What a morning. Coffee, photo and writing edits, leftover vegetable tempura sushi, and it’s not even 12:30 p.m. This is shaping up to be an epic Monday. Somewhere between the edits and sushi, I overheard Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing which immediately stuck and I’ve been in a dreamlike Dirty Dancing meets Sixteen Candles nostalgia trip ever since. The one where I’m stuck against my Mister’s cheek inside my old high school gym. Let’s get this over with. Sing with me (you know you want to).
Just a small town girl
living in a lonely world
She took the midnight train going anywhere
Just a city boy
born and raised in south Detroit
He took the midnight train going anywhere
Um, sorry about that. This Journey fix could be a subliminal layover from my last post or from my teenage years or maybe it’s my new power song.
I’m not sure what to say about that. Coffee, sushi, and the little post sushi vodka tasting may have had a strange affect on me. Let me tell you, this infused bottle is the kind of cocktail you can drink straight from the bottle. If you do that sort of thing, of course.
A few local ingredients inspired this infusion. I stopped at a farm stand last week and bought two quart-sized containers filled with crisp sweet Asian pears. After making a batch of blueberry bourbon to give away for holiday gifts (shsh, you didn’t hear anything…) I’ve had fruit flavored booze on my mind. Immediately, I thought of making ginger pear vodka using all local ingredients. Next I stopped at the co-op for locally grown ginger (that’s right, New England grown ginger from Old Friends Farm in Amherst) then a bottle of vodka from the liquor store.
As I mentioned before, flavored vodkas are a traditional part of the zakuski table and after eh hem sampling some earlier, I can’t think of a more fitting recipe for this month’s virtual party. The recipe couldn’t be simpler. Ripe pears, sugar, ginger root, vodka—prep the pears and ginger, put all the ingredients in a mason jar (somewhere cool and dark) with a lid for about a week. Taste. Strain the pears and ginger and store the vodka either back in that same cool dark place or in the freezer for up to 1 year. Go forth and infuse, but first find a new song to get stuck in your head.
D.I.Y. Ginger Pear Vodka
Yield one 750 ml bottle
6 very ripe pears (peeled, cored, and cut into chunks)
4-inch piece of fresh ginger root (peeled and thinly sliced)
1/2 cup natural cane sugar
1 (750 ml) bottle of quality vodka (you’ll mostly taste the pears, but I always find cheap vodka gives me headaches)
Place the pears, ginger, and sugar in a clean jar (like one 1/2 gallon or two quart-size mason jars with lids). Pour the vodka into the jar and stir. Set the jar in a cool dark place for 7 days. Gently rotate the jar daily to stir the ingredients together. Check for flavor after day 7. If you want a stronger ginger flavor, allow the vodka to cure for up to 14 days, rotating the jar daily.
When the vodka is to your liking, pour the vodka through a fine-mesh strainer, discarding the fruit. Pour the infused vodka back into its original vodka bottle or a clean jar (I like to use a large pourable measuring cup since I don’t have a small funnel). The infused vodka will keep for up to 1 year at room temperature or in the freezer as well. Serve the vodka chilled with ice and chunks of candied ginger.