Pear and Sage Sazerac

I’ve been on the search for the perfect fall cocktail recipe, and the other day, inspiration struck and I came up with the idea of a pear and sage sazerac. I made a small batch of sage simple syrup, and a puree with some pears from our CSA box. What followed was a delicious cocktail reminiscent of New Orleans, with just enough sweet and herby flavor to be a fall standard.

Pear and Sage Sazerac

  • 1-2 ounce bourbon (depending on your preference)
  • Splash of Pernod or Absinthe
  • 1 bunch fresh sage
  • 4-5 drops bitters
  • 1-2 pears
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Begin by combining equal parts sugar and water (I did 1/2 cup to 1/2 cup for a small batch of simple syrup), bring to a boil until it begins to thicken (it should stick a bit to the back of spoon) and remove from heat, stir in 1 bunch of sage and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour. After it’s had a chance to sit, remove the sage leaves.
  2. Peel and core 1-2 pears (depending on how much puree you’d like), put in a steamer basket and steam for 10-12 minutes or until you can prick them easily with a fork. Once they are cooled, cut and place into a blender with some lemon juice and puree.
  3. In a cocktail shaker, combine 1 TBSP pear puree, 1/2 ounce sage simple syrup, a few additional sage leaves, and muddle. Add 4-5 drops of bitters, and 1-2 ounces of bourbon (I prefer 2, but then again, I live in Williamsburg), and ice. Shake and strain* into a glass and garnish with a sprig of sage.

*The pear puree can get a bit thick towards the end, if this bothers you, I’d suggest straining through a cheesecloth.


Sugary Sweet Skulls

Halloween is by far my favorite holiday. It’s my mom’s birthday so it has always been a huge ordeal in my household. Decorated to the nines, a huge party, and candy for days. This year, I’ve decided to take over the party flair from my mom (I so wish she were going to be here), and if I’m taking over, I am really taking over- go big or go home.

As a huge fan of the 1920s, I’ve been using that as my inspiration, and if I’ve learned anything from the pages of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Wharton it’s that in the 1920s, people loved their absinthe. Traditionally, absinthe is served with a sugar cube and ice cold water to slowly melt the sugar into the drink.

So what better way to make absinthe a bit more Halloween-y, than to make skull shaped sugar cubes. I read this tutorial, and although I melted them the first time (I got distracted and left them in the oven too long), but the second time they were absolutely perfect. They were surprisingly easy to make, took hardly any time, and are going to be a great addition to the party. And although we don’t have traditional absinthe glasses, I picked up these small drinking glasses for 50 cents each at the thrift store. I just hope everyone is a anise fan like me!

Drink List: Concord Lavender Martini

I absolutely love concord grape season. I love the deep purple rich color, the texture, and the sour flavors. Usually I end up eating them all before I have a chance to make anything with them, but this time I managed to keep a few aside to experiment with making drinks. I had this idea after the Purple Rain cocktail at Lure Fishbar here in New York. And although my cocktail ended up nothing like it, it ended up taking a life of it’s own.

Lavender Grape Martini

  • 1.5 oz vodka
  • .25 oz creme de cassis
  • 1 oz concord grape juice
  • .5 oz lavender simple syrup (or regular!)

I started by removing the seeds from the grapes, and pureeing the grapes (skin included) in a food processor with some lavender simple syrup. Then I strained the grapes through cheesecloth to end up with a nice sour grape juice.

Unfortunately, it ended up being a little bit too tart for my liking, so I added a bit of creme de cassis (and by a little, I mean a little), shook it up with some ice, and strained into a martini glass. The finish was herbal, a bit sour, with just a touch of sugar flavor. Perfect for the summer to fall transition!

Drink List: The Breakfast Belle

Summer is swiftly drawing to a close, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not planning on taking advantage of the last little bit of fresh fruit from the greenmarket. Right now, peaches are plentiful, and while I seem to have an awful difficult time eating fruit if it’s not pre-cut for me (much like a kindergartener), I have absolutely no problem taking the time to incorporate it into a drink.

I was inspired by the Breakfast Bourbon from Craft Bar here in NYC, which is by far, one of my favorite cocktails I’ve ever had. I pureed a fresh peach with a bit of apricot juice (although you could use any kind of juice), instead of muddling to really incorporate the flavors throughout. It’s the perfect drink to make in large quantities for an outdoor brunch, or an afternoon in the backyard!

Breakfast Belle

Ingredient amounts yield 1 drink

  • 1 oz. Bourbon (I prefer Maker’s Mark)
  • 1/2 oz. Triple Sec
  • 1/2 oz. Maple Syrup (the real stuff, no Mrs. Butterworth’s here!)
  • 1/2 oz. Peach puree

Put all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake it up and pour over ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a peach slice.

Drink List: Lemon Lavender Martini

I have a deep love for combining the flavors of lemon and lavender. I’ve made cupcakes, and biscotti using these flavors, but this is the first time I’ve combine the two in a drink. There are plenty of recipes floating around, but here are some tips on how I made mine.

I ended up using some dried lavender instead of fresh because the lavender in my garden has been suffering because of this stifling heat, and I happen to have a ton of dried lavender sitting around. I doubled the infusion time with the simple syrup, which gave it a really strong and sweet lavender taste. I also added a little bit of limoncello. I have a habit of trying to make two alcohol cocktails (after working at a bar and making so many Long Island Iced Teas, who can blame me), and a little bit of sweetness definitely didn’t hinder this drink.

I tested the recipe on a couple of my girlfriends who thought it was a perfect afternoon cocktail in this weather. It didn’t hurt that we were helping a friend prep to attend a wedding, cocktails always make that better!

1 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. simple syrup
1/2 oz. limoncello
juice of half a lemon

Put all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, shake it up and strain into a glass. Garnish with a lemon twist, lemon rind, or maybe even a sprig of fresh lavender.

Side Note: How great would it be to take some sugar and dried lavender and put into a food processor, and rim the martini glass with that? Maybe that’ll be my next project!

Drink List: Cherry Blossom

Having been a bartender for a few years before I made my foray into freelancing, I sometimes still miss the fun of having an arsenal of alcohol and mixers at my disposal and mixing up fun, new drinks. When I was given a bottle of Yuzu juice, I knew that I had to find some way to incorporate this into a cocktail. I started digging in my fridge and came out with some cherries, and simple syrup, and knew that with a little vodka, I would have the perfect drink.

I call it a Cherry Blossom after the obvious ingredients, plus the Japanese influence of Yuzu juice. I’m sure there is already a drink with that name, but this is my take on it. You can play around a little with the ingredients and amounts, my roommate didn’t love the yuzu juice, so I added more simple syrup to hers to even it out, also you could try muddling some herbs or other berries with it. Enjoy!

3 cherries
1 oz. simple syrup
1 oz. vodka
1 oz. Yuzu juice

Muddle the cherries with the simple syrup. Add vodka, yuzu juice, and ice. Shake well, strain over fresh ice, and top with a cherry.

Drink List: Blackberry Mint Fizz

Sometimes, you just know when flavors are going to work well together, and with a mint plant in my backyard, and a fridge full of summer berries, I couldn’t wait to put a few ingredients together for the perfect summer cocktail.

The blackberry mint fizz is perfect for sipping in the backyard, and it’s a nice looking drink with it’s rich purple hue and bright green mint leaves. Here’s the super easy way to make a delicious cocktail that will be sure to impress your guests!

Small handful of mint
Few blackberries
1 oz. simple syrup
1 oz. vodka (I’m currently loving Three Olives)
Soda Water

Muddle the mint, blackberries, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add vodka, ice, and shake vigorously. Pour into a glass (or you can strain over ice if you don’t like the blackberry seediness). Top with soda water. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a blackberry.