When I was developing this recipe, I knew I wanted something pear based, since that is one of my favorite fall and winter flavors. I also knew I didn’t want to make yet another red drink. I wanted something surprising, warming yet refreshing and evocative of my new environment—the desert.
It’s taken me a while to get to this recipe because our move was one of the most tumultuous transitions ever. We moved during a giant dust storm, we had no heat and electricity for the first week, and we’ve had some serious bad luck with new furniture. In the midst of that, I had a business trip for my tech job and people visiting. So finally, this week the things got resolved, and I felt I had some peaceful time to get in the zone and test some recipes.
Now that we’re more settled, I’m so looking forward to get back into the swing of things.
For this recipe, I partnered with Drink A Cut Above Spirits and Parch Agave Cocktails who were kind enough to send me samples of their products. If you’re already familiar with these products, then skip to the bottom for the recipe!
A Cut Above: Gin
A cut above was created by Andrew Raul in collaboration with a master mixologist to create a top shelf non-alcoholic experience. With no sugar and all natural flavors, this spirit creates a clean and strong flavor that mimics the real thing. It plays nice with real spirits too, so you can go zero proof or low ABV—your choice!
The Gin is made with juniper oil, cardamom, turkish rose, mexican lime, California lemon, italian bergamot, angelica root, and orange oils. Although they don’t claim any adaptogenic qualities, Angelica root is used in Chinese medicine for its calming, antioxidant qualities too.
I like the flavor profile of this NA gin because it’s more citrus forward which balances the juniper, in my opinion. It also has a nice mouthfeel with a less heavy, syrupy quality that makes it easy to drink on its own or mix into a sophisticated cocktail.
Parch Agave Spirits: Spiced Pinarita
Parch has created two ready to drink non-alcoholic beverages that are inspired b the Sonoran desert. They feature ingredients featured in Southwest and Mexican cultures, including agave and adaptogens like ashwhaghanda, American ginseng, GABA, and L-theanine.
If you’ve followed my recipes, you know I love using herbs traditionally used in Chinese Medicine. Parch contains a unique blend of these herbs that offers a calming experience.
Eastern Medicine focuses on balancing warm and cool energies in your body to produce harmonious results. With many brands now playing with these types of herbs, it’s important to understand if they are going to warm you up or cool you down.
Overall, Parch’s combination of adaptogens and nootropics is cooling in nature.
- American Ginseng: Ginseng is an anti-oxidant that features heavily in Eastern medicine. American Ginseng considered “cool” in nature and less stimulating than other types of Ginseng available.
- L-Theanine: Green tea is cooling, and the L-theanine calms anxiety and the production of grounding alpha waves in the brain. It can also increase dopamine in the brain as well, which lifts mood.
- GABA: In Chinese medicine, Baikal Skullcap is used for its cooling effects, where it acts on GABA receptors in the brain to produce a calming effect. It is often used to treat mood disorders. GABA has become popular in American beverages but is a synthesized compound.
- Aswhaghanda: This warming adaptogen balances out the three cooling ingredients above. I use this adaptogen in my Drycraft Aphrodite bitters. It’s great as an anti-inflammatory, antioxiant, and cortisol reducer—all of which work to induce a more relaxed mind state.
When consuming non-alcoholic beverages that have mood enhancing effects, it’s important to consider the other ingredients as they may have other impacts on your body as well. In this case, the caramelized pineapple is warming, the prickly pear cactus is cooling, and the spicy mole bitters, cayenne pepper and cacao extracts are also warming, though they are present in smaller quantities.
Each can of Parch contains 285mg of active adaptogens. GABA: 100mg,L-Theanine: 50mg, Ashwagandha: 35mg, American Ginseng: 100mg
A Peary Desert Xmas
I created this recipe for my large martini glasses, which hold about 8 oz of liquid without ice. You can halve the recipe if you need it to fit into a smaller glass.
It balances the cooling adaptogens from Perch with warming adaptogens in the Drycraft Aphrodite bitters. Pairing the spicy, floral qualities of the pear and white pepper with the caramelized notes from the pineapple creates a unique experience that will be a showstopper at your holiday gathering.
4 oz Pear Nectar
2 oz Wilderton Lustre
1 oz A Cut Above Gin
1 slice of Lemon
A dash or two of fine white pepper
A dash or two of Drycraft Aphrodite Bitters
1 splash of Parch Spiced Pinarita
Combine all ingredients except for the Parch Spiced Pinarita in a cocktail tin.
Add ice and shake vigorously for 15 seconds or until well chilled.
Strain into a martini glass, remembering not to fill to the brim. You may have a little extra depending on how much your ice melts.
Top with the Parch Spiced Pinarita.
Garnish with a lemon peel if desired.
You should add enough white pepper so that you get the floral notes and a slight kick. I did not provide a set amount because everyone will have different spice tolerances. Start with just a dash and work your way up to 1/8th of a teaspoon. For me 1/8th was too strong, but some of you might like it. If you don’t add enough, do not add more at the end. It will clump and not be well distributed.