smoky + spiced pear ginger fizzes | diy spiced pear liqueur

cocktails, drinks, fruits, whiskey, winter

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Hello and happy 2016!!

It’s been a minute. I can safely say that I’ve started and backspaced this post well over five times now. I have had the biggest case of writer’s block and lack of motivation these past few weeks, both here and in other projects. Am I alone here?? Nothing seems to be flowing or resonating within me, and despite my strong desire for change and my sketched-out plans for the year, I can’t even manage to get out of bed without a straight, ten-hour stretch of deep sleep.

I can feel my sister rising up in fury down in Florida right now. She is a new mom, who is happy when she gets a solid, consecutive four hours of sleep. Granted, we live different lives and are in different phases in our lives, but right now, I’m so tired that I could easily sleep for 14 hours straight. I’ve done it. I did it last night. And although it sounds decadent, it’s quite depressing to wake up with only four hours of daylight left with which to work, especially when you were so pumped about the promise of this new year.

I’m seriously grateful that we are slowly inching toward sunnier days, but part of me questions why I fight so hard against the urge to slow down, rest, and recharge?

smoky + spiced pear ginger fizzes {how to make pear liqueur} | holly & flora smoky + spiced pear ginger fizzes {how to make pear liqueur} | holly & flora

Maybe I’m not in tune with my body. Perhaps I abused it in the hurry and bustle of the holiday season and overrode its warnings. As I’ve taken these past few weeks to sleep more, journal about the changes I’d like to see in my life, make time to meditate in silence, and simply stretch my tight muscles, I’m redirecting my intentions.

I want to direct my energy toward being more present, more grateful, more persistent, and, as it’s becoming more apparent to me, more rested.

So, I’m allowing myself to wake up a little later, I’m upping my vitamin D intake {thanks for the tip, Joy and Melissa!}, I’m making it priority to be patient with myself, I’m simplifying, and I’m taking time out to connect with the loved ones I might have overlooked, when times were too busy.

I briefly mentioned this feeling of tiredness and lack of motivation on Instagram the other day, and with resounding agreement, so many of my friends told similar stories and shared almost identical scenarios. How are you accommodating your need to pause and reset, despite the urge to plan, change, and grow?

This must be how the seeds and bulbs feel right now, nestled underneath the cold, dark soil, blanketed by the heavy, dense snow. But those seeds don’t freak out and rush to the surface of the soil and try to sprout prematurely. Instead, they build up their reserves, waiting for the right timing to release those first, bright, green sprouts into the warm, spring sunshine.

So, you ask, how has 2016 been so far for me? I’m learning to develop my potential energy. I’m learning to rest and recharge. It’s proving to be quite the challenge, but I know it’s what’s right.

the beauty of trees:
naked silhouettes, stark, raw
stillness manifests

via the Daily Sacred Act, MoonDance Botanicals of Denver

winter garden | holly & flora winter garden | holly & flora winter garden | holly & flora

I recently visited Randolph’s Gastro Restaurant & Bar at the Warwick Hotel, in the Uptown neighborhood, one of my favorite Denver locales. Along with a few media representatives, I tasted through their newly redesigned menu and drink list, which features cocktails named after the titles of formerly banned books. They completely scored when they hired their food and beverage director, Joseph Owen, and lead bartender, James Black.

James, formerly of the famed speakeasy, Green Russell, demonstrated how to make a few classic cocktails and concoctions of his own. Armed with mixing tins, jiggers, a bar spoon, and a few choice ingredients, we discussed cocktail-making basics, while he shared some key techniques and a few of his favorite recipes.

smoky + spiced pear ginger fizzes {how to make pear liqueur} | holly & flora smoky + spiced pear ginger fizzes {how to make pear liqueur} | holly & flora smoky + spiced pear ginger fizzes {how to make pear liqueur} | holly & flora

I first became infatuated with Scotch, when I visited Scotland nearly ten years ago. The aromas, textures, and flavors can vary so much, simply based upon where the whisky is made and aged. It’s so fascinating to really taste the impact a place has upon a product. Some of my favorite Scotch whiskys are made in Speyside, a small, northerly pocket just above the Highland region, where the whiskys are oftentimes classified as grassy and light or rich and sweet. Many of my favorite Scotch whiskys, like Dalwhinnie and Balvenie, come from this region.

I paired Glenfiddich’s 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch with the components of this cocktail. The inherent subtle oak and notes of fresh pear work perfectly with the vanilla pear liqueur, bright lemon, and fresh ginger. It couldn’t be a better match of flavors. This particular Scotch is aged in American oak and sherry casks for at least 12 years and boasts a long, smooth, mellow finish.

It’s superb as a solo sipper but works seamlessly here in this wintry drink.

smoky + spiced pear ginger fizzes {how to make pear liqueur} | holly & flora

My favorite cocktail we made that evening at Randolph’s was the “Brave New World”, a Scotch-based tipple that derives its inspiration from Aldous Huxley’s namesake book. It is smoky and savory, with bright, supportive notes of ginger, pear, and lemon. I took inspiration from this well-balanced drink and made a pear liqueur of my own and added a sage simple syrup, along with a cozy dash of allspice dram.

smoky + spiced pear ginger fizzes | a scotch cocktail

  • 2 ounces Scotch {I used Glenfiddich 12 Year Old}
  • 1 ounce spiced vanilla pear liqueur {see recipe below}
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce sage simple syrup {see recipe below}
  • 1/4 ounce allspice dram
  • ginger beer, to taste
  • pear slices, for garnish
  1. In a mixing tin, combine the Scotch, vanilla pear liqueur, lemon juice, simple syrup, and allspice dram.
  2. Add ice and shake well.
  3. Strain into a cocktail glass filled with fresh ice.
  4. Finish with ginger beer, to taste.
  5. Garnish with pear slices.

smoky + spiced pear ginger fizzes {how to make pear liqueur} | holly & flora

Sometimes, the best creative endeavors arise because you find yourself with a product or ingredient you don’t know what to do with. My friend, Paula, recently gave me a bottle of CapRock Pear Eau de Vie {brandy} that she hadn’t used in months. I don’t frequently keep a stash of eau de vie in the house, so I found it a fun challenge to make something delicious with it.

This particular eau de vie is made from organic Green Bartlett pears, sourced from Ela Family Farms out on the western slope of Colorado. The spirit itself is clear and crisp, hovering around 40% ABV, and it is profoundly aromatic. You can almost feel the ripe pear skins in the texture of the spirit.

Right around the same time I scored the eau de vie, I noticed a pear liqueur recipe Mason Shaker had posted on their Steller Stories feed. I made a few changes to the ingredient list, but I closely followed their directions. This pear liqueur has been one of my favorite additions to my winter cocktails this season. It’s so bright, cozy, and versatile.

spiced vanilla pear liqueur

  • 8 ounces pear brandy {I used CapRock Organic Pear Eau de Vie}
  • 4 ounces cane sugar simple syrup
  • 1 pear, peeled and sliced into eighths
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced in half
  1. In a clean pint-sized mason jar, combine the brandy, simple syrup {see notes below}, pear slices, cinnamon stick, star anise pod, cloves, and halved vanilla bean.
  2. Cover tightly and give the jar a good shake.
  3. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for a day and check back for potency and balance.
  4. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, lined with cheesecloth.
  5. Store in a clean jar in the refrigerator.
  • To make the simple syrup, heat 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup cane sugar over medium heat, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • The spiced vanilla pear liqueur will keep, refrigerated, up to three months.

smoky + spiced pear ginger fizzes {how to make pear liqueur} | holly & flora

You can definitely substitute plain simple syrup for this recipe, but I loved the dimension that sage brought to this cocktail recipe. Infused simple syrups are exactly that: simple to make. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that I love using them to bring certain flavors, especially herbal notes, to my cocktail recipes.

sage simple syrup

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 1 sprig sage leaves
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the water and cane sugar.
  2. Over medium heat, stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Remove from heat, toss in the sprig of sage, stir, and let steep for 15 minutes or until cool.
  4. Strain off the solids and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

smoky + spiced pear ginger fizzes {how to make pear liqueur} | holly & flora smoky + spiced pear ginger fizzes {how to make pear liqueur} | holly & florasmoky + spiced pear ginger fizzes {how to make pear liqueur} | holly & flora

Wishing you all the happiest of weekends and continued determination for a stellar year ahead, I’m closing this excessively long post with a promise to allow myself to receive the gift of REST.

I’m taking the lead from my garden, which is fast asleep right now, storing up its reserves for its debut in early March. Anticipation is invigorating in itself! Cheers to honoring ourselves and our needs, truly listening, and making more Scotch cocktails!!


Nothing in nature blooms all year.

Be patient with yourself.

— via my friend, Becca, of the Dabblist

winter garden | holly & flora winter garden | holly & flora winter garden | holly & flora winter garden | holly & flora





  1. What a lovely cocktail, friend! I just adore pear in cocktails and think it’s very underused. I’m glad you are taking some time to rest and reflect. I’m feeling pretty ragged myself these days. I think I need to take a lesson from you and step back a bit and re-group. In the meantime, I’m dreaming of warmer, sunnier days and cocktails outside on the patio!

    • I am SO with you on the readiness factor for patio season. I’m seriously trying to find a love for the shades of grey, the crispy leaves, the piles of snow, and the shorter days. Just leave out the chapped lips, please. It’s been a battle with the dryness out here this year.

      I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been run ragged this year, but at least you’re in tune with yourself, and you’re giving it a go to take a pause and regroup. You can do it!! it is tough to sit with your thoughts and realize that you haven’t given yourself the love and rest you’ve needed {preaching to myself here}.

      Cheers to a great week ahead, Liz! I have high hopes of making one of your blood orange margs this week. Or tomorrow. …maybe tonight? 😉 Xs and Os your way, love!

  2. Love some of these ideas!

  3. wawanz29 says:

    hmmmm…this is delicious receipe.i like this.ginger can to make healty&fresh…

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