Perry is the hero benchwarmer of fruity booze — it hangs on the sidelines while cider gets all the buzz, but the fermented pear drink is there for the win when you need it. If you’ve never had perry, that’s probably because the drink is not as well known as its cousin cider, but it is equally delicious. Some cider advocates have even equated the delicate, ethereal tipple to “angel tears,” and Napoleon once declared it “England’s Champagne.”
Perry pears contain some sugars that are unfermentable, giving the drink more residual sweetness as well as strong aromatics from the pear. Put away the sparkling wine this holiday season and pour some perry instead — here are six to get you started.
Eden Valley Orchards Pear House Perry
This perry hails out of Eden Valley Orchards in Oregon’s Hood River Valley, founded in the late 1800s by commercial pear tycoon Joseph H. Stewart. A blend of Seckel, Comice, Anjoy and Bosc pears all grown on the estate, the Pear House tastes like a recipe that has been mastered over generations. Tiny bubbles rim the glass of this light-bodied, dry and sweet-tart sip.
Oliver’s Cider and Perry Classic Perry
One of the more widely distributed ciders and perries from the United Kingdom, this sip even has perry in the name of its maker. Oliver’s award-winning Classic perry cold ferments Herefordshire-grown perry pears with wild yeasts, before it ages and is finally blended as a smooth, subtle and slightly sweet sipper with plenty of furry acid and tannin.
WildCraft Cider Works Restoration Perry
The Restoration Perry is made from fruit grown the Willamette Valley in Oregon, a region well known for its fruit growing and subsequent alcohol making. WildCraft Cider Works did everything right with this fairly sweet and acidic perry. Made with wild pears and yeast, this drink makes perfect use of the region’s abundant resources.
Finnriver Farm & Cidery Perry
It’s not too easy to find a traditional, French-style perry in the U.S.,but this perry from Finnriver in Washington aspires to be so, crafted from Hendre Huffcap, Yellow Huffcap and Romanian perry varietals. Everything about this perry is clean and crisp like a sparkling wine.
Blackduck Cidery Perry
This delightful perry from Blackduck comes out of the Finger Lakes in New York. Made mostly from foraged pears with a bit of culinary pears added to the final blend, the unfiltered perry is uncarbonated but light enough so it doesn’t feel flat or syrupy. Drinking this perry takes you from a sweet start to a powerful sour finish that leads you right back into your next sip.
Argus Cidery Ginger Perry
Argus Cidery from Austin was one of the first cideries in Central Texas and has been churning out dry ciders for almost a decade. The Ginger Perry is no exception to the theme of bone-dry drinks, showing off the delicateness of the fruit and carrying all of that ripe pear flavor over into the drink. The spicy ginger finish is just enough to set this perry apart from others you may have tried.