The arrival of winter here in the Northern Hemisphere elicits the desire in me to curl up by the fire, drape myself in the warmth of a fuzzy blanket, and indulge in a hot beverage. Although these are the things that make winter my favorite season, the crispness in the air and chill that permeates draw me in, inspiring me to embrace the invigorating feeling that a winter wind instills.
After a long day hitting the slopes or enjoying a few laps around the ice skating rink, I long for a drink that refreshes my spirit, just as Mother Nature and her cool touch do. When the feeling strikes, I reach for something I like to call an Apple and Pear Snow Drop—a concoction that incorporates the signature flavors of the season with a fizz that mimics the tingle of an icy breeze.
The sweet notes of apple and pear work in harmony to undercut the bitter tones of vodka, while pomegranate juice and lemon come together to add a tart zip to the cocktail. Ginger beer brings an effervescent finish, tickling the nose just as frosty air does. Topping off the Snow Drop is a cinnamon stick or anise seed garnish, contributing a subtle taste of traditional holiday baking spices. If creating my own infused vodka for this lovely libation, I set aside a few days for the process. If not, substituting a flavored vodka is just as delicious and saves on time.
Whether in search of an après-ski refresher or a holiday party pleaser, this infused apéritif might just be exactly what you’re looking for. So grab your shaker, get to mixing, and spend the rest of your evening watching the winter night drift by while you warm by the fire.
Apple and Pear Infused Vodka
1 qt vodka
1 apple, peeled and sliced
1 pear, peeled and sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean, split open lengthwise
1–2 star anise seeds (optional)
Note: 6–8 days to infuse
2 oz pear and apple infused vodka (recipe above) or favorite flavored vodka
3 oz pear juice
1 oz pomegranate juice
½ oz maple syrup or honey
½ oz fresh lemon juice
Ginger beer, as needed
Time: 5 min
1 Add ingredients for the apple and pear infused vodka to a large glass jar or pitcher. Pour vodka over top, stir, and seal. Let sit on a cool, dark countertop for 3–4 days.
2 After this time, remove cinnamon and vanilla bean, then seal again and infuse for another 3–4 days.
3 Strain the vodka through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth multiple times to remove as much apple/pear residue as possible. Then, return to a clean glass jar, seal, and store in the refrigerator.
4 Add all ingredients except ginger beer to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for about 10–15 seconds.
5 Pour into a cocktail glass with a large ice cube and top off with ginger beer.
Optional: Garnish with fresh apple and pear slices, a cinnamon stick, anise seeds, or all of the above.