Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pear Infusion!

The past month flew by in a blur. I am finally catching up, clearing the decks and, as it turns out, dumping my camera. Here are some goodies I had been harboring....the results of a countertop experiment.

Pear Infusion!

In jar #1 I used 3 Bosc pears, a bit of sugar to jump-start the infusion, and a bottle of Monopolowa Vodka.

In jar #2 I used 3 D'Anjou pears, a split and scraped Bourbon vanilla bean, a bit of sugar, and a bottle of Volganaya Vodka.

Prior to my experiment, I racked up icey shots of Monopolowa (Austria), Volganaya (Estonia), and Moskovskaya (Russia) vodka and did a vodka tasting. (Note: this is not your typical wine-tasting type sip and taste. I mean, vodka, solo, um, it's harsh!)

Hey! No raised eyebrows, 'kay? This was back before I got cranking on that Guidebook deadline...back when I was still in denial that I would have plenty of time to get it done...tick, tick...

The winner? If you're talking straight shots, for me it was hands-down the Moskovskaya, followed by the Volganaya in the smoothness category. The Monopolowa was down-right harsh. But I'm not a vodka-shooter type of girl, so making infusions with them seemed like the natural thing to do. And well, me being me, you just know I'm going to create a couple of cocktails with the final results...being the closet mixologist-er-spirit-enthusiast that I am.

Let the pictures attest that I began the infusion "experiment" on October 21st, left them abandoned under a dark towel on the counter, (alternately they could have been left in a dark cupboard under the sink), and I finally revisited them on Nov 14th.

(They might have been strained earlier if I was paying better attention, more, say, than the occasional sniff and swirl of the jar, but I had to clear out the clutter in preparation for that busstop family happy hour I was hosting, oh, you know, right in the final sprint of my writing blitz, as I was mere days to the delivery. OK, everybody needs a break now and then. It can't all be nose to the grindstone!)

At this time, 4 weeks later, I strained out and discarded the sliced fruit, then poured the liquid goodness through a strainer lined with a damp paper towel, then again through a coffee filter. Triple filtered to get out all the sediment! Then I funneled the results back into their original bottles, dating and labeling them.

Voila! My Pear Infusions worked.

I definitely think the Boscs produce a deeper pear flavor (and a darker color) and the D'Anjou is more subtle, although it does make a lovely combination with the vanilla bean. If I were to do this again, which I very well might, I will infuse the Volganaya with the Bosc, as the Monopolowa is just frankly a bit edgey, although less-so after the infusion.

For those keeping score, in fact, I did do another infusion post-deadline, but this time I infused the Volganaya with 3 or 4 sliced up Satsuma Mandarins from my full-to-bursting dwarf tree out back. For this creation I only needed to steep the fruit in the vodka for about a week...

...for it to transform itself into the most delicious amber-colored tangerine vodka I've ever tasted. OMG. That's a keeper! Right in time for Thanksgiving. And shaken with a splash of cranberry and a squeeze of lime, it's about the best Tango-Cosmo I've ever had! My fave new Tday cocktail.

But again, I digress. Pears. Vodka. Infusion. Alchemy. What to do with all that pear goodness...

Why, a Pear-Ginger.

1 part house-infused pear vodka
1 part gingerale
generous squeeze of lime

Shake, rattle and roll. Garnish with a long sliver of fresh pear.

oo. oo. and ooo! Pass the pears, please....

1 comment:

Jess said...

No comments here?? I can't believe nobody told me about this post. Very interesting. I always use Monopolowa, but just because someone told me to, I haven't done a test.

My experience is infusing vodka with beets, rosemary (rosemary lemon drop... so good!), lavender, and I tried mango, but that didn't go as well. Oh, kumquats, that was amazing.

Now I may have to try pears, and different vodkas. Thank you for sharing!