Posted on November 5, 2010 | By The Bon-Vivant | Comments Off on Old World Spirits Kuchan Poire Williams Eau-De-Vie
For our tasting of Kuchan Poire Williams Eau-De-Vie the four principal locusts gathered at the home of the Bon-Vivant on a glorious fall evening. We poured out four small glasses of the clear liquid, and proceeded with the tasting.
The Bon-Vivant: Ajmo na piche.
The Enabler: I get the pear, but there’s a healthy bit of alcohol.
The Bon-Vivant: Way more alcohol than I was expecting. I was expecting peary cider, which bespeaks my ignorance of pear eau-de-vie
The Enabler: *shakes head*Hwoo, strong.
The Connoisseur: Definitely very strong.
The Bon-Vivant: Where did you get this?
The Enabler: Ledger Liquors in Berkeley. You would like this place. An amazing selection of stuff.
The Palate: The finish is good on this, much better than the start.
The Enabler: When it’s first on the tongue, I get the pear, but then I lose it in the alcohol. This would be good mixed with something.
The Palate: French toast.
The Enabler: In the batter, or the syrup?
The Palate: Both.
The Bon-Vivant: It’s a little harsh for my sissified, peary cider, soda pop drinking ways. I like my fruit fruity.
The Enabler: I’m getting a lot of pears. *Reads label* “Do not overswirl. Imagine a bowl of ripe mountain peaches before you.”
The Bon-Vivant: Why not a bowl of ‘ripe mountain pears’.
The Enabler: Ha! Email them and ask them.
Editors note: I did email them and apparently we got a rare bottle that escaped the distillery before they got the labels corrected. It is a collectors’ item and I am taking offers on EBay.
The Connoisseur: *Reads* it says it takes 20 pounds of pears to make one bottle.
The Bon-Vivant: 20 pounds! This is only 375 mililiters.
The Connoisseur: They squeezed 20 pounds of pears into 40% alcohol.
The Enabler: Drinking this neat is definitely an acquired taste. I think you’d want to mix it with something subtle.
The Connoisseur: It seems autumnal to me. Something for the harvest.
The Palate: It reminds me of your poached pears.
The Connoisseur: This is an after dinner drink for people who are serious about alcohol. It’s not one of those sweet liqueur lady drinks.
The Bon-Vivant: Hey now! We need to remove the stigma that attaches to men who like lady drinks.
The Palate: Brass tacks. Vam se sviđa?
The Enabler: Vrlo mi se sviđa!
The Bon-Vivant: Zivjeli!
Notes: This product comes from a wonderful distillery in the Bay Area, Old World Spirits. A family endeavor, they draw from Croatian roots to produce this liqeuer. It is primarily a digestif (had after dinner). It has a subtle pear flavor, a smooth finish, but a strong somewhat acerbic bite to it. I would recommend hauling it out after a nice dinner when you retire to a seat in front of the fire, smoke a cigar and discuss what is to be done about your hereditary enemies across the valley. On my second drink (on another day) I find I like it better than the first tasting now that I know what to expect. On the first attempt I expected something much sweeter, more straightforward so I was surprised. On the second attempt I find it to be an excellent after dinner drink and much like drinking a fine grappa or very dry brandy, almost. Price was about $38.00 for 375ml. Pricey, but I did buy it in Berkeley and will use it for special occasions.
Old World Spirits also produces a peach eau-de-vie, a black walnut liqeuer, a couple of absinthes (Award Winning!) and a California Gin.
In a final note, I think that this could be used effectively for a dessert in the following variation on a theme:
Croatian Pear Cake (Moja je lebdjelica puna jegulja)
• 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
• 1 1/4 cups sugar, plus
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 3 large eggs
• 1/3 cup milk
• 1 tablespoon Kuchan Poire Williams Eau-De-Vie
• 1 (28 ounce) can sliced pears
• 1/2 cup raisins or 1/2 cup chopped pitted prune
• 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
• 2 large eggs
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter
• 1/4 cup heavy cream
• 2 tablespoons Kuchan Poire Williams Eau-De-Vie
Prep Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 1 1/4 hr
1. 1 Make pear cake: Preheat oven to 350 and lightly butter and flour an 8 1/2″ springform pan, knocking out excess flour.
2. 2 In a bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon and baking powder.
3. 3 In another bowl, with an electric mixer beat together butter and 1 1/4 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in flour misture and milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating until it is just combined after each addition. Stir in grappa.
4. 4 Peel and core pears; cut into 1/2″ dice. Fold pears, raisins or prunes and pine nuts into batter. Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle top with remaining tablespoons sugar. Bake cake in middle of oven until a tester comes out with crumbs adhering to it, 45 – 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack and remove side of pan.
5. 5 Make grappa sauce: In a bowl with an electric mixer beat together eggs, sugar and cinnamon until thick and pale. In a metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt butter and stir in egg mixture. Cook sauce, stirring constantly, until it is thickened and registers 165F on a candy thermometer (c. 7 min). Remove bowl from pan; stir in cream and grappa. Serve cake with warm sauce.