Flavors of autumn fruit – apple and pear – infuse the gin in this off-dry Apple Pear and Sage Martini. Absinthe, dry vermouth, aromatic bitters, and muddled fresh sage complete this delightfully different cocktail… perfect with your holiday meal!
What better way to spend time with your husband than creating an autumn cocktail? Mark and I began discussing this cocktail in mid-October… I had my heart set on a cocktail with fall flavors that would pair well with the upcoming holiday meals.
My Thanksgiving menu included an Herb and Apple Brined Turkey and Roasted Delicata Squash With Apple Bourbon Sauce & Sage Browned Butter, and I hoped to create a cocktail with complementary flavors.
The challenge would be finding the right balance between the fruit, the sage, the aromatics, and the booze. Given that we both prefer dry (as opposed to sweet) cocktails, this would be a bit of a dance as getting fruit-forward flavors without the sweetness can be difficult. Before I ever went shopping, I ruled out liqueurs with their added sweeteners. Early on, I decided to include absinthe – a distilled spirit (not a liqueur) – derived from botanicals including the stems and flowers of Artemisia absinthium (grand wormwood artemisia).
Fun fact: We had grand wormwood in our garden in New Mexico! It contains many other medicinal and culinary herbs as well, including anise, and fennel. Absinthe requires restraint at 45-75% ABV. 😯 There’s nothing subtle about absinthe!
This is not an impulse cocktail like my favorite dirty martini straight up. Infusing the gin requires 5-7 days. I know. Right? That’s a long time to wait for a cocktail.
I had an interesting texting conversation with 2 of our 4 sons. The oldest said “Scotch. Neat. Much easier.” Number 3 son said “you need to be able to make it in less than a minute…” He’s a catering supervisor and frequently ends up bartending! So, I told our sons I’d not be making an Apple, Pear, and Sage Martini for either of them. 😀
The best part of creating a cocktail recipe is? Testing of course! Our very first attempt was an epic fail. We started with 1/2 shot of absinthe. OMG! SO. STRONG. We finally “landed” on a veil of absinthe created by adding a few drops to the glass, and swirling it around. The flavor is subtle, and works really well with the fruit, sage, and aromatics in the gin and bitters.
Once you’ve committed to making the infused gin, the most time consuming thing is making sure your bar is stocked. The absinthe, vermouth, and bitters should be easy to find at the liquor store, and your market should have the unfiltered and unsweetened apple cider and fresh sage…
Once the gin is infused, the ingredients are gathered, and the ice and cocktail shaker are ready, you can make this cocktail in less than 5 minutes. The recipe serves 2.
Would you consider serving an artisan cocktail like Apple Pear and Sage Martini with your Thanksgiving meal? I would suggest this with a first course or even with the turkey. I would love to hear your thoughts!
Apple Pear and Sage Martini
Apple and Pear Infused Gin
- 1 bottle gin (see notes)
- 1/2 cup dried pear chopped
- 1/2 cup dried apple chopped
Apple Pear and Sage Martini
- 8 fresh sage leaves
- a splash of infused gin
- 6 ounces shots of infused gin
- 3 ounces unfiltered and unsweetened apple cider
- 1.5 ounces dry vermouth
- a few drops of absinthe
- a few shakes of aromatic bitters
- thin sliced apple pear, and/or sage leaf to garnish
- Muddle the fresh sage leaves with a few drops of the infused gin. Scrape into the cocktail shaker. (See Notes).
- Add the infused gin, the apple cider, the dry vermouth, and ice to the cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously.
- Add a couple of drops of absinthe to each martini glass. Swish it around to coat the glass. Note: Absinthe is VERY strong. Exercise restraint! This ingredient is optional.
- Pour the contents of the cocktail shaker into the martini glasses.
- Add 3-4 shakes of the aromatic bitters to each glass.
My favorite gin is Dripping Springs Gin from a distillery in the Texas Hill Country. I can get it at my local Feldman's Liquor Store in the Rio Grande Valley. Use your favorite, but don't use "generic." The aromatics found in good gin contribute to the overall complexity of this cocktail!
I use my mortar and pestle to muddle the fresh sage. There will be tiny bits of sage in the cocktail. If this bothers you, strain it before you add to the martini glass. We leave it in the cocktail.
My husband (a most excellent home bartender) chills our martini glasses by filling them with ice while he makes the cocktail. A lovely touch!
We love the layered effect of allowing the bitters to settle. You can stir them into the martini if you wish.
If you don't want to spend the money on Absinthe, or you just don't like it, omit it. You will still have a very flavorful cocktail!