Without a doubt, fall is my favorite season for food. It may seem counter intuitive, what with the delicate flavors of spring, and the glorious produce of summer… but there is no other season that has the same punch of flavor that fall does.
While fresh herbs are still lingering on from summer, things like squash and root vegetables are at their peak, which means big bowls of butternut squash soup with sage and plates piled high with fresh autumn salads. Not to mention all the warm spices that come with fall cooking. By mid October, all I can think about are cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and nutmeg.
Then there’s the fruit. Goodbye strawberries and peaches (until we meat again), hello apples, pomegranates, and pears. Sure, you might find these in the produce section year-round, but fall is when they really shine. And oh, how they shine…
Of all the things fall has to offer, I think pears are one of the most underrated. While pumpkins and apples get all the glory, I like to think pears deserve to be celebrated, too. And so, I’d like to propose a toast. To pears! And also, to something else that is close to my heart, and deserves a little celebration…
The release of The Casual Veggie Cookbook (featuring recipes from your truly), which is officially available for download starting TODAY!
If you read my previous post, then you know how excited I am to share this with you. This isn’t just any cookbook… and no, I’m not just saying that because I’m in it. It is a collaboration of nearly 50 food bloggers, coming together to share over 150 of our favorite recipes, as well as tips for buying, storing, and prepping 29 of the most common veggies. This isn’t a diet-specific book (the recipes range from vegan to paleo, and everything in between), but rather, a resource to help inspire better eating, and provide answers to that age old question, “what the heck am I going to do with the second half of this butternut squash?” (Don’t worry, we’ve all been there!)
I can honestly say, I wish I had a cookbook like this when I was learning to cook. In fact, even now, there’s plenty I can learn from it!
You can find out more about the book here, or by going to the “Cookbook” tab at the top of the page. And if you’re interested in getting a copy, you can click here to go straight to where you can download it. (Bonus info: for every copy of the book sold through my site, a percentage of the proceeds go towards supporting my blog. So basically, if you buy a copy of the book, you will literally be putting food on my table and on the blog. Uh, yeah… If you do, please let me know so I can say THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU and give you a big sloppy internet hug, okay?!)
To celebrate the release of the book, and all the hard work that’s gone into it, a bunch of us contributors are putting on a launch party potluck. I’m on cocktail duty, and this Sparkling Pear and Ginger number is my drink of choice. I’m going to get on with the recipe here, but don’t forget to check out all the other recipes being shared in the potluck at the end of this post, just below the recipe for this cocktail.
Now, let’s talk liquor, shall we?
This cocktail spawned from my love of three things: pears, ginger, and this Sage liquor from a company called Art in the Age. I have been coveting their organic, small batch spirits for over a year now, wanting all the while to share a recipe with you, but never quite finding the time. Then as I found myself playing with the idea of a pear and ginger cocktail (two of my favorite fall flavors), all I could think about was how to add just a little something special to the mix.
All of the Art in the Age spirits (there are four that I’ve tried) have huge depth of flavor, which are great for sipping on their own, or mixing to create totally new, unique cocktails. This particular one has more than 15 organic ingredients, including sage, black tea, orange peel, rosemary, thyme, and fennel. The flavor is herbaceous and complex, but not overpowering, which was exactly what I wanted for this drink.
If you can’t find this particular alcohol, you could probably get by steeping sage, rosemary, or other herbs in a small jar of vodka for several hours before making this drink (experiment with steep time to achieve the level of flavor that’s right for you). You can also leave out the booze all together, for a fun twist on ginger ale. If you do have the chance to get your hands on some Sage Art in the Age, though, I definitely recommend giving it a try!
- For two cocktails:
- 3 oz. pear nectar
- 2 oz. Sage liquor (from Art In The Age)
- ½ oz. ginger syrup (recipe below)
- ½ oz. fresh lemon juice
- Ginger ale or sparkling water, to taste
- Slices of pear, for garnish
- For the Ginger Syrup (makes about 2½ cups):
- 1 cup roughly chopped fresh ginger (no need to peel it)
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups water
- 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
- For the ginger syrup:
- In a small saucepan, combine the ginger, sugar, and water. Place over high heat, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, and let steep for anywhere from 5-15 minutes, or until the syrup is as strong as you like it -- the longer it steeps, the stronger and spicier the ginger flavor will become.
- Stir in the lemon juice, then strain the mixture into a jar. Let cool, then refrigerate. Syrup can be kept for up to a month.
- For the cocktails:
- To a cocktail shaker with ice, add the pear nectar, sage liquor, ginger syrup, and lemon juice. Shake briskly, then strain over ice. Top off glasses with ginger ale, or sparkling water, to taste, and garnish with slices of fresh pear.
The ginger syrup is one of my favorites for mixing drinks both alcoholic and non. Try mixing it with this blackberry simple syrup (recipe here: http://www.willcookforfriends.com/2014/08/blackberry-soda-with-homemade-blackberry-syrup.html) gin, and lime juice, or just stir 2-3 oz into a glass of sparkling water for homemade ginger ale.
Grab your copy of The Casual Veggie Cookbook here, and check out all the other drink and appetizer recipes being shared by my fellow Casual Veggie bloggers via the links below! Cheers!
- Pumpkin Madelbrodt, from A Tasty Mess
- Pumpkin Apple Wontons, from Cooking Up Clean
- Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts, from Family for Health
- Pumpkin Kale Smoothie, from Fitful Focus
- Guacamole Deviled Eggs, via Hola Jalapeno
- Butternut Squash and Saurkraut Pizza with Fizzy Pumpkin Punch, from Mollie Parsley and Pumpkins (she’s the creative mastermind behind The Casual Veggie Cookbook)
- Paleo Pumpkin Hummus, from Primal Health with Jean
- Simple Spaghetti Squash Cakes, from Pumpkins and Peanutbutter
- Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms, from Real Simple Good
- Sweet Potato Casserole Muffins, via The Weekly Menu
- Veggie Pita Pizza Bites, from Toaster Oven Love
- Lemongrass Ginger Barley Tea, from Vermilion Roots
- Roasted Beetroot with Crisp Chickpeas, from Where is my Spoon?
This page contains an affiliate link, which means when you purchase a copy of the book, a portion of the proceeds go directly to supporting this site. Your support literally puts food on my table and on the blog, so THANK YOU!