In our current world of luxurious apples with titles longer than most of the English aristocracy, my heart goes out to the often-neglected pear.
No, you will not find any pears boasting pink flesh, and no, their far-from-obscure nature will not elicit any "oohs" and "ahhs" from surrounding hipsters, but the pear has a lot going for it.
Mainly, they taste good.
For much of the foodosphere, such menial claims carry little persuasion, but a sweet piece of fruit is still good enough for me.
Not to worry though, our mainstream pears have been graced with a few bits of modern magic to take this simple smash to the next level.
Juniper syrup adds the most wonderful, autumnal, herbaceous note to this drink, and the bite from a Chinese Five Spice sugar rim is heaven itself.
I love using raw sugar to rim my glasses because it adds just the tiniest bit of crunch that delights my texture-loving heart.
It is a fall panorama in a glass and it's my new favorite.
A couple of these, a board game, and a plaid blanket are all I want this weekend.
In reality, my weekend holds signing off on our first home purchase (eeek!) and a whole lot of painting. Or, a hurricane and many, many plans disrupted.
Either way, enjoy one for me, won't you?
JUNIPER PEAR SMASH
FOR THE SYRUP
1 tbs dried juniper berries
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
Combine juniper berries, granulated sugar, and water in a 2 quart saucepan and set over medium high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches a simmer.
Simmer for two minutes, then remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
FOR THE SUGARED RIM
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice
1 lime wedge
On a small plate, stir together raw sugar and five spice.
Run a lime wedge along the edge of each glass, then dip into the sugar mixture, swirling each glass to achieve even coating.
1 medium, ripe pair, halved and cored
12 ounces ginger ale
Place one pear half in the bottom of each glass and use a muddler or small potato masher to smash up the pears. Top with 1/4 cup ice and pour half of the juniper syrup into each glass.
Top with ginger ale and sprinkle with a bit of extra Chinese five spice, if desired. Serve immediately.