The weather was freaking spectacular today.

Frost and fog early on gave way to a gloriously sunny afternoon: the autumn foliage here in the Hudson Valley has never been more beautiful. At sunset, the thinnest imaginable crescent moon hung in the sky, illuminating clouds that looked like wisps of smoke.

I wish I could have bottled it all up to enjoy a few months from now…just like this homemade pear liqueur.

I first gave this boozy fruit-infused delight a go last fall; I couldn’t wait for pears to come back into season to make another batch. It’s based on the recipe for Pear Cordial in the November/December 2011 issue of Hobby Farm Home magazine, and you’re supposed to allow the pears to rest in the liquid for a month, then strain them out and wait another six before drinking it…such torture! I believe I only held out for 3 months total last time (since I wanted to give a few little jars of it to friends as holiday gifts), but it was still great.

Do your best to wait as long as you can…the end result will be a smooth and sweet adults-only treat imbued with the essence of pear. This liqueur goes down easy so do keep in mind there’s a fair amount of alcohol in here: it’s potent! Drink in small amounts “as is”, over ice, mixed with seltzer or use it to gussy up winter cocktails. I imagine a spoonful or two would also be wonderful over vanilla ice cream.

Homemade Pear Liqueur Recipe

Yield: yield: about 6 cups

Ingredients:

*simple syrup made by dissolving 3 cups of sugar in 3 cups of water over medium-high heat (stir until sugar dissolves, then allow to cool to room temperature; feel free to infuse your simple syrup with some big chunks of fresh ginger as it cools (I did) or maybe add a sliced whole vanilla bean and/or a couple of cinnamon sticks)
*6 very ripe, preferably local, Bosc pears, peeled and sliced
*zest from 1 organic lemon
*at least 3 cups of vodka (or brandy, rum, or whiskey)

Directions:

1. In a sterilized 1/2 gallon-sized glass jar, combine peeled and sliced pears and lemon zest. Strain the simple syrup if you infused it with herbs, etc., then pour over the pears. Add the vodka: if 3 cups is not enough to fill the jar, add as much as is necessary. Cap tightly and shake to combine. Allow to “rest” in a cool, dark place for about 4 weeks, shaking every couple of days.

2. Strain the pears out by pouring through a fine-mesh sieve (or use cheesecloth). Transfer strained liquid into new sterilized glass jar(s) and and allow to rest undisturbed for another 6 months.

3. Strain out any additional sediment through cheesecloth before pouring into sterilized jars one last time.

adapted from the November/December issue of Hobby Farm Home magazine

More pear liqueur recipes:

DIY Pear Liqueur from Serious Eats
Pear Liqueur from Eat Boutique
Pear Infused Brandy from Boulder Locavore