Asian Pear and Rosemary Sparklers: Booze-Free Happy Hour - Turntable Kitchen
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Asian Pear and Rosemary Sparklers: Booze-Free Happy Hour

I used to be quite good at getting out of the house well before noon on the weekends. I would virtually jump out of bed with a mission: to not waste a second of a beautiful morning. I’d shower, spend only a few minutes quickly checking my emails, and look at Matt, usually on the couch, usually still in his underwear. It was rarely later than 9:30, but I was ready to make breakfast and hurry out the door.

It didn’t matter where we were going — the farmer’s market, a hike, or a day trip up to wine country — I always wanted to get there sooner. Once I got past my early 20s alcohol-fueled Friday nights, I absolutely despised not taking advantage of the glorious morning hours on anything but getting out. Matt, I’m sure, doesn’t look back at those mornings with as much fondness as I do.

These days, we tend to start our weekends the way he prefers: with drip coffee (as opposed to our machine), a leisurely breakfast, a fair amount of computer time (answering Pairings Box customer emails, updating Facebook, Twitter, and the like, researching baby-related stuff, etc.), and often, cleaning or rearranging items in our house to make more room for baby.

I frequently find myself, anxious and unshowered at 11 am, trying to figure out how I could have possibly woken up at 7 and STILL be in the house. I haven’t figured out if life’s gotten busier/more complicated, I’ve gotten significantly less efficient or both. Either way, even following my insomnia-fueled nights, I can’t recall the last time I left the house before 11. It seems, there is more to get done, less time to do it, and a lot of what I need to accomplish has to be done from home. As domestic as I am, I’ve never considered myself to be much of a homebody but the nesting effect has fully kicked in.

I’m burning through all my candles at an alarming rate, eating waffles, pancakes or French Toast for breakfast on Saturdays, buying flowers for every room (including the bathroom), and am officially the owner of a faux fur throw. Since I can’t drink wine, I’ve taken to creating my very own virgin cocktail and cheese hour. I’m starting to believe that the reason I find myself dragging my feet in the mornings is because weekend mornings at home…well, they’re pretty great. Sure, it’s nice to get a good workout in, or walk down to the bakery before the line forms, or hit the road while most of my neighbors are still asleep. But a quiet morning — or evening — at home can be just as satisfying.

I’m actually not a huge fan of cocktails (I tend to prefer a glass of wine) but I’ve discovered that I really love a pleasantly crisp, non-alcoholic beverage that isn’t too sweet and is balanced with some fresh herbs and/or spices. You can serve this at a party, as an option for friends who don’t drink, in place of sparkling water with your dinner, or during a holiday brunch. Asian pears are one of my favorite Fall fruits — they’re a bright and juicy mix of pear and apple, and they pair really well with wintery spices and herbs. Chin chin!

Asian Pear and Rosemary Sparklers
adapted from The Kitchn
*serves 4-6

2 Asian pears, juiced (yield: about 2 cups of juice)
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup of sugar
1 large rosemary sprig
pinch of freshly-grated nutmeg

1 bottle of sparkling water (I used Pellegrino)
rosemary sprigs and Asian pear slices, for garnish

1. Add the Asian pear juice, honey, sugar, rosemary sprig and nutmeg to a medium saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Turn the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes.
2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the mixture stand for 30 minutes before straining it through a fine-mesh strainer. Throw away the solids and transfer the syrup to a lidded container, then allow it to cool completely or transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.
3. To make the sparklers, add a few ice cubes to each glass. Add 3-4 tablespoons of syrup to each glass (more or less, to taste). Top off with sparkling water and stir gently. Garnish with a fresh sprigs of rosemary and thin slices of Asian pear.

Musical Pairings: Air – Moon Safari + Asian Pear and Rosemary Sparklers

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