For the days when we say, “baby, it’s cold outside”—or, more aptly, a grateful, “I think I feel a chill in the air”—there’s no place like the Village Shops on Venetian Bay. Every year, the area transforms into a winter wonderland with faux-snow shows, yuletide carols and an ornately decorated tree.
That’s why it’s no surprise M Waterfront Grille, a classic itself in its 32nd year, always plans something special. The restaurant has developed menus for the season that satisfy the feeling of nostalgia we all crave, yet they’re reimagined through a contemporary lens.
As bar manager, Brian Fahey starts to experiment months in advance. This year, he’s using a liqueur distilled from pears that incorporates fresh pear juice and organic cane sugar, which he sampled from the California-based, boutique distiller St. George Spirits. The liqueur inspired his favorite new creation, the Spiced Pear Sidecar. “I’m big into fall and winter flavors. I kept trying to think of what I could do with pear, and I happened to try that liqueur. I loved it and knew it was exactly what I was looking for,” he says.
While a traditional Sidecar is made with cognac, bourbon has become the de rigueur choice among bartenders. A small gift to the diner who drinks Fahey’s version is the addition of a custom-blend spiced sugar rim that enhances those warm, wintry flavors within.
M WATERFRONT GRILLE’S SPICED PEAR SIDECAR
For the garnish:
- Lemon wedge
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tablespoon ground allspice
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- Thin slice of fresh or dehydrated pear
For the drink:
- 1 1/2 ounces Angel’s Envy bourbon
- 1/2 ounce St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur (found at independent local stores, such as Naples Wine Collection)
- 1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 ounce pure Vermont maple syrup
To prepare glass with spiced-sugar rim:
- Start by running a lemon wedge along the entire edge of a lowball cocktail glass.
- Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl or shallow plate.
- Dip rim of glass in spice mixture to coat.
To make the Spiced Pear Sidecar:
- Add all wet ingredients to a cocktail shaker.
- Fill with ice and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
- Fill prepared lowball glass with fresh ice. Strain drink into glass. Balance pear slice on rim of glass.
Photography by Nick Shirghio (4)