Orange County Gets its Own Historical Drink

Will debut with unique recipe and local ingredients with start of Tavern Trail series
April 27, 2016 Updated: April 27, 2016

Andrew Jackson Downing, a famous 19th century landscape designer and horticulturist who lived in Newburgh, now has a drink named after him, the first signature drink of the Historical Tavern Trail of the Hudson Valley series, the County announced April 13.

The Apple Jack Downing as the drink is called, is made from ingredients grown in the county and was created by mixologist Donnan Sutherland from Soons Orchard in New Hampton.

Orange County Historian Johanna Yaun said she and a consultant Matthew Kierstead from Milestone Heritage Consulting came up with the concept, but let the mixologist create a recipe that he felt was quintessentially Orange County before naming it.

“He felt like the apple should be the first one that we feature because of all the apple orchards [in Orange County],” Yaun said. “We found some of the articles that Andrew Jackson Downing had written about fruit and fruit trees so … it was a no-brainer.”

She said they had been looking for a way to honor Andrew Jackson Downing for a while as a historical figure who was local to the County.

The cocktail will debut with the start of the Tavern Trail series.

The drink has apple cider, peach schnapps, applejack brandy and a slice of apple as garnish.

The cocktail will debut with the start of the Tavern Trail series April 29 and will be available at any of the seven participating Tavern Trail venues from April to October.

“Although it [the Tavern Trail] is happening over seven nights stretched over seven months, the cocktail seems like a great way to make kind of a glue to hold the whole event together,” said Kierstead, who has been hired by the County to put on the Tavern Trail series.

“We’re inventing a new drink that we think will appeal to a modern audience, but we’re using history to tell the story of each place,” Yaun said

She said there are plenty of historical drink recipes around, but creating a new drink and tying it to a piece of local history she thought was a first.

If the idea proves popular, Yaun said, they would like to do another one next year.

“We’re hoping that as we add restaurants and venues to this trail, it will be like a self-sustaining program,” she said.

The Tavern Trail events, put on by the County, will be held on the last Friday of the month between 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend each event, which will kick off with a “history happy hour.” Yaun, the tavern/restaurant owner and an invited local expert will follow with a brief presentation on a local history topic. Anyone staying for dinner at 7:00 p.m. must RSVP directly with the restaurant.

April 29: North Plank Road Tavern, Newburgh

May 27: Erie Hotel and Restaurant, Port Jervis

June 24: Iron Forge Inn, Warwick

July 29: Painter’s Restaurant, Cornwall

August 26: Chateau Hathorn, Warwick

September 30: Schlesinger’s Steak House, New Windsor 

October 28: Ward’s Bridge Inn, Montgomery

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