Pear Brandy starting to age

Although there are several pear brandies available commercially, we opted to try making our own. This beautiful beverage will have to age around two months before we can let you know how it has turned out. If you like, you can make some too, and watch it mature along with us! We anticipate it will be delicious, with all of the flavor of pears, but none of that sometimes off-putting texture.

**Update**

We tried our brandy every month after bottling it. After the first month, it was very harsh and unpleasant. At month two, it had mellowed considerably, and now, at the third month, it is wonderfully drinkable, full of all the best flavors of both brandy and pears.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. ripe pears (3-4)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 fifth of brandy (1 bottle)
  • 1 tsp fruit protector powder
Make a simple syrup by combining the sugar and water over medium-high heat until they’ve combined and are clear. Allow to cool to room temperature. Cut the pears into quarters, core, and slice them thinly. Combine the pears, syrup, brandy, and fruit protector in a clean 2-quart jar with a lid. Cover and place in a cool, dark place for 1 month. Don’t refrigerate!
After one month, filter out the solids. Either discard the pear slices, or use in another recipe. Filter the liquid through cheesecloth into a new, clean container. Allow to age 1-3 months before serving.
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34 Responses to Starting a Pear Brandy

  1. Charlie says:

    What I would like to know is……

    How did you get those slices of pears in through that little spout without breaking them to pieces????

    :~)

    • Needs Mead says:

      Would you believe it’s an old Tyroshi family secret? :)

      Actually, though, we just sliced them thin. They were small pears to begin with, so the slices aren’t that wide. Considered dicing them if they didn’t fit, but it wasn’t a problem.

  2. ShiftlessBannerman says:

    Might I ask if you have a brand of brandy to recommend? Unfortunately, as an occasional drinker, my knowledge of hard liquor is woefully insufficient and I’m afraid I’d ruin the outcome with a poor brandy choice.

    • Needs Mead says:

      We actually used Christian Brothers for the same reasons you expressed concern over. This is our first time making pear brandy, so we wanted to start with something inexpensive. It’s all about having fun and experimenting, after all! We’ll let you know in a couple of months how ours turns out. :)

      • Basel Gill says:

        I think something inexpensive would actually be best. The pricey stuff of any variety of liquor is best enjoyed unaltered.

  3. Tami in Ruidoso says:

    I’ve been making flavored brandies for several years for Christmas gifts. I put down a pear brandy in December (when they were on sale). I just quartered the pears {removed stem and cored} – about 15 – into a gallon sized wire-bale jar, then covered with however much brandy was required to fill. I think I used Christian Brothers. (but again, what was on sale) This will sit until September or so, then I’ll decant and strain into a clean jar. At this point I add a 1 to 2 cups of sugar and let sit another month or so, shaking every few days until all the sugar is disolved. Around Thanksgiving I’ll strain and filter into gift bottles and label, ready to give when needed.

    I put down a jug of apricot brandy in May when – you guessed it – apricots were on sale. This will sit until Thanksgiving also, then follow the same process mentioned above for the pears. In the past I made apple brandy, but so much of the taste depends on the apple variety. I made a blackberry cordial one year that involved brandy, cloves, peppercorns, cardamom, cinnamon and brown sugar. It took two weeks, start to finish. Friends and relatives tell me they like the apricot the best. This is my first year for the pear brandy…hope they like this one too!

    I’ve really enjoyed your site. I just finished book 4, now gnashing my teeth till I can get my hands on #5. I found you by googling ‘wintercake’ and hope to make it soon. Thanks!

    • Needs Mead says:

      Wow, those all sound absolutely wonderful! We started with several different growler bottles, but are quickly realizing that we need to think bigger! In addition to the pear, we currently have a bottle of strawberry and a bottle of honey liqueur aging. Those should be mostly ready in a month or so, but then they’ll be gone. Must find bigger bottles!

      Hope you love whichever version of the wintercake you try; I imagine it might be amazing with some of your various brandies! We’re back to pondering what Martin was describing in “smokeberries”.

    • Do you happen to have the recipe you used for that cordial handy? I’d love to try that one. I’m a meadmaker myself and I’ve got a sweet spot for blackberries or melomels of any kind.

      • Needs Mead says:

        Which cordial? We’ve got a terrific list of recipes, so I’m sure that if we mentioned it, then we’ve got the recipe!

      • Tami in Ruidoso says:

        Jacob,
        I think you were asking about my blackberry cordial? If so:

        Blackberry Cordial

        MAKES 1 QUART

        4 cups blackberries
        3 cups bottled water
        4 whole cloves
        3 black peppercorns
        3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
        2 cinnamon sticks, broken into 2-inch pieces
        1 bay leaf
        1 cup light brown sugar
        1 1/4 cups Cognac or other brandy

        In a medium saucepan, combine the blackberries with the water, cloves, peppercorns, cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaf and bring just to a boil.

        Cook over low heat for 30 minutes, gently crushing the berries against the side of the saucepan.

        Strain the berries through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl without pressing on the berries.

        Stir in the brown sugar until dissolved. Let cool.

        Stir in the Cognac and pour into bottles.

        Seal the bottles tightly and store in a cool dark place for at least 2 weeks before serving.

        Adapted by Tami Schattner from:
        Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock, From A Southern Thanksgiving, Food&Wine, November, 1998.

      • Yes Tami, I was talking about that cordial. I’ve very much a Cognac and brandy man, so this sounds like a great idea! Thanks to all you guys for such a fantastic place to share interesting thoughts!

      • I’m, not I’ve. Bollocks. Lol, cheers!

  4. Any thoughts on if this recipe would need to be adapted to use peaches instead of pears? I live in Georgia and thought this would be great with some local peaches!

    • Needs Mead says:

      Yes! The proportions of the ingredients will be exactly the same as the recipe for pears, just remove the peach pits and slice the fruit thinly. You can also throw in a dash of cinnamon and clove to give it a nice spicy flavor.

      We plan to do a dessert dish with peaches and honey soon, but we aren’t quite blessed with nice ripe peaches up here yet! Look for that one soon, though, as I think you’ll love it. :)

      • Cool! I’ll give it a shot! Peaches seem sweeter to me than pears so I wasn’t sure if that would throw off amount of sugar I would add or something like that.

        That sounds delicious! Looking forward to it!

      • So, I got my brandy started (http://yfrog.com/h43glaxj) with some white peaches I picked up and I was wondering what the reason behind removing the fruit after one month. Wouldn’t it have more of a pear/peach flavor to it if you left the peaches in for the whole 2-4 months?

        Thanks for the recipe and all the advice! Can’t wait to try it out!

  5. Bran says:

    I was wondering if the fruit protection powder is necessary?

  6. How do you get the pears out at the end? Do you have to toss the bottle with them inside it?

    • Needs Mead says:

      No! Keep the bottle! I just tipped it upside down, stuck a fondue fork up the neck, and whirred it around until the pears were pulped. By the time the pears are to be taken out, they have become very soft, so it’s quite easy to puree them, as it were. Good luck!

  7. Any update on how this brandy turned out? I’ve had my peach brandy going for a month now and I’m trying to decide exactly how long I should leave the peach slices in. I’m leaning towards a full two months with the peaches in. Any thoughts?

    • Needs Mead says:

      Sure! I took the pears out after a month. One month later, it is drinkable, and you can definitely taste the pear flavor, but the brandy is still like a kick in the face. I will probably let it mellow for at least another month, then report back. Making a peach version sounds absolutely delicious. I doubt you can go wrong by leaving the fruit in longer, but I wouldn’t leave it over two months. Looking forward to hearing how yours comes out!

  8. Megan says:

    Curious to see how it turned out. Wanting to start my own today!

  9. Tami in Ruidoso says:

    An update on both my pear and apricot brandies…Both were put up in gallon sized wire-baled jars, filling about 3/4 full with fruit, then pouring in as much brandy as needed to bring the liquid within an inch of the top of the jar. To keep the fruit submerged I inserted a funnel upside down into the jar, trapping all the fruit below the brandy surface.

    I put the quartered stemmed & cored pears into brandy last December, straining them last week. I mixed a simple syrup (2 cups sugar to 1 cup water) with the flavored brandy, then bottled, ready to sit and age until Christmas. The pears soaked up more of the brandy than other fruits I have used. I got quite a bit less than 2 liters of finished product (3 half liter bottles and a ‘3 drinks’ sampling bottle). The pear liqueur is very dark (maybe because I let it sit 10 months?) but very tasty. It already has a very mellow taste and should be even more so by Christmas. Next year I will probably use fewer pears and try to fit in more brandy so as to have more finished product.

    The halved & pitted apricots began their brandy bath last May. As with the pears, I drained the flavored brandy into a large pitcher, then mixed with the same simple syrup ratio as used with the pears. This yielded almost a full 3 liters of product – friends will be happy. The apricot liqueur is a wonderful golden color and already drinkable. It too will be very mellow by Christmas.

    I plan on making the blackberry cordial mentioned in my above posts a bit closer to Christmas as it really only need about 2 weeks from start to finish.

    In retrospect, I think the pear liqueur would be fine and maybe not so dark if aged in the brandy for 6 months instead of the 10 I let it age this year. It’s fun making these liqueurs and they always seem to be well received by friends and family.

    Thanks for all the food and drink posts on your site. I’m eagerly awaiting your cookbook.

  10. angryvillager says:

    I made the pear brandy about the time this was posted, and added a big old cinnamon stick the size of my forearm to the bath. This put the pears in the back seat to the cinnamon, but it’s frickin’ delicious…I have no words. Also made a blackberry brandy with blackberries off my own land and it didn’t even come close to how good the pear is.

  11. inthelondonrain says:

    Hello ladies! I have a bottle of brandy aging — just substituted some lovely fresh nectarines for the pears. I wonder if you would divulge the honey liqueur recipe that you mentioned in a comment on one of the posts? Alternatively, if you have a mead recipe that you particularly favor, I would love to try it! And thank you for all your wonderful and inspiring creations!

    • Needs Mead says:

      Of course! We found that it was overpoweringly sweet, and might suggest cutting the sugar content as honey is plenty sweet on its own. That said, the recipe for our Honey Liqueur recipe is currently as follows:

      *1 1/4 cups each sugar, water, honey, and brandy.

      Make a simple syrup with the sugar and water, combine with honey and brandy and shake to mix. Let sit in a cool dark place for a month before cracking it open.

      We haven’t made our own mead yet, although a friend of ours did to moderate success. He used a kit, but I recently found a wonderful looking recipe for metheglin in my newest cookbook (from 1655, not quite new!), and it sounds amazing. I’ve got a giant glass bottle coming to me the end of the month, so once the manuscript is sent off, hopefully I can it out.

  12. Jack Carson says:

    I also tried the pear brandy recipe here. Good stuff. I think I’ll add more sugar next time, and maybe a couple cinnamon sticks. Do you think that would age well, or would a month be too long for the cinnamon?

  13. Harbqll says:

    I just took a batch of pear brandy to An Tir’s 12th night. It was a big hit at the baronial party. So much so, I just started a new double-sized batch tonight! Should be ready for early May. Hopefully my cider will be as well!

  14. Jeff says:

    Just started a batch! Making a ~double portion in a gallon jug using 1.75L brandy and 4 pounds of pears. Hoping this is enough pears, but I also added a few cinnamon sticks just to be safe.

  15. Houston says:

    I just started my 2nd batch… The 1st was awesome… this time I’m doing a double batch and threw in two fat, juicy scraped Madagascar vanilla pods… hope it comes out well and the vanilla pods don’t overpower the pears!

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