When the weather gets cooler and the leaves turn vivid reds, oranges and yellows, many bartenders reach for darker spirits for their drinks, especially whiskey. But fall cocktails don’t have to be dark, bittersweet affairs. Spirits like gin can also capture autumnal flavors, especially when paired with fall produce like apples or pears. Bartender Chris Chamberlain exemplifies this with his drinks the Autumn Apple and the Perfect Pear, both of which use Bluecoat American Dry Gin from Pennsylvania.
The Perfect Pear sees a number of familiar combinations: gin and elderflower liqueur (most commonly St-Germain, though there are other brands) is a time-honored pairing, and Champagne is often found paired with both. With lemon juice adding tartness and fresh pear puree lending the autumnal notes and amplifying the fruitiness, it creates a bright, bubbly drink that still captures the feeling of the turning of the seasons.
As with any drink, there are substitutions you can make if you cannot find some of the ingredients. Bluecoat, for instance, isn’t available in all markets, and another gin can stand in for it if needed. Still, it’s not the same as a traditional London dry gin like Tanqueray or Beefeater. Other American dry gins, like Aviation American Gin from Portland, Oregon, California’s St. George Terroir Gin and Louisville’s Copper & Kings American Dry Gin are all closer approximations, with herbs like coriander and citrus notes.
Similarly, while Champagne is often called for in sparkling wine drinks like this, the single splash called for in the Perfect Pear makes it hard to justify popping the cork on a bottle of the world’s most famed sparkling wine. Instead, feel free to use an American sparkling wine (there are plenty of top-notch examples) or wines from other regions of the world that use the traditional method that Champagne is made with. You can even go with a bottle of prosecco or cava, though the brightness of those will affect the final product, so taste for balance before serving.
- 1 1/2 ounces Bluecoat American Dry gin
- 1/2 ounce St-Germain
- 3/4 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 3/4 ounce simple syrup
- 1 barspoon fresh pear puree
- Garnish: 1 pear slice
Add the gin, St-Germain, lemon juice, simple syrup and fresh pear puree to an ice-filled shaker and shake until chilled.
Double-strain into a coupe glass.
Top with a splash of Champagne and garnish with a fresh slice of pear.