How do they get a whole pear in a bottle of pear eau de vie?
It’s nothing like how you get a ship in a bottle. The pear actually grows in there. In a process developed in France, producers stick bottles over budding pear tree branches and wait for the buds to grow into pears inside the glass. Then they remove the bottles, with the pears in them, and meticulously clean the insides by hand with special brushes before filling them with eau de vie. Rachel Showalter, vice president of production at Oregon’s Clear Creek Distillery, says tending to the pears in bottles is a labor-intensive, tricky process. This season, Clear Creek lost 20 percent of its Pear-in-the-Bottle eau de vie crop to the elements; common problems are the bottles breaking, the wind knocking them down, or too much rain getting inside.