Upcoming Holiday posts

Well well. I’m surprised I had site visitors since I haven’t written anything since August 2015, but I guess the thirst for alcohol knowledge exists whether I am up-to-date or not. Cheers!

A couple of upcoming holiday posts which I plan to make:

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1) My partner and I split the cost of the Phillips Snowcase Calendar. This is a magical advent calendar for adults. No more teeny little chocolates, you get a new beer to try every day! Not only that, but a lot of the beers in the pack were brewed for the advent calendar only.

20151128_200723To follow along with the beer advent mayhem, you can follow me on my Untappd account, where I will be giving my detailed day-by-day reviews. At the end of the 24 days, I will provide an overall review post here, linking to the Untappd posts and reflections of the experience. That way, you can follow along live, or you can get the summary and read further only to the beers you wanted to know more about.

2) Last year, I talked all about my favourite holiday egg nog recipe. This year, I will conduct some mulling experiments. Yes, mulled wine, but many types of mulled wine, cider, and even some white wine! I mulling-spiceswill use this article as my resource  and then compare my concoctions side by side.

In addition to including my personal opinion, I will host a small tasting party so that at least 4 people can weigh in on the comparison. I plan to use at least 3 different red wines, 1 white wine, and 1 to 2 ciders. Yes, cider did grow on me after all!

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Pear Syrup & A Warm Fall Favourite

I love Bartlett pears. A lot. I am pretty convinced that all imitation pear flavouring emulates the flavour of Bartlett pears. I love them so much that I actually can’t understand why other varieties of pear exist; they all taste like wet cardboard to me.

There are many pear liqueurs out there but knowing that they were likely made with the inferior non-Bartlett pears and were on the pricier side, I chose to go the simple route and make simple syrup in a Bartlett pear flavour.
(NB: this recipe will work for any variety of pear, you just have to promise me that whichever pears you choose, that you absolutely adore them. Don’t just grab any pears off the shelf!)

I sauntered down to the grocery store nearest my place and I bought 3 Bartlett pears. I left them out on top of the kitchen table to ripen. Just like using over-ripe bananas to make banana bread, I let these pears ripen far past their “yummy-to-eat” date, until their bottoms looked a little brown and soft. There were also an alarming amount of fruit flies trying to stake claim on my precious pears!

Once the pears were over-ripe, I rinsed them and chopped them in half and scooped out the soft brown bits. I did not peel the pears as I knew the skins would just get filtered out later anyway. While I chopped them up into little cubes, I prepared a water-sugar mixture on the stove. Here’s the exact recipe I used:

3 Bartlett pears (over-ripe)
1/2 cup of water (125 mL)
3/4 cup of white sugar (~180 mL)

Put the pear and the water and the sugar all into a small pot and put it on the stove on low-medium heat. meshstrainerStir it frequently for 15 minutes, being careful not to let it boil. Then, turn up the heat a little higher to about medium heat until the mixture bubbles ever so slightly for 3 minutes or so. Remove from the heat and filter the mixture through a mesh sieve and push all the pear goo with a spoon in the sieve to make sure all the syrup comes out. I did this over top a mason jar.
NB: my finished product did have some tiny little fibrous pear bits in it that did pass through the sieve, so I would recommend doing another filtration through some doubled-over cheesecloth.

Put the finished product in the fridge to cool before using. It should keep in the fridge for about a month. The final yield for this recipe was a little over a cup of syrup.

leftoverpeargoo I also kept my leftover pear goo in the fridge. Could be used for many things, such as filling tart shells or put it in an omelette with brie and blue cheese!

And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for, what kind of a drink uses pear syrup?

Since the weather is getting colder, the season of warm drinks is upon us and I decided to do a variation of the classic Hot Toddy. It’s a lovely cocktail that tastes more like tea than alcohol and feels oh-so-soothing when you have a cold! Neo Citran, eat (drink!) your heart out with this one:

Pear Hot Toddy

2 oz bourbon (or Tennessee whiskey or a blended Scotch of your choice)
2 oz pear syrup
Fill up with boiling water
Add a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg
(Garnish with a cinnamon stick if desired)

The bourbon/Tennessee whiskey/blended Scotch choice is up to personal taste. I recommend bourbon/Tennessee whiskey over a blended Scotch simply because I find they are thicker and more syrupy than a blended Scotch. You could opt to use a peaty Single Malt Scotch however, I think that’s a waste of an expensive Scotch that is best served alone. The sugar in the syrup is going to change the flavour of the Scotch too, so best to use something that is not too expensive and complements the sweetness of the pear and spices nicely.

If you happen to have pure maple syrup on hand, I also recommend using 1.5 oz pear syrup and 0.5 oz of maple syrup instead. That’s just my Canadian showing. ;)