Sometimes I get recipes through circuitous routes. This one, for example. My husband and I spent a wonderful April evening at The Hive restaurant in Bentonville, Arkansas. We were early for our dinner reservation and so ordered cocktails from the bar, then spent a delightful half hour sipping and perusing. Modern art decorates the public spaces of 21c Museum Hotel, where The Hive restaurant is located. Much of the art is challenging and inscrutable, and a cocktail is just the ticket to help make sense of it. My drink was called The Windsor, and it was a delicious blend of grapefruit juice and Absolut Ruby Red vodka, distinguished by a fat slice of grapefruit peel as a garnish.
On the way home the next day, we stopped by a famously large and comprehensive liquor store in the area to buy wine and the ingredients for The Windsor. An internet search had revealed nothing that sounded like the elixir I had enjoyed, and I was sure that the liquor store staff would know more. I asked one of the managers if he knew how to make a Windsor with Ruby Red vodka, but he’d never heard of it. “I tell you what, though,” he said. “I was served a drink last summer made with pear vodka and Fresca, with a slice of pear as a garnish, and it was one of the most refreshing drinks I’ve ever had.”
I was intrigued enough to buy both kinds of vodka. The idea of Fresca in a cocktail made me shiver. It’s the drink my mother served us kids when we were sick; soft drinks as a rule were rarely allowed. Dr Pepper and Coke were holiday treats, but Fresca was the flu-fighter. I poured some in a glass just for the time warp effect and sipped. Sure enough, I could almost feel my throat closing and a fever setting in. Might as well mix Sprite and Robitussin. In the interest of exploration, I pressed on, pouring a shot of Absolut Pears into a highball filled with ice, with cold Fresca poured to the top. A little stir, a slice of pear on the rim, and it was ready.
And it was good.
I can’t imagine that this cocktail combo doesn’t already have a name, but I couldn’t find one after a search of sites for Absolut, Fresca, and cocktails in general, so I’m calling it a Pear Tart. Cheers.