The Bartlett Blush

Nothing says the holidays like a sparkling sipper. This season, elevate your typical cocktail by infusing it with festive fruit flavors. This rose-hued cocktail captures the essence of Christmas with pear, cardamom, and sparkling Prosecco.

This cocktail gets its blush from a homemade cider syrup. The intense ruby glow of a red delicious apple is captured by boiling apples and pears in hard cider until a syrupy reduction is formed. The color is deep and 100 per cent natural and, when mixed, gives the drink a warm holiday hue. If you don’t end up using all of the syrup for cocktails it works as a nice addition to most any holiday dessert, or even mixed with soda as a non-alcoholic offering for guests.

For the fruit flavor we used pear eau de vie and pear bitters, both from Dillon’s Distillery in Beamsville. Eau de vie is a clear, colourless fruit brandy and Dillon’s uses Niagara grown Bartlett pears in a single distillation process. The spirit is a strong 39.5 per cent alcohol, with a nose reminiscent of grappa, but a surprisingly soft palate with distinct, clean flavors of pear. If you can’t get a hold of Dillon’s pear eau de vie, any brand of pear eau de vie can be used. You can usually find them tucked away in the Vintages section of the LCBO.

Bitters are a necessary and often overlooked component to a cocktail. Originally a drink was only considered a ‘cocktail’ if it included alcohol, sugar, water and bitters.  A good way to think about bitters is to think of it as a cocktail seasoning, like you would season your food with salt or pepper. Bitters help to balance out the sweet, sour, and alcohol tastes to make a more delectable finished product. This cocktail calls for pear bitters which further underlines the pear notes. It is soft, mild, and colorless, and works well with the pie spice flavors in the syrup. If finding pear bitters is troublesome, try substituting it for any fruit bitters like orange or lemon. Just try to avoid a dark bitters which will alter the color of the drink.

This cocktail encapsulates the holidays with its color, festive flavors, and sparkle — the perfect a-pear-itif.

The Bartlett Blush:

Apple Syrup

Ingredients:

1 large red delicious apple, well washed, seeded and quartered

1 large Bartlett pear, well washed, seeded and quartered

1 litre of sweet hard cider

1 cinnamon stick

2 cardamom pods

Method:

In a medium saucepan combine the fruit and cider and bring to a boil

Reduce to medium high heat and allow to reduce for about 30 minutes

Carefully remove the fruit with a slotted spoon

Add the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods and continue to reduce for another 10 minutes

Remove from heat and discard the cinnamon and cardamom

Allow the syrup to cool completely


Cocktail assembly – makes 2 cocktails

Ingredients:

2 ounces of pear eau de vie

1.5 ounces of apple syrup

4 dashes of pear bitters

4 ounces of Prosecco

Ice

Twist of pear skin

In a cocktail pitcher or shaker combine the ice, pear eau de vie, bitters and syrup and stir vigorously with a muddling spoon or any long spoon

Top with Prosecco and using a Hawthorne strainer or slotted spoon pour into liqueur glasses

Enjoy!

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