Many months ago, we bought a bottle of pear brandy to make a pear clafouti, which turned out to be a disappointment (unlike this berry one, which Faith highly recommends). The brandy sat in a cupboard, forgotten, until we pulled it out to make a version of Nora's Thanksgiving Poinsettia cocktail. Now we're newly addicted to this stuff, and we've got more info, including the origin of this picture and how they got the pear inside the bottle, below...
You're likely to see pear brandy sold as Poire William, since the pears distilled to make the brandy are called Williams' Bon Chétien in France and much of the world (here, they're known as Bartlett).
Authentic Poire William is made in Alsace or in Switzerland, but Clear Creek Distillery in Portland, Oregon also makes a pear brandy that's gotten rave reviews in a few publications. We found the above photo when browsing on Flickr, but turns out it's from Maggie Mason, who writes the Mighty Girl, Mighty Junior, Mighty Haus, and Mighty Goods blogs.
So, how did the fully-formed pear get inside the bottle? Companies actually place a bottle over a tiny bud of the immature fruit, then allow it to grow in the bottle. We're having a hard time imagining the sight of this, but it makes for a cool presentation (and a more expensive product, naturally).
You can sip a good pear brandy straight from the glass, but since ours wasn't super high-quality, we mixed it with champagne and a tiny splash of cranberry juice for color. It was delicious–and next time, we'll probably skip the cranberry juice. We're also thinking of flavoring ice cream with it or adding it to sautéed pears for dessert.
We've got a good recipe we want to try, which we'll show you tomorrow. Anyone else have a favorite use for pear brandy?
Related: Quick and Easy Thanksgiving Cocktail: The Poinsettia
(Image: Flickr member Maggie Mason, licensed for use under Creative Commons)