An accidental variation on the Fairytale of New York.
I. THE CANDIED KUMQUATS (at least three days in advance)
Makes 2 small jars; you’ll only need one jar for the drink
2 cups fresh kumquats, washed
1 cup water
1 cup demerara sugar
a big saucepan or small quarts pan
two clean jars for storage or canning
1. Cut the kumquats in halves to remove seeds and tough segments.
2. Dissolve sugar in water and put on heat until the syrup boils. Let boil for 5 minutes to make simple syrup.
3. Add the kumquats and simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes, until the kumquats are translucent and tender. Keep the kumquat and the syrup.
4. Can in mason jars immediately or let cool and store in the fridge for up to a month.
II. THE SPICED PEAR SYRUP (at least a day in advance)
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup demerara sugar
2 Bosc pears, peeled, cored and diced
1 whole nutmeg
3 cinnamon sticks
a handful of walnuts (more or less 12 halves)
a strainer or sieve lined with cheese cloth
a clean glass jar or container to store the syrup
1. Dissolve the sugar in water in a saucepan. Bring it to boil and let boil for a few minutes to finish dissolving the sugar.
2. Add in the walnuts, spices and pear, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. (If using a glass jar, heat the jar while the syrup simmers).
3. Let the syrup cool only briefly before straining, double strain if necessary to obtain a clear syrup.
4. Wait until the syrup has cooled completely in the jar before putting it in the fridge for use the next day. The syrup should keep for 2 weeks but look out for cloudiness to tell if it has gone off or not.
III. THE DRINK
Candied kumquat and their syrup
Spiced pear syrup
In a mixing glass, place 1/2 teaspoon of the syrup from the kumquats, 3/4 oz of spiced pear syrup and 2 dashes of walnut bitters, swirl to mix. Add 2 oz of whisky and some ice. Stir with a cocktail spoon until cold.
Place a piece or two of candied kumquat and a large ice cube in a tumbler glass. Strain the drink over the ice cube.
Pour a whole jar of candied kumquat in a pitcher. Add a whole batch of spiced pear syrup. Add 12 dashes of bitters, but this is really to taste. Stir with a long spoon. Add ice until 1/3 of the pitcher and cover with most of the bottle of whisky or omit the ice for now and serve the drink over ice at the party. In any case, stir well and fish out a some pieces of kumquat to serve with the drink.