Roc City Tattoo Expo and Iron Smoke Whiskey: Local Finger Lakes Love 2016

image

The Roc City Tattoo Expo is Upstate NY’s only high end tattoo convention, drawing an impressive roster of international artists each year to our beautiful area.

image

2016 saw the 8th annual Roc City Expo in a different venue, the addition of more local artists and vendors, and a focus on artwork as opposed to entertainment and contests.image

 

 

image

image

The Hand of Fate has attended every one of these eight years of shows, starting with the first event right after we had opened our business, and relocated to the Finger Lakes. Jet and his crew at Love Hate Tattoo have always focused on bringing the best artists in tattooing, to an area that is often overlooked for larger markets and cities.

Rochester is a fantastic town, larger scale than Ithaca, with an artsy, young, downtown crowd and a flourishing dining and entertainment scene. Due to local Finger Lakes wine trails, breweries, and distilleries being less than an hour away, the locavore movement is strong here, and local vintners and brewers are represented along side menu items, sourced from area farms.

Iron Smoke Whiskey, a small batch distillery located close to home in Fairport, NY, saw the opportunity to join in on the Roc City Expo fun! FINALLY, a local booze producer that saw the potential marketing frenzy that a tattoo convention crowd offers: exposure to an absolute rainbow selection of adults, from all walks of life, that enjoy quality luxuries. A whiskey tasting at a tattoo convention? YES. SO MUCH YES.

imageLet me say, the whiskey tasting was VERY well received, pouring staff were knowledgeable and answering questions, and I’m sure three days of sales reflected that!

Iron Smoke also seem to have a growing distribution to bars and restaurants in the Upstate area, so make sure to keep your eyes open, or request it by name at your favorite watering hole. Iron Smoke Distillery is run by a contact that goes by the name of Skully, and their labeling and merchandise feature a distinguished skeleton, in a suit, smoking a pipe. Very well suited to a tattoo crowd, to say the least. Lots of teeshirts went out the door with that whiskey….

image

Back to the actual whiskey tasting and my own impressions. Iron Smoke brought two products with them- Iron Smoke small batch Apple Wood Smoked Whiskey, and their Rattlesnake Rosie’s Apple Pie Whiskey. Both were surprising, and I was shocked that as a local booze hound I had never had the pleasure! Jet and the Roc City crew must have known I was coming, and planned the whiskey accordingly. 🙂

imageIron Smoke Apple Wood Smoked Whiskey: small batch, locally sourced grain is mashed and smoked with an apple wood smoking process, before distillation and aging for years in charred, American white oak barrels. With a hint of sweetness on the nose, this smooth amber colored whiskey has a light, smoky, vanilla and apple flavor with a nicely rounded, deep oak finish. Lovely small batch spirit.

imageRattlesnake Rosie’s Apple Pie Whiskey: Forbidden Apple Pie recipe of small batch house distilled corn whiskey, blended with all natural upstate NY apple cider, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Slightly sweet, with the tang of fresh apple cider and a bite of corn whiskey, this potion is delicious on its own, or as a mixer for some beautiful cocktails. Slightly sweet, bright, and luscious long finish. According to their Iron Smoke website, Apple Pie was the winner in the San Fransisco World Spirits Competition–for those of you that follow the medals and events scene!

Once again, huge thank you’s go out to Jet and the entire Love Hate Tattoo Rochester crew for all of the hard work and hoop jumping it takes to have such a great show turnout in this area! Hand of Fate has enjoyed the journey since the beginning, and there is always something surprising to enjoy, along with world class tattooing and artwork. This year, BoozyLife felt especially loved! Want to buy your own bottles of Iron Smoke Whiskey? Check out their website here : Iron Smoke Whiskey website –there are awesome cocktail recipes for your newly aquired local whiskey!

BoozyLife is Heading to Whiskey 101

image

Happy National Drink Wine Day! I’m going to Whiskey School tonight 🙂 One of the best things about living in the Finger Lakes, especially in the winter, is the ability to take advantage of incredible local resources while the crowds are in hibernation!

A number of our local wineries, entire wine trails, and distilleries run programs to attract guests during the cold weather lull. Last year, while we were in Paris for work, I saw advertised a series of whiskey classes at Finger Lakes Distilling on Seneca Lake, but obviously couldn’t make it. This year, we’re staying more local for the beginning of the tattoo convention year–so it’s the perfect time to broaden my boozy knowledge before hitting the tattoo convention travel road again!

I have always had a keen interest in the process of distillation and whiskey making, maybe because of my Scotch-Irish roots…and a few spots the Finger Lakes region are making incredible spirits! Finger Lakes Distilling is a pioneer FLX distillery that makes a selection of aged whiskey, spirits, and liqueurs. Locally sourced ingredients are distilled using old school, traditional methods,  with an imported 350 gallon copper potstill imported from Germany.

Check out their website above, and follow along tonight live on Twitter @BoozyLife, Instagram as @MissusMolina, and FaceBook on my BoozyLife page 🙂

Harvest in the Finger Lakes 2015

Fall in the FLX

Fall in the FLX

I’ve been off the grid! Gentle readers, sometimes business takes it all out of you for a bit, and quite frankly being business owners was rough for a patch. I’m happy to report things are currently fantastic at our tattoo shop, and I’ve been able to once again turn my attentions towards the fields and this year’s harvest bounty.

It’s finally October first, which means lots of the grapes have already been harvested and pressed around the Finger Lakes, and one of the busiest times of year is here! Tasting rooms will be extremely lively on beautiful fall weekends, so if you’re visiting, be civil and expect crowds of other tasters. The good news is, the views are heading towards incredible – enjoy, and don’t be in a rush. The Finger Lakes are all about taking a breath and enjoying some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Pick some apples, peep the fall leaves, hike a waterfall, taste some locally made wines, ciders, beers, spirits…chocolates….cheese…

Beauties in the sunlight

Beauties in the sunlight

Harvest 2015 is in full swing, with lots of grape picking, pressing, and cellar happenings currently in the works, area wide. My Instagram feed is currently full of grapes being pressed, yeasts going in and fermentation starting, and lots of rain gear the last twenty four hours! It’s been dry and warm the last two weeks, so many growers got their grapes in before rains started in earnest. Our local weather called for over three inches of rain into today, with more over the weekend. Hopefully it dries out so that everyone gets their remaining crops in!

It’s also fun to see the apple farmers harvesting for their upcoming vintages of hard ciders. The movement is growing nationwide,  and the Finger Lakes area is at the center of high quality, heirloom farmed fruits, classically made, dry to off-dry, sometimes fermented in bottle, hard apple and pear ciders. This coming weekend (October 3rd and 4th) is the Apple Festival in Ithaca, with FLX Cider Week also kicking off. I’ll be attending some local happenings on that front, so stay tuned! October is going to be fun, and fall is the best time of year to be in this area, in my humble BoozyWife opinion…that’s why we tend to stay local until the snow flies again….

#WBC15 WineBloggers Invade the Finger Lakes! A Brief Overview of #WBC2015

imageAfter a long week of jumping through hoops as a tattoo wife and shop owner, it was a pleasure to attend the Wine Boggers Conference 2015 in the Finger Lakes area of NY, or as I like to call it, ‘home.’

Over two hundred and fifty wine writers and bloggers would be participating in a three-day weekend (plus some pre and post excursions!) of wine tasting, exploration, seminars, and networking. I’m an old pro at the tattoo convention scene— but a wine blogger convention? What was that going to be like? I had a few notions, but seeing that it was to be held in our backyard of viticulture in the Finger Lakes area, I couldn’t miss it! This area is exciting, vibrant, and on the cusp of great things…I wanted to see what the OTHER bloggers thought, as a way to see our area (and my ‘hood) through fresh eyes.

All three days were pretty heavily scheduled with events, some as writing workshops, mentoring, and pro panels, excursions to several different wineries and events, and LOTS of wine tasting.

Karen MacNeil and women in wine

Karen MacNeil and women in wine

Keynote presenter Karen MacNeil, wine goddess and author of The Wine Bible, was as inspirational as she was fierce. HERE is a woman to idolize, ladies….strong, professional, and absolutely taking no shit from anyone. Honestly, if that was all the conference had for me…Karen’s words would have been enough. She’ll get a post all of her own, because Karen is an incredible spirit– that the women in the wine industry MUST recognize — as a door opener and trail blazer. She may be in Napa now, but she has the heart and fire of a New Yorker. One of my favorite quotes that she dropped on women in the industry during the weekend was, in relation to sexism in the wine industry: “the barrier has never been sex, it is mediocrity. The door is open, walk through it.” ABSOLUTELY!

a few of my favorites

a few of my favorites

Tastings were a huge part of the event, and I counted over seventy-three wine tasting notes over two days that I took–not too shabby! LOTS of spitting, kids….don’t try to be a hero. You will fail and quite possibly make an ass of yourself.

The tastings ranged from the normal table and pour, to a “speed dating” version of a tasting (wine makers came to your table with their bottle, gave some wine notes, and had five minutes with you, then it was off to the next table!), to a mystery bus excursion….get on the bus, go to a secret location, have an AMAZING TIME, return later to hash out where we all ended up!

Element Winery is taking things to a new level in the Flx

Element Winery is taking things to a new level in the Flx

BoozyLife ended up on the bus headed to Element Winery in Arkport, vision of the incredibly talented and hard-working Master Somm Christopher Bates-whose  dinner and wines will get their own post as well, because I saw things happening there that DEFINE what the Finger Lakes can and will be to the wine industry, in the near future and beyond.

In short, the weekend was exactly what I was hoping it would be, and it opened my eyes to magic happening right under my nose! BoozyLife can’t wait to share some of the wine makers and their creations with you all, because the Finger Lakes are where it’s all happening right now in New York State.

Now, just let me sort out all of these tasting notes…

This Weekend- Athens, Copenhagen, and Halifax- on the International #TattooConvention Circuit #BoozyLife

Spring has officially sprung, and the international tattoo convention circuit has kicked off with a vengeance. Yes, that IS a thing for those of you not in the tattoo industry. Business conferences often take place in some exotic, lovely locations in order for the conference go-ers to enjoy some travel as well as work–why would the tattoo industry be any different? Serious professional tattoo artists (as well as many tattoo collectors) travel the world to expand their collections, as well as practice their craft on an international level. According to worldtattooevents.com convention calendar, there are at least sixteen major tattoo shows around the world this weekend of May 15th! This weekend alone, there are tattoo conventions in Texas and Nevada in the United States, in Copenhagen and Athens (and even Croatia!!) in Europe, as well as the Maritime Tattoo Convention in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Lots of new upcoming spots to try locally sourced wines and spirits for this Boozy Wife!

With all of this opportunity to travel, it’s fun that my love of adult beverages and body art seem to be working hand in hand. The wine folks are learning quite a bit about the tattoo world, and the tattooers and their assistants usually already have an interest in wines and spirits, but would like to know even more. A great meeting of the minds, over a bottle or two 🙂 See you on the road!

The Fingerlakes of Ice , Frozen Falls, and ONE WEEK UNTIL PARIS

Ice on Seneca : photo by Melissa Brewer

Ice on Seneca Lake : photo by Melissa Brewer

Uuuuugh

Uuuuugh

Ice crust on the lake : photo by Melissa Brewer

Ice crust on Cayuga lake : photo by Melissa Brewer

Taughannock Falls iced over : photo by Leah Kaller

Taughannock Falls iced over : photo by Leah Kaller

Icy blue sky : photo by Melissa Brewer

Icy blue sky over Seneca Lake : photo by Melissa Brewer

It has been a VERY frigid February in the Finger Lakes, with temperatures falling below zero for extended cold snaps lasting multiple nights. The Finger Lakes themselves are freezing over, with only Cayuga and Seneca not completely iced over. Seneca has not frozen over for generations, and the view of the lake with ice crusts floating on the surface is stunning. Time will soon tell if the temperatures have caused damage to grapevines along the shores of the Finger Lakes. The lakes create microclimates that help keep temperatures just a bit higher near the deepest bodies of water (Seneca and Cayuga are deepest), but this February has been brutal. Although the cold is difficult to bear, the beauty of a frozen winter here is beautiful.

Today Is February 22, which means in ONE WEEK I will be headed to Paris, Corsica, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam with my husband Eddie-I’m a lucky bitch. Keep checking in on this BoozyWife, things are about to get interesting!

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