Sometimes when one season transitions into the next, the change can seem a bit abrupt. This is often not a problem when we’re moving out of winter because we’re eager to be basking in 75 degree temperatures. Since the first day of spring occurs in the ever-fickle month of March, however, things don’t always go as expected. I had the opportunity to visit the Tait Farms booth at the Philadelphia Flower Show this past Saturday, and I’ve been wanting to use their pear shrub in a spring cocktail ever since. The weather over the weekend on the East coast was not exactly cooperating, and so the idea occurred to me of using some transitional ingredients in my cocktail, making it something we could drink in March or April while dreaming of spring, even though winter might still be holding all the cards.
I started out with Stateside Vodka as my base, one of my favorite local spirits for its super clean flavor profile. That allowed the Tait Farm pear shrub to take center stage. My next choice was an important one because pear is definitely one of those transitional kinds of ingredients. Depending on what you pair it with (audible groan), its flavor profile can be crisp and summery, or it can make you think of autumn bonfires and Christmas carols. I thought that St. Germain would be the perfect dance partner in this cocktail since it’s bursting with fruits and flowers, and because it’s made from elderflower blossoms that are picked only during the spring and summer months. I wanted this drink to be a kind of a Collins, so I needed a citrus next, and I found myself with no other choice than to go with lime. While growing up, one of my mom’s favorite things to make for us was lime Jello and pears, especially in the warmer months, and so those two flavors are inextricably linked together for me. Alright, we’re almost there. I already knew that I wanted to top this cocktail with Fever Tree’s Elderflower Tonic to add some bubbles, and to make it feel like something we’d absolutely want to be drinking outside during happy hour. That left me with a decision to make about bitters. After going back and forth with a few different choices, I finally landed on Scrappy’s cardamom bitters, another transitional ingredient that would remind us that even though the calendar may say it’s spring, the weather may have a totally different agenda.
Segue Into Spring
Combine all the ingredients (except the tonic) in the bottom half of a cocktail shaker and add ice. Shake for about 20 seconds until cold. Strain into a Collins glass over ice and top with the tonic. Garnish with lime slices. Enjoy!
*Cardamom bitters can be surprisingly strong so you may need to cut back on the amount here according to your taste preferences. I use an eye dropper to measure bitters because it gives me more control, especially in a case like this when I might want to use less, but still be very precise.