29 August 2011

Pear Elderberry Cocktail

Summer in Italy brings with it amazingly delicious fruit. I, of course, always want to find ways of preserving these scrumptious flavors to savor for the rest of the year. As you may have read in earlier posts, I have made jelly out of several fruits, including fig, mulberry, pomegranate and watermelon. But another way to capture the flavor of fruit is to infuse vodka with it. 

In a process similar to making limoncello, infusing vodka requires soaking it with your desired fruit for 2-5 days, depending on your fruit. I recently did this with some delightfully juicy pears I picked up at the market. I cut up 2 small pears into tiny pieces and soaked them with vodka in a glass jar for three days and strained it into a glass bottle. 

The result was not as satisfying as biting into an actual juicy pear, but it did give a delicate pear flavor to the vodka. So what to make with it? My husband loves his apperitivo, or early evening snacks and cocktail—basically Italy’s version of happy hour. When we do it at home, he loves to invent some unusual combination for his cocktail. When mentioning the new pear vodka, I saw a light bulb go off in his head and he excitedly suggested pear vodka, my elderberry syrup and a splash of soda. 

Yummy! What a lovely and unusual combination. And when served with a platter of noshes like cheese, fruit and nuts, it makes a lovely apperitivo.

Buon appetito...

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