In­fused gin can make a good gift

You can do it your­self with just a few in­gre­di­ents.

Austin American-Statesman - - FOOD MATTERS - By Em­majanzen ejanzen@states­man.com SPICED PEAR GIN FROM LUCY BAKER’S BOOK 3 large, juicy, ripe Bartlett pears, chopped (about 4 cups) 4 cups gin 2 cups sim­ple syrup 1 cin­na­mon stick 2 tea­spoons whole cardamom pods 3 whole star anise (op­tional) CON­TRIB­UTE

One thing I love about this time of year is coming up with thought­ful gifts for friends and fam­ily mem­bers.

The hol­i­day sea­son is one of the busiest times of the year for ev­ery­one, so mak­ing the time to hand­craft a gift is a great way to ex­press how much you really care for the re­cip­i­ent.

Our food writer, Ad­die Broyles, alerted me to this de­light­ful sound­ing recipe for a batch of spiced pear gin from the book “Ed­i­ble DIY: Sim­ple, Giftable Recipes to Sa­vor and Share,” by Lucy Baker.

The book lists recipes for an ar­ray of great makeit-your­self foodie gifts, and in­cludes an en­tire chap­ter on boozy treats.

Most of the recipes are in­fused spir­its like sweet tea vodka and ap­ple­spiced bour­bon, and there are in­struc­tions for how to cre­ate liqueurs such as gin­ger liqueur and limon­cello. The Spiced Pear Gin caught our at­ten­tion be­cause while gin isn’t typ­i­cally a go-to base spirit for win­ter drinks, this one really cel­e­brates the fla­vors of the sea­son with the com­bi­na­tion of pear and warm bak­ing spices.

This par­tic­u­lar recipe takes a few weeks to mar­i­nate, so it won’t quite be ready in time for Christ­mas or New Year’s

In the late fall, when pears come into sea­son, I al­ways buy a whole bunch of firm ones for our kitchen fruit bowl. Then I check them ob­ses­sively and im­pa­tiently each day un­til they are soft and juicy and per­fect for eat­ing. To me, a per­fectly ripe pear is a sym­bol of the har­vest sea­son — plump, sweet, and com­fort­ing. This gin makes a won­der­ful gift for Thanks­giv­ing, Christ­mas or Hanukkah. The gin­gery fla­vor of cardamom is a nat­u­ral match for pears, but if you don’t have any, you could sub­sti­tute half a vanilla bean. For a fes­tive drink, pour two ta­ble­spoons of Spiced Pear Gin into a Cham­pagne flute and top with sparkling wine. Eve.

Un­less you’re like me, in which case you might feel com­fort­able tak­ing cer­tain lib­er­ties with the recipe.

In this case, I’d likely in­fuse all of the in­gre­di­ents at once if I were Com­bine the pears, any ac­cu­mu­lated juices, and gin in a large glass con­tainer with a tight-fit­ting lid. Put the con­tainer in a cool, dry, dark place (like the back of a closet) and let it rest for 2 weeks, shak­ing once af­ter 1 week. Add the sim­ple syrup, cin­na­mon stick, cardamom pods, and star anise (if us­ing) and let it rest for 2 more weeks. Line a fine mesh sieve lined with cheese­cloth. Pour the liqueur through the sieve and into a large pitcher. Dis­card any solids. Trans­fer the liqueur to 1 large or sev­eral small bot­tles. It will keep for a year in a cool, dark place. Makes about 6 cups. un­der a tight gift-giv­ing dead­line. If not, this is a good one to tuck away for next year’s hol­i­day sea­son. ac­tors di­al­ing down their per­sonae to squeeze them into an econo-box of a car.

“Guilt Trip” is ev­ery­thing you’d ex­pect in a mother-son road trip com­edy star­ring the pro­fane and pot-friendly Ro­gen and the wiz­ened, smart-mouthed diva Streisand. And less.

Spiced Pear Gin can make a great hol­i­day gift.

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