Adirondack Wine & Food Festival, Lake George NY 

Lake George, NY

The last few months of our lives have been insane, and that is absolutely why the husband and I needed a day trip out of Ithaca! Thanks to Lenn and New York Cork Report, I was gifted a pair of tickets for a day at the Adirondack Wine and Food Festival in Lake George (ADK FEST LAKE GEORGE LINK)–excellent opportunity for a day trip, so we hit the road on a sunny Finger Lakes Saturday morning for a three hour escape to Lake George and the Adirondacks.

Lake George, NY is a quaint, picturesque town in the Northeast of NY that comes alive Memorial Day-Labor Day: cottages, restaurants, boaters, and mini golf are the main things I recall from my youth, I spent a bit of time in elementary school at a friend’s lake cottage in the village–bbq’s, lake swimming, and dock jumping, mostly…but I randomly remember a Paul Bunyan mini golf course, and rainy days of complete, excruciating boredom.img_5080-1

My first reaction to a Food and Wine fest in Lake George was  initially surprise; would that little town attract enough wine lovers to make it an actual festival, or more of a little gatherings? There were over 60 vendors in attendance, from wineries, distillers, cideries, breweries, food trucks, and local artisans selling products ranging from goat milk soap and local cheeses all the way to fresh cut, organic potato chips and baked goods. Saturday looked like a sell out, and the crowds were enjoying the weather, the fresh air, and everything that the vendors had to offer. Long lines were friendly, and almost always worth the wait.

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Lake George, NY

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Lake George, NY

Right through the gate, we saw the booth pouring for Hudson Chatham Winery. I met winery co-owner Carlo DeVito at a Taste Camp event in the Hudson Valley two years ago, and am always on the lookout for their fantastic Old Vine Baco Noir. I had a chance to taste the 2014 vintage, which was absolutely one of my favorite wines of the afternoon…dark berry color, lots of body, and a smooth, lingering finish.

imageFinger Lakes wineries pouring included Americana Vineyards, Sweedish Hill, Goose Watch, Tug Hill, Miles Wine Cellars, and Three Brothers. Long lines and hot sun kept me from tasting many FLX wines, considering how close we are to the lake trails. I definitely had a great time tasting things that are harder to find at home.

Nine Pin Ciderworks out of Albany had some fantastic dry hard ciders; I really enjoyed the Signature Cider Blend, as well as the Ginger Hard Cider (infused with ginger and orange peel) and Blueberry (sparkling blush color, and infused with tart blueberries) for a surprisingly dry, but fruity cider. Really nice on such a hot, sunny day!

Harvest Spirits Farm Distillery is located just east of the Hudson River and situated on a 290 acre apple farm. Along with AppleJack and Vodka made with their own apples, they produce Core Black Raspberry Vodka, an incredibly light, fresh, and dry raspberry infused vodka. It would be incredible as a mixer, or standing on its own over ice, with a splash of seltzer. I need to make an effort to tour their distillery before we head for the West Coast. I love craft and local farm distilleries.

All in all, the festival was large enough to enjoy, but the crowds were manageable (except for a few food trucks) and everyone was really about enjoyment. I was very surprised at how many people in attendance were heavily tattooed, as well! Definitely not something I remembered about Lake George, but I was definitely asked for business cards, more than once!

Side note, the gal at the ID gate exclaimed our tattoos looked so ‘hardcore’ and asked if husband and I had any matching tattoos (which we do, but I had a momentary lapse of memory) which almost got me into trouble 😂 yes, we have matching Eiffel Towers that we had done at the Paris convention, two years ago!

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Lake George, NY

 

Happy National Drink Wine Day!

National Drink Wine Day

National Drink Wine Day

Today is February 18th, which means its National Drink Wine Day 🙂 Spreading the love of wine through social media, share what’s in your glass! Check out the website to follow along on Twitter and Facebook, and enjoy something fun tonight– let me know if you love what’s in your glass, because I absolutely want to try it 😉

http://www.facebook.com/drinkwineday

http://twitter.com/drinkwineday

My Last Tattoo for 2014: BoozyLife

Ready for round 2

Ready for round 2 and shading

Well, it seems appropriate that my last tattoo sitting this year will be with my husband, in our shop, and will complete the fancy lettering above my knees–BoozyLife. Why appropriate? Lefty traveled to Europe, Korea, and Japan this year, almost exclusively known for his fancy lettering. Now, I will finally have some of it on me to show off! Plus, I’m pretty invested in my new career path of beverage aficionado, so why not? Beverage aficionado, tattooed lady, dog mom. Sweet!

(L-R) Client, Norm, Big Sleeps, Lefty Bastard, Tin-Tin, and Boog Star, Paris 2014

(L-R) Client, Norm, Big Sleeps, Lefty Bastard, Tin-Tin, and Boog Star, Paris 2014

I’ve met some interesting wine writers and professionals that are intrigued by tattoos, and wino tattoo artists that want to tour wineries and distilleries. I’m looking forward to bringing my two favorite things together for another round. Stay tuned, there should be a YouTube channel coming soon…there will be things you need to SEE, not just read about. Trust me, kids.

So, what’s on for 2015? More Finger Lakes wine and spirit recognition, lots more travel, more tattoos….and who knows…who would buy a BoozyLife wine bag? I’m thinking it’s time to start a BoozyLife revolution 😉

 

Field to Glass Whiskey in New York State–Hillrock Estate Distillery in the Hudson Valley

Hillrock Distillery

Hillrock Distillery

Copper Still at HillRock

Copper Still at HillRock

I love distilleries and spirits. I’ve worked babysitting a still at more than one winery as the cellar rat, and there is something so old school about the process. A few weeks ago, I was tasting through the Hudson Valley with TasteCamp 2014. We were lucky enough to have one of the largest distillery tastings ever in NY, with over fourteen local distillers representing their products and specialties. The tasting was set at Hillrock Estate Distillery, about two hours north of New York City. Worth the trip if you can escape the city for a day, this place is special-and so is everyone involved with it.

Belly up to the bar at Hillrock

Belly up to the bar at Hillrock

Hillrock greeters

Hillrock greeters

Hillrock greeters

Hillrock greeters

Hillrock Estate Distillery is an incredible facility that is focused on showcasing the unique terroir of the area, using estate grown grains that are FLOOR MALTED in their on site malt house, the only one in NY.

Floor malting estate grown barley

Floor malting estate grown barley

Barley in the floor malting process

Barley in the floor malting process

Owner Jeff Baker toured historic Scotland malt houses in order to create a functioning, traditional malt house for his dream distillery. Master Distiller Dave Pickerell (formerly the Head Distiller at a little place called Maker’s Mark) was intrigued by the commitment to small batch quality, traditionalism, and history, and joined on to add his impressive skill set to the Hillrock team.

Fermentation tanks

Fermentation tanks

IMG_1176.JPGThroughout the tour and tasting, it was evident that these craftsmen are one hundred percent invested in the crafting of the highest quality whiskey, bourbon, and rye. The Solera Aged Bourbon and Single Malt Whiskey were an incredible treat for a whiskey lover such as myself, and the price points were completely justifiable considering the quality of the product. Cinnamon and clove are very prominent flavors reflected in the terroir, and the slow hand crafting process creates a silky, smooth sipping delight. Seriously, some of the best I’ve ever had, hands down, kids.

Tasting with Master Distiller Dave Pickerell

Tasting with Master Distiller Dave Pickerell

So, what the HELL is floor malting? Tradition, that’s what. The barley is germinated in the traditional fashion, turned and raked by HAND every six hours on the stone floor, to control the temperature and moisture. Fellow Taste Camper Todd Trzaskos took an AWESOME video of the floor malting, distilling, tasting fun we were a part of at Hillrock. He was nice enough to let me post it–Check it out HERE: Hillrock Distillery TasteCamp Video

Hillrock is open for tastings and tours by appointment only! I would LOVE to get a group of tattoo folks together that might be interested for a BoozyLife field trip. Intrigued? Leave your comments below!