609 Walnut Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 513.578.6660 Hours

Book a Table


12 Days of Cocktails: Spritzers With Sass

Posted on Monday, Dec. 15, 2014


Let’s play a game, I’m going to say a phrase and you blurt out the first three images that come to mind. Okay, ready?  White Wine Spritzer. That’s what I thought.  Before we whip out hate for the spritzer, I’d like to say in its defense that when done well, they are refreshing, delicious and can be a welcome addition to any holiday party. Apparently I’m all about the cocktail underdogs these days because I’m telling you, spritzers aren’t just for poolside enjoyment or sweet little ladies at lunch time. I’m a fan of this cocktail especially because it’s a welcome contrast to all the rich and heavy food that is usually served at holiday gatherings. To create a more seasonal cocktail, I’ve added spiced pear syrup to anchor it with some familiar winter flavor profiles.

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4 seckel pears (or 2 regular sized pears) peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon toasted coriander seeds
1 cinnamon stick

METHOD: In a medium sauce pan over medium high heat add sugar and water.  To toast coriander seeds, take a medium sauté pan and place over medium high heat. Place seeds in pan and stir constantly, toast until seeds become aromatic, being careful not to burn seeds. Once sugar has dissolved add pears, toasted coriander and cinnamon to sauce pan.  Bring up to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Strain syrup and stow in a covered container (like a mason jar) in the fridge.

GLASSWARE: White wine glass
GARNISH: Diced pears, or cranberry “ice” (use frozen cranberries in place of ice for a pop of color)

5 oz white wine (preferably Sauvignon Blanc)
1 1/2 oz spiced pear simple syrup
½ oz Benedictine (an herbal liqueur that is cognac based)
Soda water

Build drink in glass, add soda water last, and then ice.

PARTY TIP: To pre-batch this cocktail, pour all of the ingredients, except for the soda water into a large pot to mix all the ingredients together. If you’re using a whole 750ml bottle of wine that will be 25 ounces, so that would be 5 times the original recipe. So to the bottle of wine you would add 7.5 ounces of spiced pear simple syrup, and 2.5 ounces of Benedictine, mix ingredients with a whisk. Save empty wine bottles, rinse them out and you can pour your pre-batched cocktail mix back into the wine bottles.  Place a standard pour spout in the wine bottles that now have your mix , and when your party starts all you have to do is pour pre mixed cocktails into wine glasses, add soda water and ice. Make sure to add the ice last.

LIKE A VIRGIN:  Create a sparkling pear soda by swapping out the wine with white grape juice, or white cranberry juice.  Pre-mix the soda and serve in a pitcher so as not to confuse with the wine concoction.

DON’T WORRY: You can certainly use regular pears instead of Seckel pears, I just couldn’t resist them because they’re so cute and tiny. I love anything miniature, and while Seckel pears are slightly sweeter, regular pears will taste just fine (but maybe won’t be as cute). If you’ve never had Benedictine and are hesitant about buying it, swap it out for Grand Marnier or Cointreau.  I will say Benedictine makes an excellent after dinner drink, served neat in a snifter.

 Cheers, and drink those spritzers with pride!

Your neighborhood bartender,
Catherine Manabat