Poire Williams - Gastro Obscura
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Drinks

Poire Williams

Before they're filled with brandy, these bottles get attached to trees so pears can grow inside.

How do brandy purveyors fit a whole pear inside a tapered bottleneck? They trap the young fruit when it’s still a bud.

Producers in France, Switzerland, and Germany sell their signature Poire Williams eau de vie (Williams pear-flavored clear brandy) with full-sized fruit accompanying the alcohol inside each bottle. Farmers simply surround a blossom in glass and adhere the container to the tree. As the fruit continues to develop and mature, attendants pump in fresh air and nip other pears from the branch in order to ensure maximal nutrients reach the enclosed targets.

The old-fashioned drink is expectedly sweet and fruity, which makes it an ideal palate cleanser or pairing for cheese. Europeans craft this iconic beverage from the fruit North Americans know as the Bartlett pear, which often stars in cans of fruit cocktail.

When a bottle of Poire Williams is empty, a preserved, juicy pear remains at the bottom. How to free it from its glass prison once the brandy’s gone? One pear-in-a-bottle grower had this tip from her grandfather: Use a thin-bladed knife to slice pieces of the pear and then retrieve them with its point.

Need to Know

Poire Williams is sold at specialty liquor stores across the world.

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