The Down Easter Cocktail

The Down Easter Cocktail Recipe

At the first signs of fall, we round up our friends and the makings for this Down Easter cocktail and head north to a remote lake in the great state of Maine for a rejuvenating weekend of canoeing, fishing, and hiking. Long, leisurely days spent outdoors inevitably lead to afternoon drinks dockside. It only takes a few rounds of cocktails for us to truly start believing the state slogan, “Maine. The way life should be.”–Eric Prum and Josh Williams

LC Down Easter Note

“Down Easter” is defined by Merriam-Webster as “one born or living down east.” Historically, it refers to a late 19th-century ship that ran between Boston and points north, including Maine. More colloquially, it means anyone from Maine. And apparently, it also means this lovely apple cider-y cocktail, perfect for sipping during any New England season, especially autumn. [Editor’s Note: Gee, we wonder if David has ever sipped a Down Easter during his summers in Maine….] A word of advice: You may want to go ahead and make a double batch of the apple cider syrup to have on hand for Down Easter cravings, because as our testers can attest, you’re going to fancy more than just a couple cocktails. Trust us.

Special Equipment: Cocktail shaker

The Down Easter Cocktail Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 45 M
  • Serves 2


  • For the apple cider syrup
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1 strip orange zest, preferably organic
  • For the down easter
  • 2 shots (3 ounces) apple cider syrup
  • 3 shots (4 1/2 ounces) bourbon
  • 1 shot (1 1/2 ounces) fresh lemon juice
  • Ice
  • 2 strips orange zest, preferably organic, for garnish


  • Make the apple cider syrup
  • 1. Throw the apple cider and orange zest in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue boiling until it’s reduced to 1/2 cup (4 ounces), about 30 minutes total. Strain and refrigerate until chilled through before using.
  • Make the Down Easter
  • 2. Add the 3 ounces apple cider syrup, bourbon, and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker. Add enough ice to rise above the liquid in the shaker and shake vigorously for 15 seconds.
  • 3. Strain the mixture into coupes or cocktail glasses of your choice and garnish with the orange zest.
Thirsty for more? Sip on these:

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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Elie Nassar

Oct 10, 2014

What can I say? I absolutely loved this Down Easter cocktail. It's just perfect with notes of candied apple, a good dose of bourbon, and a hit of sharp lemon that prevents it from being too cloying. I highly suggest making double the quantity of the cider syrup because the amount called for is only enough for 2 drinks, and you will want more of this baby.

Testers Choice
Julie Houser

Oct 10, 2014

The only problem with this Down Easter recipe (excuse me while I take a sip) is that the reduced apple cider only allows for 2 cocktails (another sip). The apple cider reduced easily and quickly, a single lemon gave me exactly the needed measurement, and a lovely old bourbon rounded the cocktail out perfectly. I served it in martini glasses with a large whiskey ice cube. The lemon does make the drink a bit tart. I think 2/3 lemon juice to 1/3 orange juice would make it just a touch smoother...however (sip…sip…), no one in this house is complaining. Except that there's not enough for us to have another...and that makes us sad.

Testers Choice
Mike S.

Oct 10, 2014

This Down Easter cocktail was fantastic. If you like a whiskey sour, you'll like this. Think of it as a whiskey sour's older and richer uncle. It took me about 25 minutes to boil the cider down, although next time I'll do a larger amount. This makes a great martini but is also equally good on the rocks in a double old-fashioned glass.

  1. Michael Bartholomew says:

    “Down East” refers to not just Maine, but that part of Maine, which when traveling to, from the South requires one to go East and then South(down)- the most easterly northern part of the State, and of the United States. I use Boiled Cider that is made in Springfield VT, Good drink! Thanks.

  2. Born and raised in Central Maine and I’ve never heard of this wonderful cocktail. Now that I live (from away) in Australia, it’s tough to find fresh cider, especially in Spring. It’s on my Autumn try list. ayuh.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Wishing you luck tracking down the cider, Maureen, and looking forward to hearing what you think of the drink…

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