Friday Cocktails: The Pear Haymaker

By Helen Rosner

Published on October 28, 2011

During spring and summer, fruity cocktails are a matter of course: fresh-muddled strawberries, sliced peaches, or ripe tomatoes show up in practically every glass; you can hardly flag down so much as a Manhattan without finding a freshly brandied cherry garnishing the rocks. In cool weather it's another story: more often than not a fruit-based drink gets its flavor from a bruisingly sweet liqueur or woefully out-of-season hothouse berries. But this autumnal cocktail, from the lovely Philadelphia restaurant Talula's Garden, starts with a base of muddled pear, fall's most beautiful fruit, and balances its mellow sweetness with spicy ginger and tart lemon juice.

The drink may be called a Haymaker, but it's got nothing to do with the more common drink of that name, the Bourbon-vermouth-and-citrus concoction named for the way it wallops you like a punch to the face. Instead, the name comes from the ginger: switchel, or Haymaker's Punch, was a nonalcoholic vinegar-based drink whose sourness was offset by a hefty dose of ginger and spices; it was named for the eighteenth-century farmers who drank it — literal haymakers. I'm sure they would have approved of this version, tart and fruity and liberally dosed with vodka.

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