year. We both pick out a sweater, something nice, and a bottle of the drink. He had, however confused the Pear Brandy, with Pear Edu de Vie, a liqueur I had been raving about all fall.

I didn’t really know what to do with the pear brandy, it isn’t something you just add soda water to and kick back. It is strong, very strong, with a bouquet of Bartlett pears that sends you straight into a boozy pear orchard with one whiff.

I’ve used some in baking, great, and tried sipping it straight, pretty good, but found the brandy really sings when dressing up a flute of sparkling wine.

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I tested this recipe several times and found a few things to note: watch that your sparkling wine isn’t too sweet. If it is, the honey syrup will be overkill. Also, have a light hand with the brandy, a little goes a long, long, long way.

I’ve included two variations of the recipe. A single serving, and a mix for 8. Ideally, I’d serve this as my guests are arriving to the holiday soirĂ©e, and switch to wine for the rest of the evening.

Oregon Pear & Honey Sparkler
Makes 1

1 tsp pear brandy
1 tsp Honey Thyme Syrup* recipe follows
4 oz or so Dry Sparkling WIne
I thin slice Bartlett pear

Add the brandy and honey-thyme syrup to a flute glass. Top with Sparkling wine and drop in a thin slice of pear for garnish.

Recipe for a Crowd
Serves 8

3 Tablespoons pear brandy
3 Tablespoons Honey Thyme syrup
1 Bottle Dry Sparkling Wine
8 thin slices Bartlett Pear

In a small bowl, mix the brandy and honey thyme syrup together. Evenly distribute between 8 flutes. Top off with sparkling wine and garnish with pear slices.

Honey Thyme Syrup
Makes roughly 2/3 cup

1/2 cup local Oregon Honey
1/2 cup water
2-3 strips lemon zest, each about 2-inches long and 1/2-inch wide
a handful of thyme sprigs, 8-10

Combine the honey and water in a small sauce pot over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, and remove from heat. Add the lemon peel and thyme sprigs. Let the aromatics steep until the mixture is at room temperature. Store sealed, in the refrigerator for a week or so.

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