The Down Easter cocktail is defined by Merriam-Webster as “one born or living down east.” We define it as this lovely apple cider-y cocktail.
Down Easter Cocktail. Just apple cider, bourbon, and citrus. Think of it as a whiskey sour’s older and richer uncle. [Editor’s Note: A word of advice: You may want to go ahead and make a double batch of the apple cider syrup, or an even higher multiple, right away just to have on hand. Because as our testers can attest, after just one sip, you’re going to fancy more than than this cocktail recipe makes. Trust us.]–Renee Schettler Rossi
How The Name
Curious about how the name Down Easter Cocktail name came to be? So were we. So we did a little research. “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 cool weather cocktail concocted from apple cider, bourbon, and citrus. [Editor’s Note: Actually, it makes for quite lovely sipping during any season. And not just in New England.]
Down Easter Cocktail
- Cocktail shaker
For the apple cider syrup
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1 strip orange zest preferably organic
For the Down easter cocktail
- 2 shots apple cider syrup
- 3 shots (4 1/2 ounces) bourbon
- 1 shot fresh lemon juice
- 2 strips orange zest preferably organic, for garnish
Make the apple cider syrup
- Add the apple cider and orange zest to a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue boiling until it’s reduced to 1/2 cup (4 ounces), which should take about 30 minutes, depending on the size of your pan and the heat of your flame. Strain, cover, and refrigerate until chilled through before using.
Make the Down Easter cocktail
- In a cocktail shaker, combine the 3 ounces apple cider syrup, bourbon, and lemon juice. Add enough ice to rise above the liquid in the shaker and shake vigorously for 15 seconds.
- Strain the mixture into coupes or cocktail glasses of your choice and garnish with the orange zest.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Originally published October 30, 2016