The Pear and Blueberry Martini is a thick, even viscous Neo-Martini. It is based on vanilla vodka, adding that peculiar vanilla sweetness to its fruity flavours. This has to be carefully balanced to prevent it from dominating the drink.
For a time I worked in a Martini Bar in London. There we had an extensive Martini Menu. This featured a wide array of real Martinis and Martini variants – proper alcoholic powerhouses. But it also contained a large number of Neo-Martinis. Typically light, fruity and highly approachable drinks which were very popular. Although confusingly they were often called so-and-so Martini, making it hard for customers to determine in advance the actual strength of the drink they ordered.
The Pear and Blueberry Martini was one of the more popular of these Neo-Martinis. As it was already on the menu when I arrived and since no-one I know took credit for its creation, I consider it to be a House cocktail.
Naturally, the Pear and Blueberry Martini is based upon the flavours of pear and blueberries. This fruity dominance is not unusual for Neo-Martinis. Often either fresh fruit or puree will do just fine. In the case of the Strawberry and Lychee Martini, purees alone are recommended. But here the reverse is true. To make a good Pear and Blueberry Martini you need to muddle fresh ripe fruit.
In the case of blueberries, this is simple. They are easy to obtain all year round. But note that since we don’t use any citrus to balance this cocktail it is instead the tartness of especially the blueberries which provides balance.
But the pear has to be ripe and soft, which is a little harder to arrange on the spot. If the pear is a little over ripe, that is fine. But under ripe and hard and forget it – make a different drink. And even the best quality of pear purees just can’t match the taste or texture of muddled fresh pear. So if you don’t have one, don’t bother trying to make this cocktail.
The other pillar upon which this cocktail is based is vanilla vodka. Ideally a stronger tasting vanilla vodka with a little colour to it. At a pinch you could use regular vodka and some good quality vanilla liqueur, but it is a less than ideal solution.
To round out the ingredients we use a little Crème de Cassis, a blackcurrant liqueur, to add a little extra sweetness and depth. And then cranberry juice to add length. Regular quality juice is fine here.
Pear and Blueberry Martini
With the use of muddled fresh fruit we really have to shake the Pear and Blueberry Martini. And then double strain it more slowly and carefully than for most other cocktails.
So, start by muddling a half dozen blueberries and a slice of ripe pear the volume of two or three strawberries. Then we add: one and a half shots vanilla vodka; half a shot Crème de Cassis; and one shot cranberry juice. Shake hard, and then slowly strain into a martini glass or equivalent.
The colour and texture of this cocktail is highly dependent on the fruit and liqueurs you choose to use. But a generally purple colour is to be expected.
For garnish, keep it simple with a slice of ripe pear.