Four years ago, acclaimed historic gardener Justin Stelter planted Kieffer heirloom pear trees in espalier on the grounds of Carnton Plantation. This Saturday night, those pears will be featured in the Heritage Pear, a specialty cocktail created for the 39th Annual Heritage Ball to be held on the adjacent Eastern Flank Battlefield Park."The 'Kieffer' Pear was discovered around 1860, and continues to be popular in the South because they are disease- and insect-resistant, and are self-fruiting," said Stelter, who has restored the historic gardens at Carnton and at The Hermitage, home of Andrew Jackson, in Nashville. "They flower white in the spring, and the fruit ripens to a beautiful golden hue in late August or September."
The Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County turned to Burger Up Cool Springs' General Manager and Mixologist Ross Powells to create something special based on the pears for the Ball's cocktail hour.
"Pear is a really nice fall flavor, and it lends itself to making a great cocktail," Powells said. "This drink is not too sweet. It has a good balance, a little bubble on top and fits perfectly with such a beautiful September event."
The Heritage Pear's base is Heroes Vodka, a local brand carried by Lipman that was founded by United States Marine Corps veteran Travis McVey, and donates a portion of proceeds to support veterans. Other ingredients include Brillet Pear Liqueur, Emeri Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, and a syrup and garnish created by Powells from the Carnton pears.
Heritage Ball Chair Jennifer Parker participated in a recent tasting, and says the concept is just another illustration of the Heritage Foundation's focus on preserving the things that matter.
"This event is about celebrating our history and our efforts to preserve it," Parker said. "The Ball is being held on the ground where these pears were grown, and it's a perfect tie-in with the harvest season and our farm-to-table menu. It's extra special that we can support Heroes as a local brand and give back in some small way to our veterans."
All proceeds from the 39th Annual Heritage Ball benefit the work of the Heritage Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect and preserve the architectural, geographic and cultural heritage of Franklin and Williamson County, and to promote the ongoing economic revitalization of downtown Franklin in the context of historic preservation. For more information, visitwww.historicfranklin.com. The event is sold out.