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“Pears” and Goat Cheese Pecan Egg Rolls

22-Feb-2007

 

Also posted today on The Spirit World

This is my 59th and final Happy Hour at Home post. While I still have a few days left here at The Spirit World, I will be leaving at the end of February and that means that next Wednesday will be my final column. I have had such a good time here and it is going to be very hard to leave but other hobbies and projects that have been put on the back burner are now demanding their share of attention. This has been a great 14+ months. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and mostly because of the response we’ve received from the community. I’ve been lucky to work with many knowledgeable writers and I’ve learned a ton as I hope you have, too.

 
Happy Hour at Home has been my baby since the very beginning. When I was approached to take on this role as editor and writer for The Spirit World and started doing my planning it was the first column that came to mind and I knew it would be mine. I love finely crafted cocktails and can appreciate them for the works of art they are. But, what I really like are the social aspects of the cocktail culture: that can be out and about in one of my favorite establishments here in Seattle where the bartenders know my name and I count them as friends; as a way to meet locals and find out about the area I’m visiting as I travel; or as a way to bring friends together in a relaxed and casual setting for an evening of discussion and laughter.
 
I don’t do nearly as much of the last part as I’d like – coordinating schedules of my busy circle of friends can sometimes be overwhelming – but when I do it is always rewarding. And, as you may have noticed through these columns, I am always ready and willing to do so! So I hope that you all have taken away something from this column and that you continue to enjoy Happy Hour at Home as often as possible.
 
And now (finally!) on to this week’s recipes…
 
Absolut has recently released a new flavored vodka Absolut Pears. Pear is hands down one of my favorite flavors. I love it in the fall when pears are at their peak but I also love it as a light, flavorful taste as we head into spring and even summer. I find the flavor of pear refreshing. So I have been looking forward to trying this new pear-flavored vodka.
 
As with the other Absolut flavored vodkas this spirit is first and foremost a vodka with the flavor playing more of a supporting role. So when trying it straight you experience that strong vodka hit, followed by a shadow of pear flavor. In my mind, this is what makes these vodkas perfect for mixing. They are not too sweet and the flavors tend to enhance not overpower. Since this is a new product Absolut has not only been advertising it heavily but also promoting cocktails that use the new liquor. I recently received an email with Pears as the focus. It listed ten cocktails available on their site. I think there are more though as when I visited my local liquor store to pick up a bottle they had a sheet of recipes (provided by Absolut, I’m sure) with an even two dozen cocktail recipes!
 
I decided to try two of them. And I’m very happy I did! Here are the two I tried with the original Absolut recipe and my slight modifications based on preference or what I had on hand.

ABSOLUT XP

  • 2 parts ABSOLUT PEARS
  • 1 part Brandy, Pear Flavored Liqueur
  • Cream
  • Cinnamon

Shake with ice and strain into a shot glass. Gently apply whipped cream on top. Top with regular cinnamon.

For the Pear Liqueur I used my Aqua Perfecta from St George Spirits. This is such a gorgeous, lovely pear liqueur that the drink had to be good!
 
I did not use cream as that seems absurd to me but I did use a little bit of freshly ground cinnamon to top the drink. This little shot packed a punch yet was light and flavorful.
 
While testing I had blue cheese on crackers and that classic blue cheese and pear combination is always a hit!
 
My second test was also based on a classic combination – pears and hazelnuts.

ABSOLUT CHOCOLATE PEARS

  • 1 part ABSOLUT PEARS
  • 1 part Chocolate Liqueur
  • 1 part Cream Hazelnut Liqueur
  • Chocolate

Add all ingredients to a Boston shaker with ice. Shake hard and strain into a chilled martini glass. Sprinkle a pinch of dark chocolate flakes on the surface of the drink in the center.

I used white Creme de Cacao and Frangelico for the chocolate liqueur and cream hazelnut liqueur. I shaved a little bit of Callebaut bittersweet chocolate over the top of the cocktail. This drink was heavenly! It would certainly make a nice dessert but actually was not so sweet that it couldn’t be used at cocktail hour. The classic combinations are classic for a reason!

I continued with my blue cheese and cracker snacks with this cocktail but I have an even better idea for the weekend!

 
I recently came across a newish food blog, Eddybles. On that blog I found a recipe for Goat Cheese Pecan Egg Rolls that sound delicious! Not only do they sound great, but the post contains step-by-step instructions with photos for you to follow. How great is that?
 
So pick yourself up a bottle of Absolut Pears, pick out a cocktail recipe or two based on this new liquor and then make up a batch of the eggrolls. As you sit down to enjoy your Happy Hour at Home, lift your glass in a toast as I’ll be wishing you, Salut!

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