Category Archives: BOUTIQUE SHOPS

Shopping Local At Reverie Creamery

I just finished some pistachio gelato that I picked up today at Reverie Creamery.

I tasted a few cheeses while I was at the shop, but aside from their main stock-in-trade I was really impressed with all the exclusive local products they’re selling.

I know this is a cocktail blog, but as my Farm To Table posts showed this past summer — I’m also very interested in showcasing my corner of Western New York. Plus, even though they’re not food or drink products, some of the stuff I saw at Reverie (like the clove-scented soaps from the Chautauqua Soap Company) still had me thinking about flavors and bitters and possible cocktails:


In the photo below is a locally-made cutting board  as well as local honey:


And here’s a closer look at the honey:  

I should’ve gotten a photo of all the unique gelato and sorbet flavors, as well as the several styles of pickles and cornichons — but I’ll have to leave that for next visit. 

Just as with the locally-made items Reverie was stocking from makers within Chautauqua County, they also sold items from makers elsewhere in the state — like products by the Brooklyn Brine Company. I’d never seen or heard of “Whiskey Sour Pickles” or styles like Maple Bourbon Bread & Butter until my stop at Reverie yesterday.

3943 Route 394
Mayville, NY 14757

From their website:

Founded by Riko Chandra and Jim Howard, Reverie is a newly established artisan cheesemaking company in Mayville, Chautauqua County, NY. Initially, Reverie will focus on small batch production of artisan cheeses made from goat’s milk. Our artisan products will reflect a meaningful relationship to the land and Western New York’s agricultural heritage through which we connect, experience and savor the flavors of our place and region.


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Rochester Cocktail Revival

It was a whirlwind weekend for my wife and I, with the Rochester Cocktail Revival being the focus of my Saturday and Sunday.

The Rochester Cocktail Revival started mid-week, but I wasn’t able to make it to the city until early Saturday morning.

The first event I attended was Robert Simonson’s seminar on the Old Fashioned cocktail. A lot of the hour spent at Good Luck restaurant for the event was Simonson giving an overview of his book about the drink, with all of us mixing our own Old Fadhioned as he spoke.

It was a great way to start my Saturday. Simonson was funny and informative. Dale DeGroff was in attendance. I drank the most delicious Old Fashioned I’ve ever had and I made it myself, for the most part. All the ingredients were laid out for us when we arrived and we just simply had to assemble the drink. I even waited around after the seminar and hassled Simonson for a photo, which he was nice enough to pose for and some fellow RCR-goers took for me.

The full roster of the festival’s events is still online here. Check out what you missed. And a pic from the Old Fashioned seminar is included in the collage below:

After the Old Fashioned session at Good Luck (and my wife’s visit to the Memorial Art Gallery), we headed over to Abode where RCR swag was being sold and the Queen City Shaken & Stirred “pop-up shop” was located.

Abode was by far one of our favorite places of the trip. I bought bitters and browsed the cocktail books by writers who were speaking at the festival. And we bought a vintage piece of artwork they were selling at the shop. Plus it was by far some of the best customer service we got all weekend. The women working at the shop were helpful and pleasant and the shop just generally had a fun and lighthearted sort of energy. 

Afterward we went to the Lilac Festival and then later had drinks at Cheshire — the French 75, Black Walnut Toronto and Cosmopolitan’s Delight.

We spent a short few minutes at Good Luck, but the place was bustling and had a more intense energy level than we were looking for on our Saturday night. I had a shot of Fernet-Branca and a free shot of Mister Katz’s Rock & Rye, which was the brand sponsor of the night.

On Sunday I attended “The Art Atop The Tipple” seminar at Pour Coffee Parlor while my wife was at the George Eastman House. 

All weekend long my family kept asking me: “An hour-and-a-half long seminar on garnishes!?”

Yes, an hour-and-a-half long seminar on garnishes.

During the event I tasted champagne which the bartenders running the seminar had turned into a solid, gelatinous form resembling the size and shape of caviar.

It was an interesting event that was definitely worth attending, and the four speakers talked about traditional garnishes, artsy flourishes, molecular mixology, herbs, plants, growing seasons, simple syrup, shrubs and more. There was even an ISI Whip demonstration.

Afterward, my wife and I ate brunch on Park Ave. and then went to the “Farm To Shaker” tasting event at Black Button Distillery.


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Mint Juleps At Bag & String

I just left Bag & String and today they’re sampling customers on Mint Juleps!

The tasting runs until 6 p.m. Stop on out!

Thanks for hosting such a great tasting Samuel Whitmore, Betsy Goldman and Renee Zahm!

And lastly, Bag & String’s recipe:


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New To Me: Gran Classico

This was my main purchase from yesterday’s stop at Bag & String:


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Bitters At Bag & String

Shot this pic today while shopping for booze at Bag & String in Lakewood:


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Pappy Van Winkle In Western New York

A local wine shop posted a picture online the other day that sent a few of my Facebook friends and I into full-on bourbon geek mode.

Bag & String Wine Merchants in Lakewood are a boon to have in the area. They’ve got an amazing selection of not only wines but also great spirits. The staff are friendly and knowledgable and the shop goes the extra mile, doing tastings and a monthly wine club and more.

And now they have three bottles of Pappy Van Winkle.

In their Facebook post, the shop said it’d acquired three bottles from a private collector — the 12, 15 and 20 year expressions.

Here’s their full post, screen-captured from my phone:

Pappy Van Winkle:

Pappy Van Winkle is a brand of bourbon owned by the “Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery” company (which does not actually own or operate a distillery, but rather has it produced under a contract with another company).

Pappy Van Winkle is distilled and bottled by the Sazerac Company at its Buffalo Trace Distillery. The brand is regarded as one of the finest bourbons in the world, and is rare to find on the market due to its very low production and high demand.

Further Reading:

Here is a link to a lengthy and interesting read, which bills itself as “The Complete Guide To Pappy Van Winkle.”

From their website:

Bag & String Wine Merchants is a boutique rare wine and liquor store with an emphasis on value and unique wines from around the globe.
Our primary goals are to provide unparalleled service, wine education and a selection that meets consumers’ needs and budget. Bag & String Wine Merchants — Purveyors of fine wine and spirits.


The shop is located at 119 Chautauqua Avenue in Lakewood,N.Y., just west of Jamestown. For more info visit the shop’a website online here.



Queen City Shaken & Stirred

Last night I saw Neil Diamond at First Niagara.

It was a whirlwind 24-hour trip with my wife and her mother, but we managed to do quite a bit of drinking, dining and shopping during our overnight stay.

Photo by The Buffalo News

First up was some spiced rum in the hotel room and then an Ithaca Flower Power IPA and a Sierra Nevada Torpedo at the show.

There was more beer to follow, much more… But everything after “Cracklin’ Rosie” was pretty much a hot mess and, most importantly, what I really want to write about here is Queen City Shaken & Stirred.

Before I get to that though, here’s what The Buffalo News had to say about the concert.

At some point when I was writing my post Monday about Buffalo Proper, I stumbled upon info about Queen City Shaken & Stirred — a boutique supply shop for bartenders and home mixologists.

If you like barware and craft cocktails, then Queen City Shaken & Stirred is going to be your new favorite store. If you’re in Buffalo, just remember that the shop’s not far from Elmwood — and is located at 1455 Hertel Avenue. Look ’em up online here.

It’s not hyperbole or even cliche of me to write that I was like a “kid in a candy store.” I wanted everything I saw, even the things they were selling which I already own. The only thing that kept me from grabbing everything I saw was making a promise to myself that I’ll return as soon as possible.

I was politely greeted when I entered the shop, and the two people working gave me enough personal space to browse comfortably — checking up on me only once or twice and even offering helpful info about out-of-stock items.

Everything about the experience was very chill. The items in the shop are perfectly displayed, almost in a minimalist sort of way. When I had questions, staff had answers. We chatted briefly about the vintage and unique booze bottles on display… And had I known then what I know now from checking out the shop’s Instagram page, I would’ve asked about the occasional classes and speakers they host.

What specifically was there to buy? Well, pretty much any fancy glassware a person might need, but also an impressive selection of bitters and flavored syrups (not to mention tools like jiggers, bar spoons, ice molds, Hawthornes, julep strainers, shaker tins and mallets).

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