The Pear Tree!  Fragrant Bartlett pears, backed by evergreen notes of rosemary and juniper – a cocktail that is both unique and utterly evocative of the winter holidays!  

Get festive with a Pear Tree Cocktail. Perfumed pear, backed by evergreen notes of rosemary and juniper - a cocktail that is both unique and utterly evocative of the winter holidays!

The fire is slowly dying… And, my dear, we’re still goodbying…  But as long as you love me so… Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…

I love this cocktail.  At its North Pole center is Poire Williams, a traditional eau-de-vie (fruit brandy) made by distilling Williams pears (known as Bartletts, here in the U.S.)  The brandy is un-aged and clear as melted snow [as is every spirit that comes off a still – including whisk(e)y], and smells amazingly like freshly cut pears.  I’ve tried several different versions over the years, but my absolute favorite is Massenez, from France.  I’m also quite fond of the Pear Brandy crafted by Clear Creek Distilling, in Oregon.  It has a wonderfully fragrant nose, but just lags a tad behind the Massenez on the palate.  Even so, it’s lovely stuff.  Both brands also come in smaller (i.e., more affordable) half-sizes, if you’re not ready to commit to a full bottle.  

Get festive with a Pear Tree Cocktail. Perfumed pear, backed by evergreen notes of rosemary and juniper - a cocktail that is both unique and utterly evocative of the winter holidays!

We’ve had a full-size bottle of Massenez tucked away in our liquor cabinet for years, my wife & I eagerly awaiting the right moment each year to trot it out for a bit of holiday cheer.  

Once you have the pear brandy, it’s time to make some rosemary simple syrup.  Pinch off the tip of a rosemary sprig for each drink you think you’ll make, then set them aside for garnishes. 

rosemary

Bring 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water to boil in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.  Toss in a few sprigs of rosemary, about 4-5 inches in length, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat, discard the rosemary, and allow the syrup to cool.  You’ll only need 1 ounce of syrup for 2 drinks, but you can keep the extra sealed in the fridge for several weeks.  

rosemary simple syrup

Now juice some lemons – again, you’ll only need 1 ounce of fresh juice for 2 drinks.  

lemons

A quick word about choosing citrus —  Aside from the obvious characteristics of size and heft (the larger and heavier the better), look for roundish lemons with smooth skin (like the one on the right in the photo above) rather than bumpy and elongated (like the one on the left).  Smooth skin is thinner, so you not only get significantly less of the bitter rind and more of the juicy flesh, but the juice generally tastes better too!

Now for the glasses.  Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of cane sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt onto a small plate.  Twirl the rim of a glass against the cut face of a lemon, then invert it onto the plate, making small circular motions until it’s well coated.  

sugared rim

Now you’re ready to get shaking.  For 2 cocktails, fill a shaker 2/3 full with ice.  Give the ice a quick rinse to remove any freezer burn, then add 1 ounce each of the simple syrup, lemon juice, and pear brandy.  Top with 3 ounces of good dry gin, and shake vigorously for about 12 seconds, until thoroughly chilled.  Pour into cocktail glasses and top the surface of each drink with a tip of rosemary.

Get festive with a Pear Tree Cocktail. Perfumed pear, backed by evergreen notes of rosemary and juniper - a cocktail that is both unique and utterly evocative of the winter holidays! #pearcoctail #holidaycocktail

Similar cocktail glasses can be found here.

Get festive with a Pear Tree Cocktail. Perfumed pear, backed by evergreen notes of rosemary and juniper - a cocktail that is both unique and utterly evocative of the winter holidays!

Happy holidays!

– R

Other cocktails you may enjoy: 

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Pear Tree Cocktail Recipe


Description

Pear brandy with lemon, gin and rosemary simple syrup – a cocktail that is both unique, and utterly evocative of the winter holidays!


Ingredients

Scale

(for 2 drinks)

  • 1 ounce Poire Williams (Pear Brandy – see “notes”, below)
  • 1 ounce rosemary simple syrup
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 3 ounces dry gin
  • Sugar-Salt (for rims)

Rosemary Simple Syrup

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 34 sprigs rosemary (each 45 inches long)

Sugar-Salt

 


Instructions

  1. Make the Rosemary Simple Syrup.  Pinch off a small tip of rosemary for each drink, and reserve for garnishes.  Bring 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water to boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Add rosemary sprigs, and simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat, discard rosemary, and allow syrup to cool completely.
  2. Salt the rims.  Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon cane sugar and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt evenly onto a small plate.  Twirl the rim of a glass against the cut face of a lemon, and invert it onto the plate, making small circular motions until it’s well-coated.  Repeat with the other glass.
  3. Fill a shaker 2/3 full with ice, and give it a quick rinse to remove any freezer burn.
  4. Add 1 ounce Poire Williams (Pear Brandy), 1 ounce Rosemary Simple Syrup, 1-ounce lemon juice, and 3 ounces dry gin to the shaker – then shake vigorously (about 12 seconds) until well-chilled.
  5. Strain into cocktail glasses, and top each drink with a tip of rosemary.

Notes

  • My favorite brand of Poire Williams is produced by “Massenez“, in France.  But a close second is the “Pear Brandy” by Clear Creek Distilling, in Oregon.  Both are widely distributed, and both come in half-size (375 ml) bottles.

Keywords: pear tree cocktail, pear tree, pear cocktail, gin cocktail, holiday cocktail recipe, Christmas cocktail,

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Comments

  1. This cocktail is unique, festive, and perfect (I love pears). I gathered rosemary from the garden for the simple syrup, and was so happy to find pear brandy (I didn’t even know about it until your recipe came along). I’ve been enjoying a cocktail or two each week since before Christmas (I had it ALL to myself). Alas, this past weekend I ran out of gin, so it’s time to file the recipe away for a while. A new holiday staple at my little home bar! Thank you, Sylvia

  2. Made this over the holidays and it was so delicious and festive with the rosemary sprig! Even though I’m not normally a gin drinker, the combination of sweet, fruity, herbal and hint of salt on the rim was even more than the sum of its luxe parts. A winner!

  3. We made these over the holidays and loved them! I loved the combination of flavors. I also loved trying the Massenez French pear brandy, which was spendy but came in a beautiful pear shaped bottle that had a fully grown pear in it. It was lovely and worth the splurge!

  4. Absolutely delicious! We couldn’t find pear brandy (the search continues), so we used apple brandy. The sugar/salt is a must!

  5. Another nice fall cocktail. Made just as described and enjoyed. Agree with others that the salty-sweet rim really adds a dimension. Also, I don’t really like gin (husband does), but the brandy and simple syrup rounds it all out so it’s a smooth and flavorful.

  6. This was a fabulous cocktail. Savory and deep flavored. I was delighted by the combo of sweet and salt on the rims. That was a nice surprise. Also, a great way to use that bottle of Poire Williams that’s been sitting on the shelf. Thanks for such a delight in our repertoire. Thanks Richard for the further info on “Nick and Nora” Glasses and it’s history.

  7. This was a fabulous cocktail. Savory and deep flavored. I was delighted by the combo of sweet and salt on the rims. That was a nice surprise. Also, a great way to use that bottle of Poire Williams that’s been sitting on the shelf. Thanks for such a delight in our repertoire. Thanks Richard for the further info on “Nick and Nora” Glasses and it’s history.

  8. I love Poire Williams liqueur so was excited to try this recipe. Really easy and super tasty – subtle flavors that all work together really well. Don’t skip the sugar-salt rim – it adds a nice dimension.

  9. This drink looks amazing! I will have to make once I track down the pear brandy. Question – where did you get those cocktail glasses? I’ve been looking forever for that shape. Thanks!

    1. Loving great bar glasses too, i found these to be exceptional. There are several other styles and the German Riedel glasses are used in fine dining restaurants as well as available for home. Here are some I bought and love: Nick and Nora is the style from the 50’s that you are liking and other makers also have them. Here is the Riedel link.
      https://www.riedel.com/en-us/shop/riedel-bar/nick-nora-641700005
      Sylvia may have another source you’d enjoy as well.

    2. BB – that style of glass is called a “Nick & Nora.” They came about in the 1930s, and were named after a fictional couple in the Dashiell Hammett novel, “The Thin Man.” Several variations are available from different sources if you google them. Happy hunting!

  10. I love this cocktail. Just the perfect blend of seasonal flavors to add some cheer to an otherwise dark time. Thank you!