The Tahona Smash ©Paul Wagtouicz.
If fall fruits were superheroes, pears would be Robin to Batman-like apples: terrific, but occasionally left behind. But this season bartenders are spotlighting the sweet, fragrant fruit in cocktails made with a range of spirits from brandy to vodka.
Pouring Ribbons in New York’s East Village (where power was recently restored post-Hurricane Sandy) opts for tequila. The bar is the latest endeavor from Alchemy Consulting, a fantastic collaboration between mixologists Joaquín Simó, Toby Maloney, Jason Cott and Troy Sidle. Before opening their own project, the group designed the cocktail programs at some of the country’s top bars, including The Violet Hour in Chicago and Nashville’s Patterson House.
Sidle created Pouring Ribbons’ pear-centric offering: the Tahona Smash, with oak-aged añejo tequila, caramelized pears and dry Lustau amontillado sherry. “The caramelized pear offers that very familiar, very pie-like flavor,” Sidle says. First, he muddles a small amount of unpeeled lemon in a shaker, which gives the cocktail brightness. “All we’re doing is putting back the acidity you would get from a fresh pear,” Sidle explains. Then he adds the syrup from the caramelized pears, plus the tequila and sherry. “The sherry has a funky, weird character,” he says. “It’s there to connect the dots between the cooked pear and the very pungent, herbaceous tequila.” He shakes the combination over ice and strains it into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. A dash of Angostura bitters, incorporating aromatics like cloves and nutmeg, rounds out the drink’s autumnal flavors.