Ginger Quince Cordial
Not quite a pear. Not quite an apple. The quince is a fruit that has fallen into obscurity, though its beginnings were auspicious. It was given as gifts to brides in Greece, traded in China, prized by Tudors in England — some speculate it was not the apple but the quince that was the Forbidden Fruit in the Garden of Eden. Part of its decline in popularity has to do with the effort required to unlock its potential, as the quince is too tough and bitter to eat raw. However, its incredible fragrant aroma offers a hint to why the fruit was prized for centuries.
For Art in the Age’s Ginger Quince Cordial, we gathered all of the fruit we could find in New Hampshire: about 10 bushels. Once ripe, the fruit was pressed, and the rich, rosy nectar was combined with a brandy-like spirit distilled from the reserved skin and pomace. This allowed the finished product to retain as many of the delicious fragrant compounds (called carotenoids) as possible. Finally, to balance the zesty quince, we added ginger for notes of wood and spice. The finished product is slightly sweet and delicate, with a fruity, floral aroma on the nose and a distinct quince flavor that lingers on the palate. Try it in a simple ginger beer cocktail like a mule, or with white spirits like gin or vodka and some citrus.