Last night, I had the good fortune to spend some time imbibing amazing cocktails at the Bradstreet Crafthouse. Among the delicacies I sampled brandy from the William Birne distillery.  Between bites of dangerously tasty acorn squash gratin, I looked up just in time to see the bottle from which the spirit came, which included a fist-sized, bobbing… thing… in it.  

Apparently I forgot the difference between my inside and outside voice, because the bartender busted out laughing at me.  The conversation went something like this:

Bartender: “Did you just ask if it’s a pig foot?”

Me: ”Um, yeah, I guess I did. I don’t know why I thought it would be a pig’s foot. Or hoof. Whatever. But what is it?” 

Bartender: ”A pear.” 

Me: “How’d they get it in the bottle?”

Bartender: “They grow them in the bottles.”

Me: ”What! No they don’t.”

Bartender: ”Yes they do.  Google it.”

I decided to save the Googling for this morning, which meant I spent the rest of the evening imagining magical landscapes filled with trees covered in glass bottles glinting in the sunshine.  I’m no artist (plus I only had three colored pencils and no eraser) and this sketch does my imagination little justice, but here’s what I’d been hoping the Google gods would reveal to me:

Sarah Brumble - Drawing of Imagined Bottled Pears Growing on Trees - Blog

…Literally, bottled pears growing on trees.  In reality, the process looks more like this:

Grow Pear in a Bottle on Tree - Pear Brandy - Atlas Obscura Blog

(All rights reserved: Edward Gowans Photography)

I guess the more practical side of me knew all along that a whole tree full of glass bottles would probably render the exercise pointless.  

Too many bottles = Broken limbs = Fruit can’t grow.  

Regardless, I’ve spent the past two hours looking up information, images, and videos on how to grow pears in bottles, and the practice has yet to become less strange in my mind.  Please find the video below, as guided by an eccentric little man who gleefully instructs us how to grow our own pears in bottles on trees. 

For those of you who plan ahead, just think how many gifts could be knocked out for the Holiday Season 2011!