Keep in mind that certain fruits are seasonal so they may not be available locally and at certain times of the year. Remember to choose the freshest fruits.
Here is a list of the more common fruits used for infusions and the growing seasons along with the spirits you should use with specific fruits.
Asian Pears = YR (year round), peel/slice small, Gin or Vodka
Blueberries = YR (best Jun-Aug), bruise/infuse, Brandy, Rum, or Tequila
The Asian Pear cocktail has many variations, but the one I will introduce to you today is one of the most popular cocktails at Buddha Buddha Martini Bar & Cocktail Lounge in Harrisburg and quickly became one of their signature drinks. I created it to pair with sushi, which was on the menu at the time. The cocktail is a perfect match for seafood, especially sushi and raw fish because of its citrusy, lemony, and gingery taste on the palate and the complement it gives to the ingredients in Asian cuisine generally.
The Mandarin Sunset cocktail traditionally has been served over ice, but I prefer it up in a chilled cocktail glass with an added twist: blackberry brandy layered, not mixed. This cocktail is aesthetically appealing when you layer the blackberry brandy with the back of a barspoon to create the sunset. You could also use grenadine to create a sunrise, although I wouldn't recommend drinking it at 6 am. The result is a beautiful sunset perfect to sip on a balcony or patio when the sun goes down in the summertime.
The Cable Car is one of my favorite signature drinks. It is a very refreshing summer cocktail with a hint of cinnamon, citrus, and lemon on the palate. It is a rum based cocktail which was inspired by the hearing of the tracks near the historic Starlight Room in San Francisco where the cocktail was created.
As hand-crafted cocktails and homemade infusions revolution has grown, so has the trend to create new and unique drink concoctions which displays the skills of the bartender. Cocktails have become, especially in high end establishments, ever more complex and time-consuming. The bartending profession has become noble again so the bartender’s need to shine and re-invent their career has come to the forefront. The more complex the cocktail, the more impressive the bartender appears.