Drink of the Week: Pear and Cardamom Sidecar

Pear and cardamom sidecar -- slurp!Bottles of high-end liqueur often come with recipes, to encourage one to consume one’s fancy booze quickly. Chambord, the rich and sweet raspberry cordial, is accompanied by a full-color, 64-page booklet of recipes for cocktails and food, including close-up sensuous photos of the cocktails; their website reproduces it online. It claims to be “the definitive guide to the world’s finest cocktails” (All odd punctuation and grammar constructions theirs):

Chambord dedicates “La Vie de Chambord Liqueur: Volume 3, Cocktails” to the creative mixologists, the bartenders, who have made Chambord what it is today. Their commitment to finding the ultimate co-mingling of liquids has given Chambord the chance to develop into more than just a cocktail ingredient, but a lifestyle accessory. Chambord liqueur is superb as a accoutrement to gourmet and classic cocktails, tantalizing culinary creations or simply, alone over ice.

Lovely as that sounds, I don’t feel this little booklet is definitive to all cocktails. But I agree that it offers intriguing ways to use up that bottle of Chambord that’s been languishing in the back of your liquor cabinet.

Trouble is, several recipes require ingredients many of us don’t ordinarily keep on hand. Elderflower cordial. Passion fruit puree. Juice from canned pear plus pods of green cardamom?

The pear and cardamom combination was simply too odd to ignore, so I went on a shopping expedition. Obviously canned pear is no trouble, but cardamom pods are hard to come by in small towns in western Pennsylvania. I chose to substitute gound cardamom, and I don’t think I lost much in the process.

The recipe suggests serving over ice in a rocks glass, but I chose to use a cocktail glass — I’ll take any excuse to drink from a stemmed glass. (Note too that the photo from the web version, above, went the stemmed route, with the added benefit of a sugared rim.)

Pear and Cardamom Sidecar

7 pods of green cardamom (or a pinch of ground cardamom)
1 1/2 shots of juice from canned pear
1 shot Cointreau
1 1/2 shots Pravda Vodka (or any top shelf vodka)
1/2 shot Chambord
3/4 shot fresh lemon & lime juice

If using cardamom pods, break away outer shell of cardamom and muddle seeds in base of shaker. (Or just sprinkle in the ground spice.) Add other ingredients; shake with ice, and fine strain into ice-filled rocks glass (or chilled cocktail glass). Garnish with pear slice.

You might be tempted to skip the cardamom. Don’t. It adds a sassy twist to the drink, which otherwise is barely different from a garden variety Cosmopolitan.

You might also wonder what this drink has in common with a standard sidecar. The only ingredients in common between the two drinks are Cointreau and lime juice — hardly enough for them to share a name. But few people drink sidecars these days, the Chambord recipe writers must have thought they’d slip this by. Sneaky buggers.

2 replies on “Drink of the Week: Pear and Cardamom Sidecar”

  1. You can buy green cardamom pods at Whole Foods. I’m sure you can find them at Penzeys too, along with every other conceivable color and form of cardamom.

    As it happens, I have a bottle of the green pods that will take me at least a decade to use up; remind me, and I’ll bring a bunch of them to the next Blogfest for you, so you can have that _authentic_ Pear and Cardamom Sidecar experience!

  2. Christina, that’s excellent! I can bring some pear juice to the BlogFest as well, and we can ask a bartender to mix up a batch for us.

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