Here's the thing. I'm a HUGE pear fan. Bartlett, Asian, Bosc, you name it - I've tried and loved them all. So naturally, when I daydream about my next happy hour adventure, finding a way to incorporate one of my favorite cool-weather fruits is often top of mind these days.
This brings me to our lovely drink at hand - the Pear Brandy Sour! Made with two types of pear spirits and a rich demerara simple syrup, this is a winter cocktail you won’t want to miss.
⭐ Why You’ll Love This Recipe
While I love living in Los Angeles, the current state of things makes it a little tougher to get out and enjoy a night of cocktails on the town. Luckily, there’s a simple solution: bring happy hour home!
Not only is it less expensive - buying the ingredients costs about as much as going out for a few drinks, but you have enough to make 10x or more of what you would pay for at the bar! - but you also have full control over the company, the lighting, and the music, not to mention that extra perk of getting to wear slippers while you’re being fancy.
If you’re a novice bartender, don’t fret - the sour style of cocktail is about as easy as it gets! If you’ve ever had a Gimlet or a Whiskey Sour, then you’re already familiar with the concept.
Pears and lemons pair (HA!) beautifully, so I opted for fresh lemon juice. And instead of regular ol’ simple syrup, I opted to use the more complexly flavored demerara sugar to give the cocktail a bit of extra oomph.
Finally, I like to use an egg white in my sours (remember my Blood Orange Pisco Sour?) to give that lovely, foamy head that looks so pretty in the glass. Feel free to use a carton of egg whites if you don’t want to go to the trouble of separating eggs. Or, separate them and use the yolks to make something gorgeous to serve on the side (perhaps my Passionfruit Macarons?).
Once you make these easy and delicious Pear Brandy Sour cocktails, I have a feeling you’re going to embrace the concept of happy hour at home with open arms!
When it comes to recipes that have a short ingredient list, it is extra important to reach for the highest quality items you can find.
- Pear Brandy & Pear Liqueur - When I was living in San Francisco, I fell in love with St. George distillery. While any brand of these spirits will do, I highly recommend this brand. As a bonus, it is available nationwide.
- Lemon Juice Freshly squeezed lemon juice is key! Prefer bottled juice? I would advise taste testing bottled lemon juice next to freshly squeezed. The difference is sure to shock your taste buds! Freshly squeezed lemon juice is more naturally acidic, bright, and flavorful.
- Demerara Sugar - If you don’t have demerara sugar in your pantry, don’t fret. You can easily make simple syrup with plain granulated sugar, brown sugar, or turbinado sugar instead. I happen to prefer the rich, caramel undertones that demerara offers and love using it for both this simple syrup as well as a finishing sugar. Food science lovers, unite! Here is an excellent article on 11 different types of sugar and their various uses in the kitchen.
- Egg White - Adding eggs to your cocktail might sound strange, but egg whites have a lot of protein without adding a lot of flavor. This is not a health pitch here; the protein actually helps to trap air and will change the texture of your cocktail to give a more viscous, frothy mouthfeel. If you don’t want to separate your eggs, buying the type of egg whites that come in a carton is an easy solution.
- Ice - This might sound silly, but make sure your ice is made with filtered water for the best (read: cleanest) possible taste.
One of the things I love best about sour cocktails is that you don’t need a lot of equipment to make them. Simply gather:
- Cocktail Shaker With Lid - This Pear Brandy Sour is one that must be shaken, not stirred. Make sure your cocktail shaker lid fits tightly to avoid any big spills.
- Cocktail Strainer - While some extremely small pieces of ice in the cocktail may give ab bit of texture, you are going to want to hold any larger pieces back. Cocktail strainers are the best piece of equipment around for making sure only the shaken cocktail ingredients filter through.
- Lovely Cocktail Glasses - Happy hour at home may not seem as special as a night on the town, but I guarantee that’ll change when you up your glass game. I’m partial to a coupe glass whenever it comes to sour cocktails, but you could easily get even fancier with a specific sour glass, also known as a Delmonico glass. Bonus points if you have some beautiful embroidered cocktail napkins to serve your professional-looking beverages with!
📖 Step by Step Instructions
Ready to feel like a pro? This simple Pear Brandy Cocktail is about to blow your mind.
- In a shaker, combine all ingredients and shake without ice for 30 seconds.
- Then, add ice and shake for an additional 30 seconds.
- Strain into a glass getting rid of the broken ice chips and serve. Cheers to you!
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
- Shake vigorously, especially when you add the ice! Shaking cocktails with ice not only acts to mix the ingredients together, but also simultaneously chills and aerates them. Think of it like this - shaking a cocktail is akin to creaming butter and sugar; don’t rush the process and you’ll end up with a better, tastier result.
- Make the demerara simple syrup ahead of time. Making simple syrup couldn’t be easier - just simmer equal parts of sugar and water until blended. However, cooling simple syrup takes a bit of time. Do yourself a favor and make the syrup an hour before cocktail hour to give it time to chill out in the fridge. For more info on infusing simple syrups with flavors, check out my guide here!
- For a warm, autumnal twist on the classic cocktail, consider replacing white sugar with maple syrup or demerara syrup in your pear brandy sour. These syrups lend a rich depth and embrace seasonal flavors, enhancing the pear's natural sweetness.
- While the original recipe might call for a specific citrus juice, don't be afraid to experiment! A blend of lime juice, orange juice, and a touch of grapefruit juice can add a more complex citrus profile to your pear brandy sour, making it a delicious cocktail standout at any fall gathering.
- If you're looking to elevate the presentation and aroma of your drink, garnish with an orange peel and lemon twist. Not only does it make for a beautiful contrast, but the essential oils released add another layer to the drink's aromatic experience.
💭 Recipe FAQs
Absolutely! Simply swap in about 2 tablespoons of aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas) for the egg white, and you should end up with the same beautifully foamed top.
Nope! Pear brandy is actually a spirit that is derived from distilling actual pears and is sometimes sold as eau de vie du poire (literally “pear life water”), whereas pear liqueur is a neutral spirit that is flavored with the essence of pears.
Unfortunately, shaken drinks aren’t really cut out for turning into pitcher beverages. They should be imbibed shortly after shaking for the best texture.
Absolutely! Feel free to use regular brandy, cognac, or whiskey. If you opt for any of these, you can boost the pear flavor by adding a splash of pear nectar or the syrup or juice from a can of pears. You can also try swapping in a 50/50 split of vodka and elderflower liqueur for a different, lighter take.
Rye whiskey or bourbon whiskey can be a great addition to impart a robust flavor profile. If using, consider adding aromatic bitters, like dashes of Angostura bitters, to balance the sweetness and introduce a warm, spiced undertone to your pear brandy sour.
More Happy Hour Recipes
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Pear Brandy Sour
- Glass for serving
- 2 oz Pear Brandy
- 2 oz Pear Liqueur
- ¾ oz Lemon Juice
- ½ oz Simple Syrup, made with Demerara Sugar or you can use regular simple syrup
- 1 Egg White
- In a shaker, combine all ingredients and shake without ice for 30 seconds.2 oz Pear Brandy, 2 oz Pear Liqueur, ¾ oz Lemon Juice, ½ oz Simple Syrup, 1 Egg White
- Then, add ice and shake for an additional 30 seconds.Ice
- Strain into a glass getting rid of the broken ice chips and serve!