Everyone recognizes the spirits produced on the richly historic property of Tuthilltown Spirits in Gardiner; bottles of Hudson Baby Bourbon and Hudson Manhattan Rye now adorn the top shelves of bars around the world. But when the folks at Tuthilltown decided to rebrand their restaurant to align more closely with their mission, the question was how to incorporate that grain-to-glass mentality into the new menu.
The updated farm-to-table menu highlights the roots, flavors, and history of the Hudson Valley. With some inspiration from the indigenous Iroquois and Algonquin food cultures, the menu will continue to pair seasonally fresh foods in countless combinations as they change throughout the year.
The fried chicken sandwich at Char 1788 packs a satisfying crunch. Photo by Char 1788
Perhaps the most obvious way the Tuthilltown Spirits mentality has been integrated into the menu at Char 1788 is by showcasing their spirits in a number of dishes. For instance, the pork belly appetizer with charred nectarine, walnuts, and arugula has a Hudson Manhattan Rye reduction. A variety of textures and tastes work together to kick off your meal with this completely craveable starter.
Side dishes may typically bring about feelings of ho-hum, but the Brussels sprouts with citrus soy glaze, lime, and a generous sprinkle of sesame seeds will arrive with crispy leaves and soft centers. In the same addictive fashion of potato chips, it’s incredible how quickly they disappear.
Details linking the origins of the locally sourced ingredients, a few fun facts about the whiskey-making process, and an overview of Tuthilltown products are cleverly included on the placemats. However, don’t be afraid to ask the staff if you want to know more about any of the particulars. How else could you find out the meaning behind Gertrude’s Nose, a cocktail tribute to the lookout of the same name in Minnewaska State Park and a nod to founder Ralph Enzo’s original intention for the site to be a campground for rock climbers?
Left to right: the charred onion soup and the crispy pork belly appetizer at Char 1788 / Photos by Char 1788
Even if you don’t normally indulge in sweets, leave room for any one of the decadent desserts offered, including Tuthill macarons or a Hudson Whiskey “Flight.” These confections, featuring Half Moon Orchard Gin, Indigenous Apple Vodka, and a number of Hudson whiskeys, are not your conventional cookies or cake.
Char 1788 is open daily and offers brunch on weekends. Both the restaurant and property continue to be available for private events and parties. Tuthilltown products are available for purchase in the visitor center.
20 Gristmill Lane, Gardiner, 845.419.2961