We recently blogged about champagne cocktails: how there were no simple things when it comes to crafting that perfect party beverage. It’s true. Even for a simple champagne cocktail — just bitters and sugar cubes and champagne — there is a certain style and technique.

Champagne cocktails come in three styles: the sugar cube and bitters quick ones, the alcohol heavy hitters where it’s half brandy [or the like] and half champagne, then there are the sublime and sophisticated cocktails. How do you know if it’s sublime and sophisticated? Your drinkers will stop, look at you, and say, “This is wonderful. What is it?”

Kim Haasarud’s wonderful 101 Champagne Cocktails has ideas in all three styles. Brian and I are working our way through each one. Seriously, Brian has an Excel spreadsheet with all 101 listed and organized by style and flavor and …  He’s a little obsessive at times.

Kim has several cocktails with one of our favorite flavors: pear. Pears are those wonderfully delicate fruits that perish in an instant. Kim’s recipe calls for homemade pear puree, which will last for several days in your refrigerator.

We’ve tried four separate pear-based champagne cocktails from 101, we like them all, but this one is the very best. Besides that homemade pear puree, the recipe calls for rum syrup. Yes, there’s some bartending homework involved here, but one sip, just one, and you’ll be so glad you devoted that effort.

This beverage is sophisticated. No dominate flavor, just a whirl of sensation on your palette. And it is sublime, a taste treat. With New Year’s Eve approaching, this would be a very interesting welcome to the New Year.

Oscar 78

Yield: 1 drink

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon pear puree
  • 1 ½ ounces pear liqueur
  • 1 ounce rum syrup
  • ½ ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ½ ounces premium vodka
  • 1 ounce champagne
  • 1 thin slice of pear for garnish

Preparation:

In a cocktail shaker, combine the puree, syrup, lemon juice, and vodka with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass. Top off with champagne. Garnish with a thin slice of pear.

Tasting Notes:

We used a premium citrus vodka and enjoyed the extra little flavor bite it added.

Pear Puree:

Core and slice 4 pears. Sauté in a small pan with 4 tablespoons [or more if you prefer and are heavy handed] of simple syrup until the pears are softened. Add 1 ½ ounces of pear liqueur and stir for another minute. Remove from the heat and let cool. Purée in a blender until smooth and set aside.

Rum Syrup:

Combine 1 part dark rum and 1 part sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is translucent. Let cool and set aside.

Use dark rum, not light. You need the spicy tones of the dark rum. Heat only until the sugar dissolves; do not boil. If you boil, you’ll get a thicker syrup that will not mix as well in the cocktail shaker.

Source: 101 Champagne Cocktails by Kim Haasarud.