What really takes the drink to the next level is the infusion of rosemary, ginger, and nutmeg. After the initial sweetness of the soda, traces of these herbs and spices linger on the tongue and throat – not so much as distinct seasonings but just a mellow warmth. I think it would make a lovely, non-alcoholic option for a cocktail party.
Asian Pear Sparkler
Makes about 6 drinks
1 cup freshly pressed Asian pear juice*
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cups honey
1/4 cup sugar
1 (4-inch) sprig fresh rosemary
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into coins
Small grating of fresh nutmeg
Combine pear juice, lemon juice, honey, sugar, rosemary, ginger, and nutmeg in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat for 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve the sugars.
Remove from heat and let stand 30 minutes. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh strainer and discard the solids. Let syrup cool completely.
To serve, fill an 8-ounce glass halfway with ice cubes, add 3 tablespoons of syrup, fill with soda water, and stir. Add more syrup for a sweeter or stronger flavor.
*Note: Use the most flavorful Asian pear you can find; Hosui is a consistently sweet variety. Making 1 cup of juice requires about 1 (12-ounce) pear, peeled and cored. If using a juicer, follow manufacturer's instructions to extract the juice and discard the pulp. If using blender or food processor, puree the pear until smooth, strain through a fine-mesh strainer, and discard the solids. If you wind up with a little less than 1 cup, top it off with water.