As the chilly winds of autumn creep into the cold days of winter, enjoy the warm, inviting taste of a spice pear liqueur that you make yourself. The recipe is very easy and it has all the comforting flavors we enjoy during the season.
A homemade spiced pear liqueur is much like any other liquor infusion. The difference is that it is sweetened to transform it from a liquor into a liqueur. It uses a pear brandy and simple syrup base, then adds fresh pear and winter spices.
The resulting liqueur is pleasantly sweet and has a wonderful taste that is perfect for creating seasonal cocktails. Since it takes just a couple days to finish, it also makes a perfect homemade gift for the holidays.
- 1 pear (ripe, sliced)
- 3 star anise pods
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 cloves
- 4 allspice (whole)
- 20 ounces pear brandy
- 4 ounces simple syrup
- In a 24-ounce (or larger) canning jar, add the pear slices and spices.
- Pour in the pear brandy and simple syrup.
- Secure the lid and shake the jar so everything is combined.
- Set in a cool, dark place and allow it to infuse for 2 to 3 days. Shake it once a day and give it a taste test on the second day to see how the flavor's developing. Do this daily until it reaches your desired taste.
- Once you like the flavor, strain out the spices and fruit using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth, squeezing or pressing out any excess liqueur.
- Bottle the spiced pear liqueur under a tight seal and add a label.
As with any homemade liqueur, it has a shorter shelf life than other liquor infusions because of the sweetener. Store the finished liqueur in the refrigerator, where it will keep well for up to 3 months.
Choose Your Liquor
Pear brandy lays a nice foundation for the liqueur, though you'll want to choose wisely because some on the market already have a sweetener (technically making them liqueurs). Non-sweetened pear brandies are available, just read the label carefully. If the sweetened version is your only option, cut back on the syrup in the recipe.
The standard bottle of liquor (called a fifth) is 750 milliliters, which is about 25 ounces. Since you need to leave room in the jar for your flavoring ingredients and syrup, you will only need about 20 ounces. Go ahead and enjoy the leftover brandy while preparing your liqueur.
Customize the Flavor
The fun part about making your own liqueurs is that you can experiment and create a custom flavor. Feel free adjust any of the ingredients to develop your own "secret" recipe. It's difficult to go wrong, especially if you do the daily taste test.
Use a variety of pears. Pear season begins in autumn and runs through winter and it brings a number of pear varieties to the market. There's no reason to add just one type to your liqueur. For instance, adding half of both an Anjou and Bartlett pear is a really nice combination.
The pears don't need to be sliced any certain way and you don't have to peel them as long as they're washed. If you can fit the pear into your jar, you're good.
Play with your syrup. While plain simple syrup makes a nice liqueur, there are alternatives. Since this is designed to have a warmer profile, consider switching from white sugar to a darker one. You can use turbinado or demarara sugars in the standard syrup recipe or mix up something like a brown sugar spiced syrup. Either option will add a nice and warm richness to the liqueur.
Adjust the spices as you see fit. Cinnamon, star anise, and cloves are almost essential to getting a great spice blend, so you can skip the allspice if you like. If you have only ground spices available of any of them, add them to the syrup when you make it and use a little more than you normally would.
Enjoy Your Liqueur
The spiced pear liqueur can be used in a variety of cocktails. It can put a sweet seasonal spin on many brandy drinks or those that call for pear vodka. Recipes that use pear liqueurs are obvious choices as well, even if it doesn't call for one that's spiced.
To get you started, try it instead of pear brandy in the pear cobbler recipe. It can also take the place of the nectar and spices in the spiced pear caipirini or the infused vodka in the autumn spiced tonic.