Pears are just one of those fruits that seem uber festive as part of a holiday spread. They also make for an incredible seasonal cocktail ingredient, and this Spiced Pear Swizzle is one of my absolute favorite drink recipes, full stop.
Some people associate swizzles with summertime, likely because they’re frequently mixed with rum and styled with a tiki bent. But something about the heaping piles of shimmering crushed ice that form the base of these drinks has, for me, always brought snow to mind. And while rum makes for a perfectly good swizzle cocktail, even in the winter, I use a split base of sherry and aquavit (a Scandinavian spirit with strong anise notes) to push this drink recipe more firmly into the chilly months.
If you’ve never had sherry before, it’s essentially an aged fortified wine from Spain – wonderful on its own, and incredibly versatile in cocktails. I like to decant my sherry before mixing, so I can serve it alongside the mal or afterward as a digestif. This decanter from RBT is positively stunning – one of those serving pieces so elegant and well-designed that it becomes part of the décor.
Whenever I mix up a pear cocktail during the holidays, I always garnish with gold to mimic “gift pears” all wrapped up in their pretty gold foil packaging. Since swizzles need straws, these golden paper straws from Kikkerland and cocktails picks from Viski work perfectly.
And if you caught my posts on Strawberry Rhubarb Pitcher Drinks, Applejack Cocktails, or Apple Cider Cocktails, you know I’m obsessed with using my OXO mandoline to make ribbon garnishes and fruit fans. For this recipe, I used the mandoline to slice pears into thin, crisp slices, then finished them off with a light dusting of edible gold, which is easy to order online. Rosemary adds a welcome aromatic and a pop of wintery green to a festive glass.
- 1 oz aquavit (ideally Krogstad)
- 1 oz amontillado sherry
- .75 oz cinnamon pear syrup
- .5 oz fresh squeezed/strained lemon juice
- pinch of salt
- Add everything to a cocktail shaker without ice. Shake and pour into a hurricane glass filled with crushed ice.
- Insert a swizzle stick or cocktail spoon into the center of the drink. Fold your hands over the stem of the stick/spoon and rub them rapidly back and forth (like starting a fire).
- Top with more crushed ice and swizzle again – frost should start to appear on the glass. Garnish and serve with a straw.
- 2 cups 100% pear juice, not from concentrate
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 oz jar of cinnamon sticks
- Muddle the cinnamon sticks in a saucepan until broken up into shards.
- Add the water and sugar and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer for five minutes, covered, then remove from heat and let sit overnight.
- Strain out the cinnamon and store in the fridge.