The Pære Dansk's charming Scandinavian name is a play on the Danish pastry, which means pear Danish. The simplicity of the name amused Selma Slabiak, the drink’s creator and head bartender at NYC’s Nordic restaurant Aska. Slabiak includes the recipe for this mixture of champagne, vodka, spiced pear liqueur, orgeat, and lemon in the seasonally organized Spirit of the North, accompanied by a note on the desire to create a cocktail that captures the feeling of “biting into a freshly picked pear with the autumn wind biting your cheeks.” Aiming to invoke the light, crisp, and bright side of fall, Slabiak abandons the dark spirits most common to the season, and instead employs lighter ingredients to deliver a more refreshing take.
The use of vodka—a more neutral flavored base spirit—yields a drink that celebrates pear flavor and warm fall spices. The nose is full of fruit and spice from sparkling wine and liqueur, while the sip delivers ripe pear and earthy spice, rounded out by the nutty rich sweetness of orgeat and balancing acidity of lemon. Warm clove and cinnamon flavors of the velvety pear liqueur carry the drink’s appeal into the dark winter months. The addition of bubbly dresses it up for the many celebratory occasions of the colder months, making for an excellent seasonal alternative to the the French 75.
As is called for in the original recipe, make sure to use St. George’s Spiced Pear Liqueur, which delivers the necessary spice and complexity in a deliciously sophisticated package. This is a staple of our home bar, and we reach for it whenever pear liqueur is required. Alternatively, it seems like a relatively easy ingredient to make yourself. We made this drink successfully with Tito’s vodka, which was simply what happened to be on our bar. We’ve used falernum in place of orgeat in a pinch, and it was still an excellent drink, but without the same nuttiness that reminds Slabiak of the marzipan found in Danish pastries.