A FESTIVE CHAMPAGNE COCKTAIL
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 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 replacement of something gingerbread flavored instead of pumpkin?
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 cooking all day for a Christmas feast and we got to eat the things we love and look forward to while we were 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.
By the time we got home and unpacked all the goods, we were officially pooped. It wasn’t until the next day that I felt like I had finally caught up on rest and was able to unpack and settle back in.
Then it hit me, it’s New Year’s Eve and we have no plans. We tossed around a few ideas but everything we came up with sounded way too complicated. We also knew we couldn’t do anything that included the outdoors as the temps had just dropped dramatically and Jamie was just getting over a cold so we decided to stay in.
While Jamie rested on the couch watching football, I decided to make a trip to the nearby grocery store and pick up a few things for dinner which actually led to a few more things because I was hungry while shopping (bad idea I know), and I happened to come across the yummiest pears.
I stopped to take closer look and I could smell their perfectly ripe sweetness. As I coddled one I thought to myself surely I could find something to do with these (cue the hungry shopper again)… and carefully placed them in my cart with a grinchy like grin.
Once I got home and unloaded the groceries I pulled out the pears and a bottle of champagne that I had picked up for us to toast to the New Year. I glanced over at the two together and I suddenly had this strong urge to merge them. I began researching on Pinterest and found a few recipes on how to make spiced pear simple syrup, but they all seemed a way too time consuming as this was a last minute decision.
That being said, 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 sized 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 the grainy texture. I boiled the ingredients for about 15-20 minutes and turned it down to simmer, while 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 decided to add savory to the sweet by taking a few sage leaves and lighting them on fire until it began to smoke. I then covered the burning sage with champagne glasses.
By doing this, the smoke from the sage infused the glasses and added an earthy flavor of the cocktail.
*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. You can read more about how to smudge here.
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.
SPICED PEAR SIMPLE SYRUP
- 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 SMOOTH.
ADD SAUCE TO PAN WITH SUGAR AND WATER AND BRING TO A BOIL, STIRRING OCCASIONALLY FOR ABOUT 15-20 MINUTES.
BRING BOIL DOWN TO A SIMMER UNTIL THE PEAR SAUCE REACHES A LIQUID CONSISTENCY.
ADD LIQUID TO A LARGE STORABLE CONTAINER WITH A LID LIKE A MASON JAR AND ALLOW THE LIQUID TO COOL TO ROOM TEMP. YOU CAN STORE THE SYRUP IN THE FRIDGE FOR UP TO A WEEK.
BEST SERVED 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 THE SINGED SAGE ON A PLATE SO IT WILL NOT CATCH FIRE. PLACE 1 TABLESPOON OF THE SPICED PEAR SIMPLY SYRUP INTO THE GLASS AND FILL WITH CHAMPAGNE. ADD A SPRIG OF FRESH SAGE FOR GARNISH.
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I hope you and your 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! Thank you for reading!
Cheers- Ashley Nicole