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Pear liqueur is made by mixing sliced pears, sugar, and spices in a base alcohol. As the ingredients steep, the alcohol begins to take on their flavor. The longer the ingredients sit, the more flavorful the liqueur. There is no hard and fast rule as to how long the steeping process should last, but most experts agree that the minimum amount of time is about three months. In general, the longer the mixture steeps, the more flavorful it will be.
The alcohol base used to make pear liqueur is usually a clear alcohol such as vodka or rum. Tequila and gin, though also clear, have so much of their own flavor that they are typically considered unsuitable for use as a base. Darker alcohols such as whiskey or scotch are also considered too flavorful to use for making liqueurs. To achieve a liqueur with a true pear taste, the pears should not have to compete with other less complementary flavors.
There are many different recipes for making pear liqueur, but most of the time spices are added to the pear and alcohol mix. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange rinds are often used, as are lemon and vanilla. The sugar used can be either brown or white, though brown sugar will slightly alter the overall flavor and color of the liqueur.
The first step in making pear liqueur involves combining pears, alcohol, and the desired spices. These ingredients should be placed in an airtight container, preferably made of glass. The container should then be placed in a location that receives full sun, where it should be left to steep for a full month. After the first month, sugar can be added to the mix. The container can then be moved away from full sunlight, where it should be left to steep for several more weeks.
Pear liqueur is used in a variety of ways. It is often consumed alone, as an after dinner drink, or it can be mixed with other alcohols to make cocktails such as Snowflakes, Pear Martini, or the Grand Charles. Pear liqueur is also used in cooking, for both main dishes and desserts. Glazes for meats can be made using pear liqueur, and it can be added to recipes for candy and cakes. The liqueur ingredients in most recipes are interchangeable, so for instance, pear liqueur could replace other types of liqueurs in most recipes.