…by Meg White
The place Meg puts the stuff she wrote
Start the New Year with Modern English
Categories: Blog, Craftiness, Kitchen

In the same way that I much prefer warm weather over cold, I have a tough time transitioning from the summer/fall adult beverages to those sponsored by the dark winter overlords. I can’t help it if I follow the rules of refreshment established by the talented G. Love.

I prefer IPAs to stouts. I can only enjoy so many hot toddies each winter before I break out in cinnamon-and-clove-induced hives. I’m constantly inspecting myself for signs of scurvy as fresh fruits gets less bountiful/appetizing. Is it spring yet?

So, it is with this handicap that I sent myself on a mission to hunt down a suitable signature drink to bring to a new year’s eve party this year. Because I wasn’t cooking/entertaining, I had the time to really chef it up. One of the few fruits that seem to make it through winter months with a certain grace is the humble but complex pear. After heading into pear puree territory, I realized that any extra could be used for Bellinis, since the champagnes were certain to be flowing on NYE.

I settled on a drink recipe called the Modern English, with a little modification to make the actual cocktail mixing a bit easier. See, most Modern English recipes call for maple syrup, but I figured sugar at that viscosity level in a shaker would not play nice with the ice. So, I used the maple to roast the pears and give the puree a little more smoothness. One final note for those who don’t like gin: The layers of cinnamon, pear, lemon, etc. mix nicely with a spiciness of gin, without being overpowered by it. An excellent recipe for those who think they don’t drink gin.

Just the drink please

  • 2.5 oz quality gin
  • 0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1 bar spoon (tsp.) Goldschlager
  • 1 oz maple-pear puree (recipe follows)

Combine in shaker with two ice cubes. Shake vigorously and pour into cocktail glass, garnished with a cinnamon stick.

Making maple-pear puree

  • 6-8 fresh, firm pears (I used comice pears, but feel free to experiment)
  • butter
  • grade A maple syrup, to taste
  • lemon juice, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 F. Smear 9 x 13 glass dish with butter. Place washed, whole pears in the dish. Drizzle lightly with maple syrup and cover with aluminum foil. Roast for an hour, or until pears are quite soft.

(I roasted them for 45 minutes, turned off the oven and left them covered in the oven and went shopping for the requisite booze and something to wear to the party. They were nicely cooled by the time I got back to them.)

Allow to cool. Cut the pear lengthwise into quarters, peel skin off and remove cores. In batches, blend in a food processor with small amounts of maple syrup and lemon juice. Obviously, you still want this to taste primarily of pears when finished, but use your judgement to add more syrup for sweet toothers or more lemon if you like things on the brighter side of the taste spectrum.

A note on amounts

For the party, I brought:

32 oz of puree (the recipe above makes this plus almost half again as much)
1.75 liter bottle of Bombay gin
750 ml bottle of Goldschlager (much more than was necessary, but the smallest bottle available at the store I happened into)
ten cinnamon sticks
12 oz lemon juice
At the very least, this combo should make two dozen drinks. If they are meant for 24 different people, bring more cinnamon sticks.

I am now taking suggestions of what to do with all that extra puree in my freezer. Aaaand, go.

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