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A pear martini is a type of cocktail typically made of pear-flavored vodka, pear juice, and often a variety of other sweeteners or mixers. It is usually served in a traditional martini glass, often with a sugared rim or a pear slice as garnish. The pear martini is considered a designer or fancy martini variation. Its specific ingredients may vary, sometimes also incorporating lime or orange flavors in addition to pear.
Aside from the name and perhaps the method of serving, a pear martini has little in common with the traditional martini. A martini is typically made with gin and dry vermouth. Bartenders usually combine five parts gin and one part vermouth in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. The mixture is shaken vigorously then served, straight up, in a chilled martini glass. Olives are the most traditional garnish.
Pear martinis are typically vodka based and are designed to be sweet. Although vermouth can be added to the pear vodka, such a combination is not common. More often, pear martinis call for the addition of triple sec, an orange-flavored liqueur. Pear juice and lime juice are also common additions.
Variations are common, and mixologists often add their own twists to the cocktail. The only sure bet with a pear martini is that it will contain pear flavoring of some sort. Most recipes call for the use of a pear-flavored vodka, but ordinary vodka can be supplemented with pear juice for a similar effect. Pear liqueur or pear-infused gin are less common, but can also be used.
The process for mixing the pear martini is usually the same as for a traditional martini — that is, the ingredients are typically shaken with ice and strained. Most pear martinis are served in traditional martini glasses. Some hosts will dip the rim of the glass in sugar before serving a pear martini, though this garnish is a variation on one traditionally associated with margaritas. Margarita glasses are often rimmed in salt.
Martini purists have long disputed whether the pear martini should be associated with the martini name when aesthetics are the only similarities. Many martini variations exist, however. Even though most flavored “martinis” contain neither gin nor vermouth, the martini name has largely become synonymous with a cocktail — any cocktail — shaken in ice and served in the characteristic stemmed martini glass.
The traditional martini culture does not seem to have been negatively affected by the onslaught of fruity, sweet variations such as the pear martini. There is little risk that ordering a martini in a bar will produce anything other than the typical, olive-garnished fixture. Fruity martinis like pear drinks are increasingly common, but the old-fashioned namesake does not appear to be going anywhere.