Ginger and pears are a classic wintry duo, and here they become the base for a delicious sparkling punch. “The pears, baking spices and malted Ransom Old Tom gin make the punch feel festive and indulgent, while the sparkling wine adds brightness and keeps it from being too heavy,” says Anne Carlson. “The smell of the roasting pears alone puts me in the mood to have a party.”
6 oz. roasted pear purée
6 oz. Old Tom Gin
6 oz. ginger liqueur (such as King’s Ginger)
6 oz. Cognac
3 oz. fresh lemon juice
18 oz. prosecco (use a dry, fruity one)
Ice block (frozen in a 1-qt. container)
Glass: punch or coupe
Garnish: lemon wheels, pear slices and star anise
Combine all ingredients except prosecco in a pitcher and chill for several hours. When ready to serve, place ice block in a punch bowl and pour chilled mixture over. Top with chilled prosecco, float garnishes and serve immediately.
Roasted pear purée: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Peel, halve and core 5 ripe pears (Carlson uses Bartlett and Anjou, but any variety will work as long as they’re ripe). Arrange in a roasting pan with 4 tablespoons of demerara sugar, 4 ounces of brandy or Cognac, 6 cinnamon sticks, 8 star anise and 12 cloves. Cut 1 vanilla bean lengthwise; scrape out the seeds and add them to the roasting pan along with the pod. Roast for 30 minutes. Remove the spices and vanilla bean pod, then purée the pears and liquid in a blender or food processor.
Makes approximately 8 servings.
Anne Carlson for In Fine Spirits Lounge, Chicago