Spiced Pear Liqueur

I’ve managed to get myself a new hobby. It started oh-so-innocently when I made a batch of sloe gin two years ago with berries that I got hold of from the local park. The result? Quite simply stunning. It is just so ridiculously easy to leave fruit soaking in some sort of spirit, and come back months later to something magical.

Roll forward two years, and now I have not only two jars of sloe gin maturing in the cupboard, but various other concoctions steeping at the back of a cupboard. I promise that these will appear over time, but today’s little feature is one that I am particularly looking forward to.

First off, I have to ’fess up to the fact that this is a complete lift-and-shift from a recent cookbook acquisition of mine, the fantastic Salt Sugar Smoke by Diana Henry. If you’re into preserving things at home, this is definitely a book for you! It has wonderful photography that takes you through the world of jams and jellies, pickles, smoking, salt preserving and how to make a range of fruit liqueurs.

This autumnal recipe in particular really caught my eye – you just take a whole pear, pop it into a large jar, add a few spices and some orange peel, and leave the lot to steep for a few months.


Now, I was a little unsure about this “whole pear” approach (surely I should be slicing the thing to get all the flavour out?) but sure enough after a few days, the pear skin splits and I’m imagining all the flavour mixing with the spirit. The mixture has already taken on a slightly orange hue, but the hard part is waiting for nature to take its course. The pear and spices need to sit for a month before the sugar goes in, and then the whole lot needs to site for another four months to mature. All this means that some time in February 2014 I should be able to enjoy this liqueur. That, or I might just sneak the stuff out from the cellar in time for Christmas….we’ll just have to wait and see how patient I can be!

To make spiced pear liqueur (from Diana Henry’s “Salt Sugar Smoke”)

• 1 ripe pear (an aromatic variety, like Williams)
• 1 cinnamon stick
• ½ whole nutmeg
• 1 piece orange zest (no white pith)
• 800ml vodka
• 225g white sugar

1. Pop the pear (unpeeled) into a large jar with the cinnamon, nutmeg and orange zest. Add the vodka. Seal the jar, and leave on a kitchen window for a month. Admire it from time to time as the alcohol takes on the colours (and hopefully flavours) of the fruit and spices.

2. Add the sugar and re-seal the jar. Shake lightly, then store somewhere dark. Shake every day for a week until the sugar is dissolved. Leave for at least four months before tasting.

3. Drink!

Worth making? We’ll find out in a few months…


Filed under Drinks

23 responses to “Spiced Pear Liqueur

  1. Sounds fabulous. I’ve already bookmarked this page and I’ve added making it on my weekend “to do” list. I’m sure waiting to taste will be the hardest part!

  2. That sounds incredible. Clever stuff x

    • Hi Deena – I’m looking forward to it. When I did it with the sloe berries, the end result was so different from the gin and the astringent sloe fruit. I’m sure this one will be delicious!

  3. So simple and yet sounds so good! Waiting for months is not our forte, any tips on self-restraint?!

    • Just one – hide it! But seriously, the flavour will develop over time, so there is a reward for waiting. When I made the sloe gin, it still tasted a bit “raw” after a few weeks, but a few months later, it was amazing. So it’s a case of “eyes on the prize” and don’t give in to temptation!

  4. I know what I’m doing with the sad, lonely Kilner jar sitting on my kitchen counter. I’ve even got all the ingredients! That’s a recipe first!

  5. will check out the cookbook have been wanting to get a book on preserving, thanks for the tip. Re pears in bottles – a traditional way of preparing pear brandy in Switzerland is to grow the pear in the bottle and then add the alcohol. Just crossed my mind because you mentioned not cutting the pear or anything and in the method used in Switzerland the fruit is entire as well.

  6. I love this idea. And lovely to have it sitting there – a still life for your senses.

  7. Looks fantastic – I’m sure the taste is just as nice 🙂

  8. singleinacollegetown

    Reblogged this on singleinacollegetown and commented:
    This sounds like a fantastic autumn project. This and mittens. Bring it Fall, I’m ready.

  9. Still dreaming of that sloe gin but here’s one I can do! Love pears – I remember a pear liqueur from a long, long time ago.

  10. That looks FANTASTIC! Also, I love Diana Henry’s writing. Not very good at waiting though…

    • I know what you mean – it’s a very unfussy style that makes you think that all manner of recipes are fairly easy to have a go at. I’ve now got a collection of about 30 jars of jam and 4 litres of fruit in spirits in my kitchen…maybe time to move on to pickles instead!

  11. Far out, you are a patient man Russell! I recently cured my own olives, that took three months and I endured several disgusting taste tests due to my impatience! I can imagine that the reward for your waiting will be great in this instance though. The liqueur already looks amazing (so jealous that you’ve made sloe gin! It’s one of my favourites!)

    • I tell you, it’s not easy. The trick is putting the bottles completely out of sight so that you forget them. If you’re missing sloes (I see you’re in Austrialia) then you can get pretty close if you’ve got dark plums (damsons are great). I’ve actually got the two of them this year, so will be good to compare them. If you want to try something similar but have no patience, go for a spiced vodka – I’ve done one with cinnamon, and it’s done in a week. You’ll get good flavours that beat anything you can buy. I think star anise and cardamom will also be excellent to provide a bit of winter warmth!

  12. Pingback: Fruit Infused Liquors | feasting with friends

  13. Angela

    I know this recipe was posted a few years ago, but I am interested in making this. Was it worth it? Do you have any suggestions?

    • Hi Angela – oh dear, I don’t seem to be very good at keeping up with comments! But this recipe really is worth it. It is easy and the results are delicious. I now make it every year, and it’s part of our Christmas.

  14. Please let me know how this turned out and if you have made any changes to the recipe. I’m wanting to try to make Pear Liqueur. Thanks!!

    • Hi – glad you asked, it was AMAZING!!! At first the pear sinks, and it looks a bit shrivelled in the alcohol. Then when you add the sugar, the pear floats to the top! Eventually it taken on a golden colour, and the flavour is really delicious and aromatic. It’s lovely as a little after dinner digestif, or even added to sparking wine as a twist on a kir royale. I’ve also used it in baking when I want a pear flavour, so adding a few spoonfuls to sugar syrup to moisten a sponge, or when making a glaze for a cake. It’s super easy, and the result is far better than it should be given how little effort goes into it. Do try!

  15. Nathalie

    Can I make this with gin instead of vodka

    • Hi Nathalie – sorry for the late reply, but yes, you could make this with gin. The flavour will be a bit different, so you might want to play around with the spices. Good luck!

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