This is a Virtual Potluck Cocktail party! Make sure to check out the round-up post to see what everyone brought to the party!

When you think of New Year’s Eve (psst–it’s almost here), what comes to mind?

Cocktails?

10-9-8-7-6…?

Cocktails?

Kissing?

Cocktails?

Friends?

Cocktails?

Times Square, a big glimmering ball, and Dick Clark?

Cocktails?

Barenjager-pear

Or if you’re married with kid(s), maybe you think of going to bed at 10PM. Perhaps if you’re really wild and crazy, maybe you set your alarm clock for 11:55 so you can watch the ball drop, share a kiss and sip of champagne, and then go back to bed.

This was pre-baby, bringing in the New Year in Chicago with hubs:

NYE

Hmm. Things *ahem* have changed since then.

Sidenote: Before anyone gets crazy—I wouldn’t change things for the world. Except my stretch marks. They may gladly disappear. Pleaseandthankyou.

This year hubs and I will probably enjoy a cocktail and a kiss while trying our hardest to stay up until midnight.

BarenjagerBarenjager-3

When I was sent a deliciously smooth honey liqueur in the mail, Barenjager, I knew I would be doing some taste testing in the form of a cocktail. But I also wanted to make something fun and interesting with it, because this is a food blog.

Barenjager is self-described as “Mead-like moonshine made from honey by beekeepers and farmers.” Each liter bottle contains 300 grams of pure honey, resulting in a “subtly sweet, spicy and herb edged taste profile.” Barenjager is great on the rocks, or in a variety of drinks and cocktails, hot and cold. They also suggest that it can be used as “a substitute for honey or sweeteners in your favorite culinary recipes.”

This could get fun, right?

I leafed through the pamphlets and information that came with the bottle of goodness. I found a drink that sounded delicious, and for which I had all the ingredients on hand.

The Baren Pear
recipe compliments of Barenjager Honey Liqueur

1 part Barenjager
1 part pear vodka
3/4 part triple sec
1/2 part fresh lemon juice
1/2 part simple syrup
10 small mint leaves for garnish (I left these out because I didn’t have any)

1. Squeeze lemon juice into a shaker filled with ice.
2. Add remaining ingredients except mint leaves to the shaker.
3. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Float mint leaves on top.

Barenjager2

Verdict: Tasty, but very strong. I couldn’t finish mine. It could be because I forgot the simple syrup—which I just realized while I was typing the recipe. Ha!
Husband’s take: He thought it was too strong too. Hmm…maybe I should try following the recipe next time.
Changes I would make: Maybe next time I’d substitute pear juice for pear vodka just to tone it down a little. Or….I could add simple syrup as directed.
Difficulty: Easy!

barenjager-caramel

Salted Barenjager Caramel Sauce
adapted generously from BakedBree.com via Pillsbury.com

5 Tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ounces Barenjager
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1.5 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 water

1. In a small saucepan, combine butter, cream, Barenjager, vanilla and salt just to boiling, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
2. In a large saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir until combined. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat without stirring. Boil until the mixture turns a light golden amber color (310 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer).
3. Remove from heat and add in cream mixture, whisking. Pour into a heat-proof container to cool.
4. Store in fridge. Pour over apples, ice cream, or eat off spoon. Caramel will thicken as it cools.

barenjager-caramel-2

Verdict: Delicious. Smooth, sweet, and you can taste the honey liqueur beautifully.
Husband’s take: I don’t think he has tried this yet.
Changes I would make: None.
Difficulty: Easy! Just watch your caramel closely for color. Just because you’re not stirring doesn’t mean you should walk away. Once it gets going, it goes fast and will scorch quickly.

Barenjager-caramel-3

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free bottle of Barenjager to review. All opinions, as always, are 100% my own.