Inspiration hits you like a brick when it comes along and I have been hit quite often in the remotest of situations. It's a good thing, inspiration, as without it, we would be no where. There is nothing which can concretely be established as a trigger for inspiration, it can come in any form. I have a habit of day dreaming (no, not because I have nothing to do, but my work is such that the commute either by train or car, is long enough to float your thoughts to wonderland), and in these random and mundane thoughts I come up with the craziest of combinations, fusions or recipes.
Inspiration is also the much needed fuel to propel your ideas, enhance skills and most of all, keep your hobbies or work alive. Things, People, Items and even Situations make a complex puzzle in ones everyday life from which one can extract immense inspiration.
I see a pear lying on the fruit tray and I can think up a hundred ways to cook it and the outcome is usually something mildly entertaining, because all I do is stupidly grin and my creation and devour it myself - till the next time when I make it for someone else.
I had a tough last week with contracts, negotiations and documentation taking up a lot of my time at work, especially since half the world (as in my world) was in the preparation of the holidays in a few weeks. Saturday night had left no energy in me to go out and do what people do on Saturday nights. I just wanted to reach home, loosen the tie, make myself a drink, put up my feet and probably settle down and watch MasterChef India (which, by the way, was ... well no comments). I had my sister-in-law over with her new baby girl, a stress buster all in all, and she (the baby, not sis-in-law) had come of age to start eating mushy food. My sister-in-law pureed some pear and cucumbers (no, not together that would be termed just gross) and was feeding her. Instantly an idea cropped up about the cool refreshing cucumber and the sweet fruity flavor of pear which was enough to get my thoughts churning and I set out to make myself the much needed drink.
I found a bottle of Absolut Pear lying in the rear shelf of the bar and I did not want to just throw it over ice and gulp it down. Citrus was in order with a little bit of enhanced sweetness, so here's my baby food inspired cocktail.
1 Part Absolut Pear
1 tablsp Sugar Syrup
1 tablsp Lemon Juice
1 Leaf - Basil
Shake all the ingredients in a shaker with cracked ice. Let it sit for a while if you want it a bit diluted. Strain into a cocktail glass and serve with a fresh leaf of basil. If you want the taste of basil to infuse in the cocktail, throw in a leaf when shaking it up.
Of course, I would not want my readers to sulk at the thought of non-availability of Absolut Pear, because I do not expect everyone to look at their bar shelf and expect a bottle of Absolut Pear lying there. So here's a simple solution to making your own Pear Infused Vodka. The Recipe is quite simple actually and you don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out infusions.
Clean a large fresh pear thoroughly with water and wipe till completely dry. With a fork or sharp utensil scrape the outer layer of the skin randomly all over to bruise the skin a bit. Roughly chop the pear into large pieces and keep aside.
Take a glass bell jar or any glass/ceramic jar with a tight fitting lid. Clean it well by immersing in boiling water for 5 minutes or so and leaving it out to dry in an area where you have sunlight filtering in.
Once you are sure the jar is dry, add the chopped pear, add a rind of a lemon - I like the combination of refreshing citrus with fruit (ensure the white pith is not added) and top it up with vodka (any local brand will do, Smirnoff for example). Ensure that the Vodka covers the fruit completely. Leave undisturbed in a dark corner of your kitchen or cupboard for a week minimum. Usually, I cannot wait that long and in between days I usually take to sniffing the infusion which leads to a taste and which eventually leads to a shot.
But the longer you keep the infusion the more intense the flavors get. Remove the rind after a week if keeping the infusion longer. This way the Vodka captures the Pear's sweet aromatic flavors and not too much of the citrus. This infusion can be kept for over a month even if you leave the fruit in as the alcohol ensures the fruit does not spoil. Its a win-win situation all the way.