Category Archives: DISTILLERIES

Drinks At Bird In Westfield, N.Y.

Saturday was a gorgeous day in Western New York and I spent a portion of my afternoon at Bird in Westfield, N.Y.


Bird is located on the back porch at Five & 20 Spirits & Brewing in Westfield and has ties with 1201 Kitchen in Erie, Pa.

The venue itself is a walk-up, open-air kitchen & service counter/bar situated under the spacious pavilion on Five & 20’s back patio.

On Saturday there were two cocktails advertised at the back bar. I’m not sure whether drinks are limited to the daily specialty cocktails Bird creates or whether simple drinks like whiskey & ginger ale can be purchased, but I was there for their suggested beverages anyway and didn’t even think to inquire.

Saturday’s Cocktail Offerings


Buffalo Negra 


Gentleman Johnson


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Filed under BARS, BOURBON, BRANDS, BREWERIES, DESTINATION COCKTAILS, DISTILLERIES, RYE WHISKEY, WHISKEY

Southern Tier Citrus Gin

I went to the Southern Tier Distilling Company yesterday and bought a bottle of Citrus Gin, and made myself this cocktail with Cactus Fruit — AKA prickly pear.

I figure I’ll call it a Stoneman Circle Sour.


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Filed under DISTILLERIES, GIN, LIQUOR, NEW PRODUCT

Opening Weekend At Southern Tier Distilling Company

I couldn’t make it Friday or Saturday, but I finally made it this afternoon to Southern Tier’s new distillery:


That’s the distillery’s London Dry gin mixed with ginger beer in the pic.

I also tried their 100 proof corn whiskey and Maple Spirit — made with local syrup.

The distillery offers single shot tastings, flights of four different 1 oz samplers or cocktails. Today being Sunday, the distillery workers were making Bloody Marys with their house vodka — as well as the Mojitos, Moscow Mules and other drinks they’d been mixing all weekend.

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Filed under BARS, BRANDS, DISTILLERIES, NEW PRODUCT

Notes From The Farm To Table

Last night I tended bar at the Athenaeum’s Farm-To-Table Dinner.

Although I was tending bar, I was only making three specialty cocktails — all from a limited menu of drinks which used locally-sourced ingredients:

  
The meal was prepared by Chef Travis Bensink of the Athenaeum Hotel’s Heirloom Restaurant and Chef Julie Scheira of Forte in Jamestown.

I feel really lucky today to have been a part of the event yesterday. I learned a lot and met a lot of great people. The chefs helped me throughout the process, from the first brain-storming sessions to the last-minute details of setting up. My wife was super supportive and helped me throughout the several hours of set-up yesterday afternoon.

There are a lot of great local businesses which specialize in certain food items, and it was nice to see the spotlight on them. For myself, I was just really happy to have a chance to challenge myself and work within a different set of parameters doing stuff that’s a little atypical of traditional bar service.

But enough blathering. Here are a few more photos from the event:

  
One of the courses came paired with a beer from Five and 20 Spirits & Brewery:

  

In addition to the theee cocktails I was making before the dinner, I did create a cocktail to pair with the chicken & waffles course.

I’ve got to give a big thanks to the Southern Tier Brewing Company for giving us a firkin of their one-off kettle sour beer, which used all local ingredients.

The beer was so tart and funky that I wanted to use it in a rum sour, which I made with blackstrap rum, lemon juice, lime juice, falernum syrup, simple syrup and, of course, a hefty pour of the kettle sour beer from Southern Tier Brewing Company.

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Filed under BEER, BRANDS, CHAUTAUQUA INSTITUTION, COCKTAIL MENU, CRAFT BEER, DISTILLERIES, ORIGINAL COCKTAIL RECIPE, RYE WHISKEY, WESTFIELD

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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Filed under 2015, BARS, BITTERS & TINCTURES, BITTERS BRANDS, BOUTIQUE SHOPS, BRANDS, DISTILLERIES, ROCHESTER, ROCHESTER BARS, ROCHESTER SHOPS

Black Button Distilling — Lilac Gin

  
BLACK BUTTON DISTILLING
ROCHESTER, N.Y.

Rochester, New York-based Black Button Distilling, which produces Corn Whiskey, Citrus Forward Gin, Vodka and Four Grain Bourbon variants, is also set to release a limited edition Lilac Gin (84 proof) to select liquor stores on May 1, packaged in 375-ml. bottles.

I took this news entirely from Good Spirits News, which cites Shanken News Daily.

I’ll be in Rochester this weekend for the Rochester Cocktail Revival. And I hope there’s time to visit the Black Button Distillery.

From Black Button’s website:

A tribute to the rich botanical heritage of “The Flower City” and home of the annual Rochester Lilac Festival, Black Button’s Lilac Gin is made with hand picked fresh lilac petals and complimentary botanicals.

“As a local company, we are always looking for ways to celebrate Rochester’s unique heritage,” said Jason Barrett, Rochester native and Black Button Distilling owner/head distiller. “The flowers of the Lilac Festival are a major part of our city’s identity. The ability to use local ingredients and showcase them in our own way is exactly what Black Button is all about,” he said.

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Filed under BRANDS, DISTILLERIES, FESTIVALS & EVENTS, GIN, NEW PRODUCT, ROCHESTER