It's the end of September and my supply of fresh local ingredients is beginning to diminish. Even though fall just began I'm realizing that there are only few weeks left to take advantage of the late season fruit.
We're often given pears from a family tree but it didn't flower this year. I picked these pears up at the farmer's market. They were a small, sweet variety of yellow Bartlett. Perfect for eating out of hand really, but by using them up in this drink, we'll have an excuse to get more this afternoon.
We've talked about flavour matching in past and here again we have an example of two flavours that are totally in love. Pear and anise, or any licorice flavour will taste great together. Anise, fennel, star anise and licorice root are all distinctly different plants that happen to have similar flavouring. Here I used anise seeds but fennel seed would do just as well.
I tossed the pears in honey, the anise seeds and a pinch of salt and pepper before roasting them. Do yourself a huge favor and use some parchment paper over your pan. You'll want to keep all of the caramelized sugar and juices from the roasting and it would also be a pain to clean.
After the Equinox
1 1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz absinthe
1/2 oz Lillet
3/4 oz reserved pear juices or honey
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 roasted pear (1/4 cup chopped)
Combine all ingredients in a shaker, stir before adding ice if using pure honey. Fill 3/4 with ice, shake very vigorously for 20 seconds. Double strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with fresh pear slices or lemon zest.
Remember that you can substitute for ingredients you don't have. Dry vermouth (white) will work in this recipe too in place of the Lillet. I do recommend purchasing a bottle as you begin to round out your home bar. It is very useful for tying flavours together.
However, you will probably want the absinthe for this. You could use a licorice liqueur if you had one but you'll have to remove the honey to adjust for the sweetness. I won't be a fair substitute, just one that could be tried.
This recipe might serve as inspiration to add a bottle of absinthe to your collection. If you're just getting stared in home bar tending absinthe can be an intimidating ingredient but it comes up frequently in recipes. You might not be ready to make or drink something like a Sazerac, but having a bottle of absinthe on hand can help in taking the next step towards some of the scarier recipes you've maybe been afraid to try in the past. Make this the first one, you'll be glad you did!
Have you tried making a drink with absinthe yet? Tell us all about it in the comments below.