Tag Archives: WESTFIELD

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

My Press Release In The Post-Journal

Clever headline: 

 

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Filed under COCKTAIL CONTESTS

My Picture In The Dunkirk Newspaper

  

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My Top Cocktails Of 2015

The next few weeks will be full of lists and year-in recaps getting linked on Facebook and every o social media site.

And I’m not going to lie — I love that crap.

Somewhere in all the listicles, recaps and prediction pieces, I’ll inevitably learn something — which makes all the digging around in the dirt worthwhile.

In the meantime though, here’s a quickly-cobbled together recap of five memorable cocktails I was served this past year:

#5
Manhattan
Brazill’s On Main
Westfield, N.Y.

 

It’s a rare treat to go out and get waited on by someone when most of your nights are spent working in the service industry.

I’ve had two really nice meals at Brazill’s On Main in Westfield, N.Y. — and I’ve had several great drinks! The owner is an older guy and every time I’ve been to the place, he’s been the one behind the bar mixing up drinks.

The Manhattan pictured above was expertly done, and had an extra little kick of flavor — maybe from the (what I assume were) house-made cherries. My father-in-law and I were picking up subtle notes of cinnamon and other flavors. All-in-all an excellent night and a memorable drink.

#4
Mint Julep
Bag & String Wine Merchants
Lakewood, N.Y.

 

I’m so lucky to have Bag & String in this area.

If you’re new to the blog, I mention them a lot.

This past Derby Day the staff had prepared a pitcher of Mint Juleps to promote the many bourbons available at the shop.

I swung by for a quick sip and also to shoot the above pic, as any reason for a blog post is reason enough! And I’d mentioned to Betsy (pictured) that Jeffrey Morgenthaler had a dynamite recipe for mint syrup… Which can be found online here.

#3
Dill Breaker
Vera Pizzeria
Buffalo, N.Y.

  

Dill-infused mezcal with ginger syrup and lime. Had this on Halloween. Strange and tasty. Very worthwhile.

#2
Spin The Bottle
Buffalo Proper
Buffalo, N.Y.

  

Alright, so… Obviously this is a picture of me, but the drink I’m holding is my “Dealer’s Choice” cocktail. You see, on the menu at Buffalo Proper is something called “Spin The Bottle,” where you tell your bartender or waitress what sorts of things you like — and they craft you a drink of their choosing.

For this drink I mentioned amaros (amari?) and even mentioned Fernet-Branca and Campari, but what I got was something black and bitter, but juicy — maybe made with Aperol or Ramazzotti? I’ll never know. But I enjoyed it. Immensely.

#1
Boulevardier
Arendell Room
Moorehead City, N.C.

 

Another “Dealer’s Choice” drink with whiskey and amaro/bitter being the only things I mentioned. 

I’ve made plenty of Boulevardiers for myself in recent years, but sometimes a drink just tastes so much better when someone else is making it for you.

Other Drinks Worth Mentioning 

•A black walnut drink at Cheshire in Rochester made with Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters.
•Old Fashioneds at Good Luck with Robert Simonson.
•Champagne before Phantom of the Opera.

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Filed under 2015, DESTINATION COCKTAILS, DRINKS

Thank You, Grape Discovery Center

The Lake Erie Grape Discovery Center posted this on their Facebook today:

  
I really had a lot of fun Saturday at this event!

And I was in good company:

  
Thank you to the organizers, to my fellow competitors/friends and to the audience members who came out to support us!

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Drinks At Brazill’s

Last night I had dinner and drinks at Brazill’s on Main in Westfield, N.Y.

It was my second time at the restaurant, and it was as great an experience as my first visit — if not better.

I had a rye Manhattan to start:


I also had a bourbon & cider drink:


Even though it’s within Chautauqua County, Brazill’s is a bit of a hike from Jamestown — and I don’t get there often enough because the place is open the same hours as when I’m usually working at my restaurant.

Last night was a bit of a surprise night off though, and I tried to make the most of it.

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Filed under BARS, BOURBON, RYE WHISKEY, WESTFIELD

Bittermens Available At Five & 20

Need a little something extra to take your mixology game to the next level?

Well, whille I was tasting spirits and craft beer at Five & 20 in Westfield yesterday, I noticed that they’re selling several Bittermens products alongside their in-house products and other merch.

Here’s a picture I took of their selection:

  

More than just bitters, Bittermens makes Citrates and Shrubs. More on those in a minute, but first, here’s a list of the bottles I saw on display at Five & 20 yesterday:

BITTERMENS AT FIVE & 20:

  • Boston Bittahs
  • Burlesque Bitters
  • ‘Elemakule Tiki Bitters
  • Hopped Grapefruit Bitters
  • Orange Cream Citrate
  • Orchard Street Celery Shrub
  • Xocolatl Mole Bitters

Small batch bitters have become extremely desirable in recent years as the ongoing renaissance in craft cocktails and mixology continues to boom.

Bittermens makes all its products by hand at its New Orleans facility from primarily organic ingredients. The company was founded by Avery and Janet Glasser and dates back to early 2007, when the pair were trying to make an extract of a traditional Mexican cooking sauce — which became their Xocolatl Mole Bitters.

There’s more info about the company and their products online at Bittermens.com.

CITRATES & SHRUBS:

For their Orange Cream Citrate, Bittermens uses citric acid instead of phosphoric acid to create an orange tincture that’s a riff on the classic sodajerk orange cream soda syrup.

A “Shrub” is also known as “drinking vinegar,” a beverage that dates back to colonial times and is made by combining vinegars with sugar and either fruits or vegetables. I made raspberry and blueberry shrubs last summer, as I posted here. And Bittermens produces a celery shrub, which Five & 20 is currently selling.

Where else can you get bitters in Chautauqua County?

BAG & STRING — If you’re looking for even more craft bitters, check out Bag & String. Last time I was in the Lakewood shop, they were stocking four flavors by The Bitter Truth — as well as a sampler pack which the company offers.

WEGMANS — Wegmans usually has both Angostura and Fee Brothers. Most all the other supermarkets in the county only have Angostura as far as I’ve seen.

CHAUTAUQUA RESTAURANT SUPPLY — Located down by McCrea Point in Jamestown is Chautauqua Restaurant Supply — where last time I checked, they stock Fee Brothers.

FORTE — Lastly, if you come see me at Forte in Jamestown, we currently have The Bitter Truth’s grapefruit bitters and Peychaud’s in addition to Angostura, Fee Brothers and Angostura Orange. Of course, unlike the avove mentioned locations, our bitters aren’t for sale. We just keep a variety in house for shaking up cocktails.


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Filed under BARS, BITTERS & TINCTURES, BITTERS BRANDS, BRANDS, CITRATES, MIXERS, SHRUBS, WESTFIELD

Five & 20 Spirits

Today my wife and I were back out at antique shops and wineries.

Seeing a pattern in these posts?

While our day trip didn’t net me another vintage cocktail book, I did get a tour of Mazza Winery’s Five & 20 Spirits:

  

Five & 20 Spirits is located at Mazza’s Chautauqua Cellars location on Route 20 in Westfield. The site houses the company’s Christian Carl brand still (and will soon be the site of a new, larger still, we learned).

My wife’s parents met us in the tasting room where there was not only wine and liquor to sample, but also Five & 20’s brand-new beer offerings.

I’ve tasted the company’s bourbon before, so today I headed straight for their rye whiskey — followed by their bier schnapps and two of their new beers.

One of the Five & 20 guys was working in the tasting room and offered to take my father-in-law and I on a tour of their still room and storage warehouse.

Notes From The Tour:

The Christian Carl still was impressive, and is capable of both pot still distillation and column distillation. The still wasn’t in use and was being prepared for a cleaning, so our guide disassembled a “porthole” for us and let us take a look inside.

The tour was nice because we got to hear a lot about both the kinks in starting up a distillery as well as the successes. From making mash to distillation to storage and bottling, there are a ton of elements involved with producing the several spirits that Five & 20 is making — and they’re coming out ahead it seems, doing good work and building on their accomplishments.

Back to the still…. The thing’s powered by steam, and we got to see the engine room, so to speak. The temperature that thing has to reach in order to fire the still is just insane.

The secondary structure next to Chautauqua Cellars is more than just a warehouse, it’s Five & 20’s rick house — or rick room, I guess. The filled barrels are stacked in the corner of the warehouse next to the window facing the road, and our guide said the room will soon be filling up with more stacks of barrels, which is an exciting prospect.

More notes about the spirits I tasted are below, but first another photo:  

What I Sampled Today:

  • Rye Whiskey (SB)2RW:

Batch #2 was crafted to be smoother and more approachable than many rye whiskeys. The spirit was pot-distilled and was aged for 18 months in smaller barrels, all of which were new charred American Oak.

Five & 20’s website describes it as having “the spicy grain character of rye and the sweet caramel & vanilla flavors of high quality oak barrels.”

The mash bill is 80% New York-grown rye and 20% distiller’s malt.

On a side note, it’s nice to see that their tech sheet for the spirit not only has a recommended cocktail recipe, but that it’s more than just something basic — specifically, the Westfield Wallop requires both Galliano and strawberry purée. 

45% ABV

  • Afterburner Bierschnapps AB2S:

Five & 20’s Afterburner Bierschnapps are a grain-based spirit created by distilling a finished barley wine. 

On their website, FIve & 20 suggest using the bierschnapps as a stand-in for gin — and now I wish I would’ve had a flask of genever  for side-by-side sipping and comparison, because that spirit is so malty and intersting as well.

50.5% ABV

  • Pale Ale:

Medium-bodied pale ale  with hops for light, fruity, citrus flavors. —  5.4% ABV

  • Rye Pale Ale:

Light-bodied pale ale with spicy grain flavor from its rye malt. — 6.2% ABV

As of this visit, Five & 20’s three beers were only available from the tap. The good news though is that they refill growlers and are selling blank growlers right now, with branded growlers expected to arrive soon. Our guide told us that there isn’t any immediate plan to do 12 oz bottles, but plans for cans and 22 oz bottles are in the works.

What I Didn’t Taste Today:

There’s always next time:

  • Bourbon (SB)2BW — Even though I’ve tasted their bourbon before, that bottle wasn’t mine and so I don’t know whether it’s the same stuff they’re sampling there in the tasting room now.

  • Unaged Corn Whiskey
  • Unaged White Rye Whiskey
  • Limoncello
  • Manhattan Moonshine
  • Sugarwash Moonshine
  • Three Hunters Vodka
  • Apple Eau de Vie
  • Plum Eau de Vie
  • Cherry Eau de Vie
  • Pear Eau de Vie
  • Pear in the Bottle (sale only)
  • Grappa of Steuben

Much of the info in this post came straight from the Five & 20 website, which is online at Five & 20.com.

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Filed under ANTIQUES, CRAFT BEER, RYE WHISKEY, WESTFIELD, WHISKEY, WINE, WINERIES