Adventures in Booze: Pear Ginger Vodka

Glass jar full of sliced ginger and pears, filled with vodka Two bottles of Finished Pear and Ginger Vodka

This project predates my stated inspiration of the Adventures in Booze series, but only by a few days and was informed by my reading. We visited Onegin in NYC in June (warning: Flash heavy restaurant website. *sigh*) at recommendation of our hotel. The food was fantastic. We also decided to start out dinner with some of the house infused vodkas. I had the pear ginger vodka which was just fantastic.

I figured that it was probably something I could do myself at home. The internet agreed with me so I decided to give it a go. You can see my starting point in the first picture above. Basically I took 2 Asian pears, cored and sliced, and a couple of inches of ginger, peeled and sliced, and layered them in a jar. I left the skins on the pears since I figured, like apples, that’s where the most flavor is. Then I topped it all with a mid-range vodka and stuck it in the cupboard. A lot of the recipes I found online also called for adding a crapton of sugar. I left it out because I’m trying to cut down on extra sugar (she says, embarking on an alcohol-based drinking project) and I thought it might make it more versatile without the extra sugar. Also, Jason and I have different sweet levels we like and I wanted something both of us would enjoy.

I let it steep for about a week, maybe 10 days. I stirred it every couple of days to move the browning fruit around and to check the taste. At first the ginger was first and foremost. A bit of a ginger smack to the face. But then it settled down and the pear made itself known.

In the finished product, there’s a nice level of both flavors. Since I didn’t add any sugar, the sweetness is all from the fruit and is nicely light. I find it sweet enough to enjoy by itself over ice and Jason doesn’t find it overly sweet at all. “Pleasantly fruity” he says. I find both flavors to be subtle and I don’t think I’d want to mix it with anything because the tastes that you spend so long coaxing out would get lost.

I think the next time I make this I’m going to try it with different pears. Especially if I can find some really ripe ones, perhaps from a local orchard. I’m not actually sure if we have any around here. Lots of apples and peaches, but no idea on pears. Anyway, I think something riper and more flavorful would be better than the Asian pears I picked up. But it may also have to wait until I have jar space again…

Cool Links for June 17th

Things to Eat: Daylily Buds

So daylilies are invasive and beautiful and at least around here, incredibly prolific. Did you know they’re also edible? You can eat the shoots, tubers, buds, and flowers. Evidently dried flowers are used in some Chinese recipes as “golden needles”, and they can be used to thicken soups and gravies. We have an abundance of them here at the Manor, because as it turns out they are perfectly willing to spread from seed if you don’t deadhead the buggers.

Hidden Rivers: a film series about the vibrant waters of Southern Appalachia

The video below gives you a preview of the film they’re making about the rivers of the southeastern USA. Beautiful fish there, like you wouldn’t believe live in our waters. The link goes to an Indigogo Campaign, raising money for the next few days! Kick in a few if you can. It’s lovely.

The rivers and streams of the Southern Appalachia are among the most diverse ecosystems in North America, and host globally unique groups of fish, amphibians, crayfish, mussels, and more… most of them virtually unseen and unknown to most Americans. As aquatic documentarians, we see in these waters an opportunity to expose the intricate beauty of what river ecosystems are, and what is ultimately worth protecting in a region that has seen some of America’s worst environmental disasters. Our goal is to create a collection of media that can build more public awareness for the value of these waters, and a greater sense of pride and protection for their beauty.

12 Old Words that Survived by Getting Fossilized in Idioms

English has changed a lot in the last several hundred years, and there are many words once used that we would no longer recognize today. For whatever reason, we started pronouncing them differently, or stopped using them entirely, and they became obsolete. There are some old words, however, that are nearly obsolete, but we still recognize because they were lucky enough to get stuck in set phrases that have lasted across the centuries. Here are 12 lucky words that survived by getting fossilized in idioms.