La Perla is an elegant aperitif created by bartender Jacques Bezuidenhout. In it, tequila and manzanilla sherry combine with pear liqueur for a bright and vivid cocktail that may become your new favorite aperitif. “I've always loved tequila, I’ve always loved sherry, and it was a natural thing for me to combine the two,” Bezuidenhout says. “Add a little bit of pear liqueur and you have this wonderfully dry apertivo-style drink.”
For La Perla you’ll want to use a reposado tequila. That is a tequila that is briefly aged—more than two months, but less than a year. Bezuidenhout uses Partida reposado tequila in his recipe, a moderately priced and well-respected tequila, but feel free to use whatever reposado you prefer. Just remember: Only use 100% agave tequila, as Bezuidenhout cautions.
The sherry element of the drink is relatively flexible. Though Bezuidenhout uses Domecq manzanilla sherry in his version of the recipe, it’s acceptable to substitute any other manzanilla. Also acceptable is the use of a fino sherry, which is nearly identical to manzanilla; manzanilla is made with the same process as fino but aged in a particular area along the coast. These delicate but assertive fortified Spanish wines are a great fit in cocktails, pairing nicely with most spirits. The one-to-one ratio of tequila and sherry in La Perla means the drink will be smooth and bold without being overly intoxicating.
The third aspect of the drink is the pear liqueur, which sweetens La Perla and adds fruit notes, creating a nuanced and balanced concoction. Bezuidenhout uses Mathilde pear liqueur, from Maison Ferrand, in his La Perla. However, as with most ingredients these days, there are alternatives—France’s Drillaud, Austria’s Rothman & Winter and Oregon’s Clear Creek Distillery each make stellar examples of pear liqueur.
Though La Perla was conceived of as pre-dinner libation, it can also be a pleasant nightcap. A cocktail that’s as easy to make as it is to drink, it’s a lovely option for entertaining or for quiet nights at home.
Watch Now: How to Make a La Perla
- 1 1/2 ounces Partida reposado tequila
- 1 1/2 ounces Domecq manzanilla sherry
- 3/4 ounce Mathilde pear liqueur
- Garnish: lemon twist
Add the reposado tequila, sherry and pear liqueur into a mixing glass filled with ice and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with a lemon twist.