A FESTIVE CHAMPAGNE COCKTAIL
This year I spent this New Year’s Eve in my pajamas mixing up this deliciously smoked sage and spiced pear fizz with my little family and it was by far the best NYE yet!
Jamie and I have been doing a lot of traveling to see family for the holidays. On our first trip, we went to Jacksonville, FL where we spent time with his side of the family and it was really nice catching up as we have not been out that way in about two years. We all wore Christmas pajamas and had brunch instead of the normal big holiday feast which was quite nice considering we just had the turkey and all the sides you could imagine for Thanksgiving. Don’t get me wrong I love a good holiday meal, but does it seem like it just gets repeated for Christmas with the exception of some gingerbread and something peppermint flavored? Also, it feels like we are constantly slaving away in the kitchen all day and we don’t get to spend the time that we should with our loved ones.
The next adventure took place in Apalachicola, FL to visit with my side of the family. It was a little more relaxed as we didn’t have to worry about the Christmas meal and we got to eat the things we love and look forward to when we are there. In case you didn’t know, Apalachicola is well known for its seafood and that’s always my number one thing I want to eat when we go, as well as, the duck confit fries at the local “Tap Room” bar. It was a very leisurely stay but still not home.
By the time we got home and unpacked all the goods, we were pooped. It wasn’t til the next day that I felt like I had caught up with my rest and was able to get at unpacking and settling back in. Then it hit me, it’s New Year’s Eve and we have no plans. We tossed around a few ideas but nothing seemed relaxing which is what we really wanted to do after all that traveling. We also knew we couldn’t do anything outdoors as the temps had dropped and Jamie was trying getting over a cold so that narrowed things down quite a bit.
When we came up with nothing, I decided to make a trip to the nearby grocery store and to pick up a few things for us to eat for dinner and a few more things as I was hungry while shopping (bad idea I know). As I was shopping I passed by the yummiest looking pears, it was like I could smell their sweetness and thought I can find something to do with these and tossed a few in my cart or buggy if you’re southern.
Once I got home and unloaded the groceries I pulled out the pears and champagne which gave me this strong urge to merge the two. I began researching on Pinterest and found a few recipes on how to make spiced pear simple syrup but they all seemed a little too complicated as this was a last minute decision. By complicated I mean steeping pears with spices, bringing to a boil, and covering for hours or overnight to allow the flavors to soak in. This obviously wasn’t going to work for me because of my last minute planning. So I decided to take matters into my own hands.
The pears I chose were bosc, I’ve seen others use d’ Anjou but I bought these because they had a big bag of organic ones on sale and figured what the heck. As you probably already know, pears are a little grainy so my solution to this was to first blend the pears with the ginger and cinnamon until it reached an applesauce-like consistency. Next, I put the mixture through a sieve over a medium-sized bowl to discard of any lumps.
Once I had the pear sauce in the bowl, I added it to a medium saucepan with the simple syrup elements and brought it to a boil. By bringing it to a boil, I was able to soften the pear sauce which broke down its grainy texture. I boiled the ingredients for about 15-20 minutes and turned it down to simmer, stirring occasionally. I kept a close eye on the mixture until it reached a liquid consistency and poured it into a large Mason jar allowing it to cool.
I’m not one to love a super sweet cocktail, so I took some sage leaves and lit them on fire until it began to smoke and covered them with glasses. By doing this, the smoke from the sage infused the glass giving the cocktail a more earthy taste. I had read about mixologists doing this with rosemary and thought it was worth a try as I had never done so in the past. The results were amazing and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the flavors the cocktail took on. *Quick tip- Did you know that burning sage is a great way to cleanse your soul? I didn’t know this either but a few months back I burned a sage stick to cleanse myself and my home and the after effect was very relaxing and peaceful. Again this was exactly what we needed and what better way to get rid of bad spirits and refresh for the new year! If you would like the full details on the cocktail, I’ve listed the spiced pear simple syrup recipe along with some items to celebrate with for your convenience below.
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- 3 BOSC PEARS, PEELED AND PITTED
- 1 PIECE OF GINGER ABOUT 3 INCHES GIVE OR TAKE, PEELED AND CHOPPED
- 1/4 TSP. CINNAMON
- 3 1/2 CUPS SUPERFINE RAW CANE SUGAR
- 4 CUPS WATER
- PLACE PEARS, GINGER, AND CINNAMON INTO A BLENDER OR FOOD PROCESSOR. PULSE UNTIL SMOOTHE. ADD SAUCE TO PAN WITH SUGAR AND WATER AND BRING TO A BOIL, STIRRING OCCASIONALLY FOR ABOUT 15-20 MINUTES. TURN DOWN TO A SIMMER UNTIL IT PEAR SAUCE HAS COOKED DOWN AND IT REACHES A LIQUIDY CONSISTENCY. ADD TO A LARGE STORABLE CONTAINER WITH A LID SUCH AS A MASON JAR. ALLOW TO COOL TO ROOM TEMPERATURE OR PLACE IN FRIDGE.
- SERVE WITH GLASSES THAT HAVE BEEN INFUSED WITH SMOKED SAGE. YOU CAN DO THIS AHEAD OF TIME UNTIL READY FOR SERVING. JUST BE SURE TO PUT SINGED SAGE ON A CERAMIC PLATE OR SOMETHING WILL NOT CATCH FIRE. PLACE 1 TBS. OF THE SIMPLE SYRUP INTO CHAMPAGNE GLASS AND FILL WITH CHAMPAGNE. ADD A SPRIG OF FRESH SAGE FOR GARNISH.
I hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful and as always thanks for reading! I hope you and you’re families have a Happy New Year and please feel free to leave your thoughts and/or New Year’s resolutions in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!
Cheers- Ashley Nicole