OUR MISSION - WE'RE PUBLISHED! Wednesday, June 26th, 2013 marked the Premier of our new book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks: An Adirondack Bar Guide. The hardcover, 160 page book can be found at bars and bookstores throughout the Adirondack Park or order online at www.happyhourinthehighpeaks.com. You'll find a list of our book signings on the Events page and where to buy the book on our Retailers page. The book contains reviews of 46 of our favorite bars in the Adirondack Park, and 46 drink recipes with an Adirondack twist. As a companion to the book, we have also published a 46er Passport so that you can follow the Happy Hour Trail to become a Happy Hour 46er and make new friends along the way. Summit Tour t-shirts will be for sale at our book signings or available online. Whether you are a native, resident, or visitor, you'll find 46 more reasons to visit the ADIRONDACK PARK!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Recipe Night! The Polar Plunge

On New Years Day, 2000 people are expected to enter the frigid waters of Lake George, but we will not be among them. We are happy to create a drink in their honor, though.

Polar Plunge
1 1/2 oz. light rum
2 oz water
dash of blue curacao
1 pkt sour mix
(or juice of 1 lemon and 1 tsp superfine sugar)
8 cubes of ice crushed

Happy New Year!

Kim Ladd and Pam Ladd

Witherbee's Carriage House, Schroon Lake

Witherbee's Carriage House Restaurant, on Route 9 in Schroon Lake, is a bar, restaurant and a museum of local history. From the display of various wagons and wheels surrounding the structure to the collection of wheeled conveyances inside, the title "carriage house" is an understatement. There's even a little red Gore gonola hanging on the building! With so many antiques, farm implements, Adirondack region memorabilia and assorted other wonders, it was hard to focus on our mission.

The bar is located in the loft upstairs, and even the stairs, solid and obviously aged, spoke of times of true craftsmanship. Kim's attention was immediately drawn to the vast collections occupying every barn-board wall, corner, crevice and rafter. Old photographs, woodworking tools and vintage advertising adorn the walls. Suspended from the beams above, unbelievably, are an antique carriage, a harness sulky, a sulky hay rake and a Victorian highwheel bicycle. The loft is open, spacious, well lighted and, while packed full with "stuff", appears uncluttered and notably dust deficient. Witherbee's closes for its annual Clean-up Close-down two weeks before Thanksgiving in order to give the place a thorough scrubbing and general sprucing up, something we feel more establishments should consider.

It was the drink specials board that caught Pam's attention, boldly offering the Pamatini. She knew what she was having to drink! The Pamatini, consisting of pomegranate vodka, cranberry juice and lime, turned out to be a misspelled Pometini, but that didn't spoil Pam's enthusiasm or the cocky swagger in her attitude when she discovered a namesake cocktail. Two other drinks were featured, namely the Moose Milk and the Nut Cracker. The Moose Milk is made with Jameson whisky, maple syrup and milk, and is very popular at Witherbee's. The Nut Cracker is vodka, Kahlua, Bailey's and Frangelico.

Patty and Bill Christian have owned Witherbee's for four years. We had the pleasure of meeting Patty and the bartender, Amanda, who filled us in on some of the history of Witherbee's. Converted from a barn that was part of the Edgewater Resort, the restaurant was originally known as Witherbee's in the 1960s, then Terrio's for 28 years. When Patty and Bill bought it, they felt a nostalgic need to restore the original name. We commented on the vast collection on display and Patty told us that they had to remove several truckloads of similar items. It was hard to imagine there having been even more.

Witherbee's attracts a variety of clientele. It's a favorite of locals, summer people and those just passing through. Friday night bands bring in their own fan base, fundraisers draw locals, open mic night rounds them up from as far away as Lake Placid and Ballston Spa. Witherbee's even has its own song, written by local musician and open mic night host Mark Piper, called Witherbee's Blues. As we were concluding our observations and interview, a man and woman joined us at the bar. The man, eyeing us strangely (we get that sometimes) and with a glimmer of recognition, said he knew us. Never having been recognized in this particular role, we were pleased to finally make the acquaintance of the North Country and Hudson Valley Rambler, Joe Steiniger, local food and wine blogger extraordinaire. Joe was one of our first fans and, to show our appreciation for his support, he was crowned with one of our few remaining Happy Hour in the High Peaks hats.

Witherbee's Carriage House Restaurant is well-known for its Big Ass steak and homemade soups, as much as for the Moose Milk, and all of the restaurant menu items are available in the loft. We shared a heaping plate of nachos, one of the most generous portions we've seen. The main restaurant area is downstairs and is smaller and more intimate. The bar seats 9 to 10 people, but the large upstairs has a dozen additional tables for relaxing or dining. A pool table is comfortably out of the way.

During the summer, Witherbee's is open Tuesday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to close. During the winter, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday and Sunday, and 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. They host an open mic night every Thursday and feature live entertainment every Friday in the summer and every other Friday during winter months. Witherbee's hosts fundraisers, holiday parties and even a Murder Mystery dinner. Happy Hour specials from 4 to 6 p.m. feature $3.00 drafts, but weekly themed drinks are available anytime. The snowmobile trail system leads right to the back door and riders have been known to fill a thermos with Moose Milk before mounting their sleds. Witherbee's is open all year except for New Years Day, Easter, the two weeks before Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Add Witherbee's to the list of not-to-be-missed.

Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Annual Report: I'll Drink to That!

What began as an offhanded remark while on a Tennessee road trip has culminated in our quest for the best bars in the Adirondack Park. Pam innocently inquired whether the Adirondack mudslide, her own creation, actually already existed. Kim, chief navigator, fact-finder and Google junkie, immediately launched a search using her iPhone. When her query yielded no valid results, we began the crusade to put it on the map, so to speak. Before we reached our destination, the idea had grown from one tasty cocktail to a year-long (and continuing indefinitely) pub crawl. Happy Hour in the High Peaks was born. Since our first review of Trapper's Tavern at the Copperfield Inn in North Creek last January, we have diligently worked (yes, it's work), traipsing from bar to bar, interviewing, fact checking, photographing, writing and blogging, and consuming countless calories that have stubbornly taken shape in the form of various bulges on which we will not dwell.

In late March, we were contacted by John Warren at the Adirondack Almanack, inviting us to contribute weekly reviews to the Almanack. The Almanack introduced us and our first review, Flanagan's in Schroon Lake, in April. Publishing weekly for the Almanack has proved to be very helpful in disciplining us to research and write regularly. As much fun as the research is, with full time jobs and families and other such distractions, it isn't as easy as you might think to visit at least one bar a week, but the Adirondack Almanack has kept us on task.

Stony Creek Inn patron. We hope to
replace this book with ours!
Toward the end of April, we were contacted by The Free George requesting an interview about our project. That interview was published in May. By then, we thought we were pretty hot stuff. We worked diligently through spring and summer, visiting as many bars as we could. In an effort to reach more readers, we added a Facebook page and Twitter account (ADK46barfly) and now have followers from coast to coast, as well as blog followers in countries all over the world.

We have traveled 1,688 miles to and from bars in the Adirondacks since last January. To date, we have reviewed 60 bars throughout the park. Our record for bars reviewed in one day was set in Old Forge this summer, when we visited and researched eight bars between noon and midnight on a Saturday in August. Visiting them was the easy part, but writing eight reviews with equal zeal was a challenge. While the 167 mile round trip to Old Forge was the greatest travel distance, the longest distance to review a single bar was 156 miles to 20 Main in Au Sable Forks. At least we stayed for two drinks!

New friends at the Great Adirondack Brewing Company.
Including this Annual Report, we have published 130 posts on our blog. Mostly reviews, with lots of recipes in between and even an assortment of general ramblings, we've tried to keep our readers interested enough to come back to us every week. Four out of five of the most popular blog views were reviews of Lake Placid bars. The Dancing Bears has garnered the most views, ZigZags second, The Cottage third, and the Great Adirondack Brewing Company fourth. Interestingly, our fifth most popular blog is Recipe Day! Rhubarb Margaritas. The tenth most popular blog, Tail O' the Pup, is a mystery to us. We do anticipate that at least one Old Forge venue will sneak into the top ranks once they get a good snow.

Pam's favorite signature drinks are the Grape Crush, compliments of The Barking Spider, Trapper's Tavern's Pumpkin Martini, Sporty's Bloody Mary and the most recently discovered Friends Lake Inn's Espresso Martini. We have created and published many of our own drink recipes, but they're too numerous to count. Pam, in an effort to keep Pammie's Pub stocked with ingredients for Recipe Night, has spent close to two thousand dollars on liquor, but refuses to do that math, nor calculate the total spent while on location.

Our drinkin' buds at the Tow Bar in Old Forge
What we have learned... It's a big park! We covered a lot of it, but we know there are still some towns and some special bars we haven't seen yet. We will carry on for as long as it takes. We got rid of the black notebooks. We each used to carry a black portfolio containing paper, pen, a place to put our business cards and carry our questionnaire. Early on our quest, we began to consider that we might look like health inspectors or sales reps upon entering a bar, so we did away with that perception. Happy Hour has been undermined by the State of New York. Some places have done away with it entirely, fearful of the regulations. Others feel confident that they are within the laws by not offering drinks for less than half price. The most rewarding fact we've learned? There are a lot of nice people in the Adirondacks! We have met so many people, both owners and patrons, locals and tourists, who continue to show us that Adirondackers are a friendly bunch, they like to entertain, and they are especially proud of their hangouts, and love their bartenders. We have featured some of them here.

ZigZags Lake Placid gets three thumbs up.
Thanks to all of our readers and followers who have supported us all year. We can't possibly find every bar that exists in the Adirondack Park and we encourage recommendations of bars to visit. Please tell us! Thanks to all of the pub and tavern owners for trusting us, answering our questions and making us feel welcome. Thanks to all of the patrons who have added insight to our reviews and also made us feel welcome. Thanks to Kim for her photography and eloquent writing. Thanks to Pam for Pammie's Well-Stocked Pub, her attention to the facts, and for getting each review started for Kim's finishing touches.

A case of mistaken identity led us to this enthusiastic trio from
Connecticut at Duffy's Tavern in Lake George.  Love the hats!
If you see us out there, please be sure to stop and say hello!
Cheers, Bottoms Up, and Happy Hour New Year to All!
Kim & Pam

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Recipe Night! Christmas Cocktail Stocking Stuffers

Maybe you've already made the final run for last-minute gifts, stocking stuffers and baking ingredients. Aunt Ethel's present is wrapped. You've got Grandma's pumpkin pie recipe and Aunt Lib's rolls ready to...roll. Not so fast! You're not finished with your holiday shopping yet. There are cocktails to consider and, unless you're stocked like Pammie's Pub, you need to make a run to the liquor store so you can impress your guests with your mixology expertise.

Why not conclude the holiday dinner festivities (or at least mend all the hurt feelings and mask the animosity that is sometimes present at large family gatherings) with some tasty after-dinner drinks? Here are a couple of dessert drinks that are sure to put smiles on their faces.

Peppermint Patty Martini

1 oz. white creme de menthe
2 oz. chocolate vodka (Godiva if you can afford it)
2 oz. Godiva chocolate liqueur

Shake with ice and strain into martini glasses rimmed with melted Godiva dark chocolate and crushed candy canes. Garnish with a mini candy cane and chocolate whipped cream (if desired) topped with a small peppermint patty or Junior Mint.

Chocolate Covered Cherry

2 oz. cherry brandy
2 oz. Godiva chocolate liqueur
1-2 tsp. chocolate syrup
1 tsp. maraschino cherry juice

Shake with ice and top with whipped cream. Pour into mini martini glasses or 2-3 oz. goblets. Garnish with a cherry dipped in melted chocolate (left over from the peppermint patty martini).

Looking for something a little less Bumble and a lot more bounce? Scrooge the Bailey's and coffee. How about an espresso martini? More bang for Uncle Buck. This is the drink Mrs. Claus greets Santa Baby with when he comes home after his annual toy run. Decked out in her pearls, pumps, and apron of course.

Mrs. Claus's Espresso Martini

2 oz. double espresso vodka
2 oz. kahlua
1 oz. white creme de cacao
3 oz. chilled espresso or strong coffee

Shake with ice and strain into martini glasses rimmed with cocoa powder. We wet the rim with creme de cacao. Makes two servings.

OK, OK, we'll do one more. Kim's favorite holiday movie is It's a Wonderful Life, so we offer the humble George Bailey.

The George Bailey

2 oz. Bailey's Irish Cream Liqueur
2 oz. cinnamon spice kahlua

Shake with ice and serve over ice in a small cocktail glass.

(Sorry, no photo available.)

Cheers, Bottoms Up & Merry Christmas! By the way, ask Pam to tell you her last-minute fudge story.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Wine Bar at Friends Lake Inn, Chestertown

We pulled into the gravel parking lot on this sunny winter Saturday, not sure what to expect from the Wine Bar at Friends Lake Inn. The first sight to greet us was a stream tumbling gently over rocks just outside a tiny structure we later learned was the sauna. A tiny footbridge traversed the waterfall where the stream began a steeper descent. Approaching the main building, screened balconies and seven gabled dormers emerging from the cedar shake roof of the inn’s modest grey clapboard exterior, we were greeted by one of the inn’s arriving employees who entered with us and pointed the way to the bar.

The Wine Bar and its dining area features beautifully crafted mission oak cabinetry with brass hardware. Gleaming wine glasses, each polished by hand, neatly hang like rows of crystal bubbles. Two of the room’s oak-paneled walls are constructed almost entirely of windows, inviting plenty of natural light. Overstuffed leather sofas and chairs in two separate common areas invite those not afraid to relax. The Wine Bar dining area has tables to seat 40 to 50 guests. The bar seats 8. Though no formal happy hour is featured, weekly drink specials encompass mixed drinks in summer months and martinis and mixed drinks in the winter season.

The Wine Bar at Friends Lake Inn is much more than its name implies. Located on Friends Lake in Chestertown just far enough from the main highways to feel secluded, this elegant country inn speaks of luxury, yet maintains an air of unpretentious hospitality. Though renowned for their superior wine collection, we were looking for something of the beer and liquor variety. As Pam took her time looking over the liquor selections, Kim found a draft beer to please her tastes. The bar regularly serves Stella Artois, Samuel Adams seasonal (Winter Lager) and two regional brews (Long Trail Hibernator and Davidson Brothers Brown Ale). The impressive wine menu boasts 30 different red and white wines by the glass.

Just as Pam was discovering the drink specials board, the bartender, Hawazin, suggested she might want to see the martini menu. Like a giddy five-year-old on Christmas morning, Pam’s eyes lit up as she smiled, her head bobbing in enthusiastic assent. With ten martini choices, she narrowed it down, eliminating the fruity, and selected the Espresso Martini: triple espresso vodka, Tia Maria and a shot of espresso served in a chilled glass and garnished with freshly peeled (and knotted) lemon zest. Though pricey at $12 to $16, one is all you will need to put a glow in your cheeks. The signature martini, Friends Lake Inn L'Orange Martini, sells for $22 and features Grand Marnier Cent Cinquantenaire (150th anniversary blend), Grey Goose L'Orange, fresh lemon and organic wild clover honey.

Much more than a bar, the Wine Bar offers appetizers of artisan cheeses, crab cakes, mussels, soups and salads. Entrees include flank steaks, cod filet, Black Angus burgers and an open-faced elk sandwich, to name a few. The Wine Bar is open for dining Monday through Thursday 4 to 9 p.m., Friday 4 to 9:30 p.m., Saturday 2 to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday 2 to 8:30 p.m. The bar has last call at midnight. They are open year round, but close Monday through Wednesday in the off-season from November through Christmas and from mid-March through late May. Just in case, check the hours on their website before you go. Musical entertainment is occasionally featured. Rich Ortiz, a local favorite, will be performing on New Year’s Eve. Cell phone reception is spotty, but The Friends Lake Inn does have WiFi.

We met Ellen and Hal, a couple who has made the Wine Bar a favorite destination for over 20 years, stopping in frequently on their way to Brant Lake. The Wine Bar at Friends Lake Inn is not for the faint of wallet, but is well worth the visit. Dining specials are offered on Sundays ($7 entrees before 7 p.m.) and Thursdays ($17.95 three-course dinner). The atmosphere is charming, warm and welcoming and the service is superb and professional.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Black Mountain Lodge, North Creek

The Black Mountain Lodge is a motel, restaurant and bar located just minutes from Gore Mountain on Route 8 and just around the corner from Peaceful Valley Road. The restaurant and tavern are located in the center of the strip of motel rooms, with plenty of parking. Built in 1953, the unassuming exterior reflects that history, but the warm Adirondack lodge style of the restaurant and bar reflect recent updates. Kip MacDonald has owned the Black Mountain Lodge for the last six years and can be credited with the tasteful improvements.

Tiffany style lights and sconces add an air of sophistication and the heavy weave of the textured moose-themed curtains enhance the Adirondack flavor. Three-quarter pine paneled walls are accented by painted upper walls in a muted persimmon shade. An upended canoe suspended above the bar serves as overhead glassware storage. The stone fireplace, centered between the restaurant and bar, adds warmth to all patrons. Rustic pub tables provide seating beyond the dozen barstools at the bar. The angular, C-shaped bar is made from a pine slab with rough bark edges and occupies the back end of the restaurant. A deck off the back of the bar offers outdoor seating for up to 12 people in the summer season. A collection of 50 or so caps adorns the wall and ceiling near the bar. The story goes that one person tacked their cap on the ceiling and it just snowballed. Not to be excluded, we left a Happy Hour in the High Peaks hat for the collection. Tasteful outdoor-themed signs and beer advertising adorn the walls, accented by a display of antique woodworking tools.

The Black Mountain Lodge is a favorite among winter skiers and spring and summer rafters. A seasonal homeowner we interviewed describes it as reasonably priced, good food and family friendly, but did note that the bar and restaurant can get very busy during ski season. No official happy hour is offered, but some drink specials are available throughout the year. A selection of flavored vodkas inspired Pam to try something new suggested by the bartender, Sarah. A few draft brews are normally available, though the taps weren’t working at the time of our visit. Kim was disappointed, but chose something from the long list of the reasonably priced domestic bottled beers. The restaurant menu includes sandwiches, burgers, seafood and home-cooked favorites like chicken pot pie and meatloaf and, for the more sophisticated, duck and prime rib.

Live entertainment on a small solo or duet scale is occasionally provided. The Black Mountain Lodge is closed for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but otherwise is open 7 days a week year-round, serving dinner from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. If you’re staying in the area, the motel boasts 25 no-frills, clean, comfortable rooms at a fair price.

Well known by Gore Mountain skiers, the Black Mountain Lodge almost escaped us. We're glad it was recommended to us. With friendly, welcoming patrons and staff, it is an Adirondack venue worth a visit any time of year.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Today in History: Prohibition Ends

Today, December 5, 2011, marks the 78th anniversary of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution which repealed the 18th Amendment, or Prohibition. Fueled by racism and religious hostility, the desire to rid society of the demon liquor resulted in the formation of several organizations including the Women's Christian Temperance Union and the Anti-Saloon League. The Temperance Movement's successful quest to criminalize the production, sale, and distribution of alcohol resulted in the mostly unsuccessful 18th Amendment. Alcohol was blamed for a great number of society's ills: immorality, unemployment, absenteeism, violence, neglect, and destruction of the family.

However, Prohibition did little to end these conditions and, in fact, only served to drive alcohol production and consumption underground. Bootlegging, rum running and speakeasies became profitable businesses and gave rise to organized crime. Cities, especially, saw tremendous increases in crime following the ratification of the 18th Amendment. From increased violence, gang activity and arrests for drunkenness, to theft and homicide, Prohibition did little to end the evils of alcohol.

Cities were not the only dens of iniquity. Rural areas, especially those close to the Canadian border, became highways for bootleggers, rum runners, and distilleries. The difficulty of enforcement was all too apparent in the Adirondacks, with its network of rural back roads, some known only to locals. Residents of economically deprived regions such as the Adirondacks, most of whom who would never have engaged in illegal activity, saw Prohibition as an opportunity to generate income. Saranac Lake, with its tuberculosis treatment facilities and often affluent patients, was the site of several speakeasies. My own brief research has turned up Prohibition lore throughout the Adirondacks.

Today, I urge you to visit your favorite local tavern to commemorate the occasion. And tell them why you're there.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Olde Log Inn

Located just north of Lake George Village on Route 9, The Olde Log Inn is open year-round for vacationers, campers and locals from Lake George and Warrensburg. As a restaurant and bar, The Olde Log Inn is a great place to escape the bustling village in the summer, eat a nice lunch or dinner, and sit on the patio and enjoy the mountain view and late afternoon sun.

As the name implies, The Olde Log Inn is of log construction inside and out, but has been remodeled recently enough to not appear "olde". Originally Lanfear's Country Tavern, the business has been in existence since 1976 and owned by Mike and Gigi Shaughnessy since 1999. The glossy pine bar seats about 15 patrons and is partitioned from the dining room by a windowed half wall that doubles as a bar counter, seating six, and close to the bar. The U-shaped bar allows for easy banter back and forth across the bar, and we became engaged in several conversations during our visit. Additional seating on the patio includes four pub tables for four each and five picnic tables, all equipped with shade umbrellas for use in the warmer seasons.

The cozy interior features checked country valances over the many windows, creating a homeyness which softens the predominantly rustic log interior. Currently decked out in holiday style, the canoe over the bar is trimmed in lights and evergreen wreaths, swags and a tree tastefully invite the holiday spirit with your spirits. Windows on three walls allow plenty of light into the space, countering competition from the surrounding pine. A stone fireplace in the dining area warms the far corner of the open floor plan. The dining room is an intimate space with seating for about 40 in closely spaced tables with appropriately rustic chairs. The Olde Log Inn caters to a healthy lunch crowd with its tempting offerings of sandwiches, salads, burgers, soups and appetizers all at reasonable prices. Dinner is served from 5 to 10 p.m. Entrees include pasta, steaks, ribs and chicken priced between $13.99 and $17.99. Their full menu is available online.

The Olde Log Inn's Happy Hour is immensely popular with locals of all kinds and is offered from 4 to 6 p.m. daily. Though no unique drink specials are advertised, a light assortment of flavored vodkas inspired Pam to create a mixed drink with a huckleberry vodka base, which she dubbed the Huckleberry Crush. A handful of beers on tap include Smithwick's, Stella Artois, Bud Light, Sam Adams Seasonal (Winter Lager at the moment), and local craft favorites Bear Naked Ale from Adirondack Brewery and Davidson Brothers Brewing Company IPA. Most popular domestics are available in bottles. The bar is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Sunday noon to 11 p.m. The kitchen is serving lunch, dinner and light fare Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday noon to 10 p.m. Quick Draw is available at the Olde Log Inn as well as wi-fi so you can follow our blog or look up one of our drink recipes.

Summer tourists can find solace in the hum of traffic on the nearby Northway or perhaps a cool afternoon breeze from the patio. Campers on the other side of Flat Rock Road might find comfort in the cleanliness and hot running water in the bathroom. Snowmobilers may huddle by the fireplace to warm up and peel off some snowy layers. Local professionals and contractors can meet up with their friends, or make new friends, and seasonal workers from the village shops can hide out, leaving behind the over-stimulated parents and children vacationing in Lake George. Bikers might escape the crowds of Americade or stretch their legs after a long ride in the Adirondacks. The Olde Log Inn is a year-round destination.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy Hour in the High Peaks Office Party

Lured by Basil & Wick's Facebook promotion of their Friday Holiday Happy Hour, we felt it was a perfect venue for our first annual office party. A staff of two, with countless temps and volunteers, we still deserve some time to socialize with our coworkers away from the office. An added bonus - it's always a pleasure to see Jane and Jeannie. Jeannie whipped up a pina colada martini for Pam and Kim indulged in a Sam Adams Winter Lager. We missed the complimentary appetizers, but had plans anyway.

We tried to stay away from "shop talk" but what could we do? We were in a bar after all. Discussion soon turned to the year's annual report, projections for 2012, stock prices and future business trips.

One of our fave five, we were happy to find Basil & Wick's busy in anticipation of ski season. Friday Holiday Happy Hour will continue every Friday for the month of December. Happy Hour is from 3:30 to 7 p.m. with complimentary finger foods from 5 to 6 p.m.

We couldn't stay long. Workoholics that we are, we were scheduled to visit the Black Mountain Inn in North Creek. You'll have to wait for our review of the Black Mountain Inn, which will appear on the Adirondack Almanack next Wednesday.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Burleigh House, Ticonderoga

The entrance door was freshly painted at The Burleigh House in Ticonderoga. (A neglected entrance is one of Pam's pet peeves.) As we approached the bar toward the back of The Burleigh House, we experienced an absolute first in our many bar experiences this year - all of the patrons were women! Nope, never encountered that before. There were probably six women in all and it wasn't the ladies' auxillary night either. The bartender was cute and personable and male - maybe he was the attraction?

As we took a seat and surveyed our drink options, we were greeted immediately by the bartender named Luke. Kim and Luke discussed beer options but she ordered a soda since it was her turn to drive. Lake Placid UBU Ale, Switchback Ale, Samuel Adams Octoberfest, and Coors Light are available on tap, and several bottled beer, malt and non-alcohol choices are offered as well. Pam readily noticed something new behind the bar, a chocolate raspberry vodka. She and Luke set to the task of designing a drink and the waitress, Barbie, soon joined them. Luke suggested a white russian variety and it was done. While Pam sipped the delicious drink, the waitress worked out a name and posted the newly born "Razz-berry Kiss" on a specials board at $3.50.

Pam sat, half listening, quietly contemplating something, while the owner, Kim Villardo, shared the history of The Burleigh House with Kim. When she pointed out an old picture of the original Burleigh House, Pam turned to it and studied it rather intensely. On the ride home later, she said that she had a sense of timelessness at the bar, like she was sitting in the original bar long ago. We tried to pinpoint what caused that feeling. Was Luke dressed in black and white, with a bow tie and cummerbund? No, but he was professionally attired in khakis and a button-down shirt. Was it the women in their fancy hats with cigar smoking men milling around them? No, they were casually dressed and still no men to be seen. Was it the ambient lighting reflecting shimmering bottles and liquids off the mirrored walls behind the bar? Yes, perhaps, and maybe a combination of factors, too much alcohol consumption not being one of them.

In 1953, fire destroyed the original Burleigh House, once an elegant four-story hotel with a bar and an orchestra downstairs. A new structure replaced the original in a simpler fashion with a bar and restaurant, sans orchestra, but there is Quick Draw and they do occasionally feature live music. Although it is no longer affiliated with the Burleigh family, the name was retained out of a love of the history of Ticonderoga. Dozens of framed historic photographs, collected over the years by owner Kim Villardo, hang throughout the restaurant in silent retrospect. A gas fireplace adorns the pine covered wall near the bar, a vintage hand-colored and ornately-framed photograph of the original hotel hanging over the mantel. Open and spacious, with moveable partitions for custom privacy, the interior conveys the impression of many rooms with distinct personalities. One area holds a pool table, a piano, and a few pub tables. A lounge in the center of the room, partitioned from the restaurant and bar with half walls, features two sofas, a piano and another smaller fireplace. The bar, with its soft, warm cherry finish, seats 15 to 20 patrons with leather stools comfortably spaced. Staff and patrons were friendly and interesting, as well as interested in what we were up to.

The Burleigh House doesn't offer daily Happy Hour specials, but they do feature holiday drinks and a variety of spontaneous drinks like Cosmos, specialty shots and this day, and the Razz-berry Kiss. The kitchen is closed on Monday and Tuesday. The bar is open daily at 11 a.m. and noon on Sunday. They are open until midnight Sunday through Thursday and until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

On the more trendy side, The Burleigh House has free wi-fi, a website, and a Facebook page.

Located equidistant from Lake Champlain and Lake George, The Burleigh House is a summer hot spot. Though closed for the season, a large outdoor patio out back awaits the warmer weather. Local residents, snowmobilers and the occasional off season tourists support the business year-round. When you visit The Burleigh House, and we know you want to, have a Razz-berry Kiss with Luke and take a quiet moment to see if you feel the timelessness too.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from Happy Hour in the High Peaks

Why overeat on Thanksgiving when a drink will do the trick? Think about it. The main Thanksgiving dinner ingredients are turkey, potatoes and cranberry sauce. Yeah, the vegetables are important too, but we're not worried about those at the moment. Wouldn't a Thanksgiving Dinner cocktail be just the thing to help avoid the sleepiness of the L-tryptophan present in turkey? No bloating, grogginess or sluggish feeling (unless you drink four of them). Turkey is the main attraction on Thanksgiving, so Wild Turkey is the main course in this cocktail. Mashed potatoes are a family favorite and 46 Peaks vodka fits the bill here, since it's made from potatoes. Finally, Cranberry vodka and cranberry juice. Here's our Alice's Restaurant Thanksgiving Dinner (that couldn't be beat) substitution for Thanksgiving food overindulgence, (and the ginger ale will help settle your stomach):

Thanksgiving Dinner Cocktail or Alice's Restaurant Massacree

1 oz. Wild Turkey bourbon
1 oz. Smirnoff cranberry vodka
1 oz. 46 Peaks Vodka
2 oz. cranberry juice
Shake with and serve over ice. Garnish with a leaf of fresh thyme (if you have the thyme).
4 oz. Ginger ale (after the shaking)
Makes 2 servings

What's for dessert, you ask? The pumpkin martini is the perfect conclusion. We've created our own version of this popular cocktail using fresh pumpkin. You can used canned, but, trust us, fresh is best.

Cut a small sugar pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, and bake, cut side down, for about an hour at 350 degrees. The flesh should be easily scooped from the skin.

To avoid graininess, strain cooked pumpkin through a food mill into a heavy saucepan.

Stir in:
3/4 c. water
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. maple syrup (The real kind. Trust us.)
2 tsp. vanilla (Yes - the real stuff)

1 to 2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves

Slowly heat the puree until just simmering. If it seems too thick or is sticking to the pan, add more water. Simmer at very low heat for about 40 min. Stir often.

Remove from heat and allow to cool, then give it a whirl in a food processor or blender to make it smooth.

Now for the cocktail recipe you came here for in the first place:

46 Peaks Pumpkin Martini (Inspired by Trapper's Tavern at the Copperfield Inn in North Creek's signature pumpkin martini.)

1 oz. 46 Peaks vodka
1 oz. Pinnacle Whipped vodka (or vanilla vodka)
1 oz. Sapling maple liqueur (or maple syrup)
2 oz. Light cream or milk
2 Tbsp. Pumpkin puree

Shake well with ice and strain into martini glass rimmed with coarse sugar (Sugar in the Raw) and cinnamon. We brushed the edge of the glass with Sapling (you can use maple syrup or water) before dipping the rim and allowed it to dry before mixing the drink. Top with alcohol-infused whipped cream (available in liquor stores) or regular whipped cream. Lightly dust with nutmeg and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Happy Thanksgiving, Cheers & Bottoms Up!
Kim & Pam

Honorable mention art credits: Thanks to Sydney Ladd Russell's fifth grade turkey featured in photo 1 and Bob's art direction in photo 4.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Acacia's Birthday Drink: The Serengeti Sunset

For the girl who has everything, and a mother and aunt who invent and blog about drink recipes, Acacia, in celebration of her birthday, asked us to create a birthday cocktail for her. Her only criteria was that it be exotic.

Named for the acacia tree commonly seen in silhouette on the Serengeti, something African was in order. Most pictures from Africa feature the African sunset, so we found this version both exotic and colorful. Happy Birthday, Acacia, and Cheers!

The Serengeti Sunset
2 parts spiced rum
3 parts guava nectar
1 part orange curacao
1 part pear vodka
1 part pineapple juice
drizzle with sloe gin for the ultimate sunset effect.

Serve over ice,garnish with a parasol to protect from the sun and sing along to The Lion Sleeps Tonight.

Wimoweh,Wimoweh,Wimoweh,Wimoweh... and Bottoms Up!

the pub, Ticonderoga

Thanks to Pam's archaic GPS, we found the pub (its name is not capitalized) quite by accident. The GPS just dropped us in the middle of Montcalm Street in Ticonderoga, with no immediately visible sign of The Burleigh House, the intended destination. We found a place to park on the street and looked up to find the pub’s welcoming sign. Though not on our list of places to review in Ti, it certainly seemed to fit the criteria by name. We peeked through the tinted glass fa├žade to see a well-lit, rather new looking pub, then ventured in.

Several patrons sat at the bar watching college football and chatting with the bartender. We selected a few seats at what Pam determined was a "P" shaped pine bar, and queried the bartender on beer and drink options. Though the pub offered no drinks unique to their establishment, Billy the bartender was quick to come up with a flavored vodka recipe with Whipped vodka, orange vodka, orange juice and milk. Pam found it not only nutritional, but tasty too. Several selections of both draft and bottled beers are available, and reasonably priced.

Having arrived ravenous, we reviewed the menu and opted to share nachos with beer battered jalapenos and the tidier, eat-with-a-fork boneless chicken wings. Both were delicious and served appropriately with proper fixings of bleu cheese, salsa and sour cream. “If you don't get salsa and sour cream, might as well not get nachos,” says Pam. A modest but varied pub menu offers appetizers, burgers, wings and fries. Most items are priced between $3.50 and $7.99.

The "P" shaped bar, which seats about 15, is partitioned by a wall, and we realized that we hadn't selected the best seats for a full view of the pub. Along the wall behind us were three bar height tables and two to three more on the wall on the other side of the room. With three pub tables equally dispersed, the pub appeared ready to accommodate any size crowd. Another pair of tables in the front of the room provide seating sidewalk-side for people watching. A pool table in the back corner is perfectly situated for unencumbered play; an opening in the center wall allowing contact with the bartender from the pool table without having to walk around to the bar.

The bartender, Billy, was friendly, professional and eager to answer our questions. The pub has been owned by his brother, Jeremy Treadway, since 2009 but, interestingly, was owned by their grandfather from the 1950s to the 1980s, when it was sold, then closed for seven years. Jeremy later bought the place, bringing it back into the family. In the ‘50s it was known as Bob's TV Bar, the first bar with a television set in Ticonderoga. It was later renamed the North Country Pub. A Native American chainsaw carving stands guard inside the front door. It came with the bar when they bought it in 2009 and the new owners felt it should stay.

The pub is open year-round, Thursday through Sunday, and only closes for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Though opening times vary, there is an obvious pattern easy to remember: 4 p.m. on Thursday, 3 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday, and 1 p.m. on Sunday. Typically the pub closes at 12:30 a.m. Summer tourists and winter snowmobilers make it a favorite venue any time of year. The pub features Happy Hour on Friday with a buy 1 get 1 special until 7 p.m. and $10 buckets of beer and food specials on Sunday. Even if you miss their specials, pricing for food and drink is reasonable off Happy Hour too.

As a common meeting place for area professionals, the pub seems to be the type of place to drop in anytime (Thursday through Sunday, of course). They offer live entertainment two to three times per month in the winter and every Saturday in spring and summer.

An information sheet on the bar indicated that a dart league was forming for the winter. If darts aren't your thing, there's always pool, foosball, jukebox music, trivia night and Spin-the-Wheel Fridays for entertainment. Four TVs should cover your viewing needs during any sports season.

If on street parking is limited, the pub has a parking lot behind the building for patron use. Several general public parking areas are also nearby.

Whether visiting the pub on purpose or by accident, for drink, for food or for entertainment, you shouldn't be disappointed in the clientele, the atmosphere or the staff. Though we can't speak for the entertainment, the food and drink are good too. After you've liked us on Facebook, be sure to visit the pub Ticonderoga, NY and like their facebook page too.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sister and I Get Into the Recipes, Part II

There was so much activity on this old blog from February that we were compelled to create a sequel. I mentioned in front of my daughter that we had an inordinate number of views on this blog and, when I told her that the Sisters and the allusion to the recipes was from The Waltons, she suggested that maybe some students somewhere were assigned homework related to The Waltons. Well, it's as plausible as any theory I can come up with.

The Garnet Mine

1 part gin
2 parts raspberry liqueur
3 parts cranberry juice

Shake over ice and garnish with a cherry.

Shame on us. On Monday, November 7, the grand, new Champlain Bridge between Crown Point, NY and Addison, VT opened to traffic. Soaring over Lake Champlain with steely strength, a drink to celebrate the occasion is in order.

The Champlain Bridge
2 parts Grand Marnier
1 part Crown Royal

Shake with ice and strain into a jigger or shot glass, or serve over ice in a rocks glass.

Cheers & Bottoms Up!
Kim & Pam

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Happy Hour in the High Peaks Acknowledges Today's Birthdays

You know we can never leave well enough alone. Not much to do on a Sunday night, so, hey, why not create a new cocktail? Theme. Hmm. Whose birthday is today? Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, Treasure Island, and a sweet little book of poetry Kim owned when she was just a child, was born on this day in 1850. Pam retired to her laboratory to conduct the experiment. She handed out test tubes containing a seemingly innocuous concoction. Combining the kind and gentle with evil and decadent; a little bit Jeckyll (Jack Daniels) and a little bit Hyde (butterscotch schnapps & amaretto). Well, we didn't turn into any evil alterego. Yet.

Jeckyll & Hyde

1 oz. Jeckyll Daniels Tennessee whiskey
1 oz. butterscotch schnapps
1 oz. amaretto

Shake with ice and strain into beakers.

Another birthday today is Whoopie Goldberg. So Pam set to the task of making Whoopie.

Whoopie Pie

1 oz. Marshmallow vodka
1 oz. Godiva chocolate liqueur

Shake with ice and strain. Top with alcohol infused whipped cream.

Cheers and Bottoms Up!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Garrison, Lake George

The Garrison in Lake George, once a mecca for college students working in Lake George in the summer, or home for Thanksgiving or Christmas break, was and still is a haven for the locals. Situated on a hill, just far enough from Lake George Village, the Garrison offers security from the summer tourists as well as gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains from the deck in front.

As with many local pubs, the regulars at the Garrison welcome newcomers, but take comfort in being surrounded by their comrades. It's one of those bars that you can visit as seldom as once a year and be sure to see someone you know, or visit for the first time and make friends you'll see again and again.

Pam was once a regular at the Garrison in the '80s and '90s. Much like Norm of Cheers fame, she had her own designated barstool, at least in her mind, and, when necessary, was known to hover near it until it became available. Located at the end of the bar, in a far corner, it provided her with a view of everyone in the room, as well as a direct line to the door to see who was coming or going.

She recalls young Brian's first days as a novice bartender, barely old enough to drink. The Garrison had been going through a number of bartenders at the time and Pam grew weary of "breaking them in". Brian was different - curious and eager to learn. They started a game of "shot of the day". While Pam worked her day job, it was Brian's task to come up with a new concoction before she arrived for Happy Hour. He never knew which day she would come, but was always ready with something clever for shot du jour.

Built in 1953 on the site of Fort William Henry's garrison, the Garrison has been continually in business since then. It fell victim to a fire in the early 1980s, but a new log structure was quickly built to replace it.

Current owner, BJ Forando, has owned it for the past 10 years. The original structure had an upstairs loft, dubbed the Koom Room in the 1960s, and the term remains on their sign. The origin and purpose of the Koom Room remains a closely guarded secret, though we suspect no one really knows. Not much has changed since then, but the carpeting, once perpetually sticky from spilled beer and cocktails, has thankfully been replaced at least a couple of times. College pennants still adorn the pine ceiling. Some, dusty and dingy, date back to before the fire, salvaged and ceremoniously redisplayed. The Garrison offers a free pitcher of beer for any pennant not currently among its collection.

The Garrison currently serves at least a dozen draft beers, mostly domestics and mass-produced specialty beers, and at least as many more in bottles, as well as malt coolers (Mike's Hard Lemonade, Twisted Tea and Smirnoff Ice). The liquor selection is pretty standard, no specialty drinks, and the shot-of-the-day is a thing-of-the-past. Garrison Happy Hour specials, 50 cents off beer and well drinks, is offered Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. WiFi and Quick Draw are available. The bar opens daily at 11 a.m. and closes around midnight, but is subject to demand. Only seldom do they close to the public for private functions, but they do close for Thanksgiving and open late on Christmas Day.

For your amusement, activities include pool, electronic darts, arcade games, the toy claw and a jukebox. A variety of seating options can be found here. Outside on the deck, there are built in benches and a picnic table, but more seating is probably offered outside in fair weather. The bar accommodates up to 18 people. Two tables with seating for 4 each and a pub table for two are in the immediate vicinity. The restaurant, somewhat separated from the bar by a partition, features two large tables seating 6-8 each and can be put together for large parties. Several booths line the walls, accented by pendant lights above and Lake George panoramic prints. The menu is primarily bar fare - appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, soups and salads all in the $5 to $10 range. Lunch specials are offered daily at around $7.95. We don't often comment on food, but Kim found the seafood chowder delicious!

Winter is the Garrison's busiest season and it's the only bar in the village that's right on the snowmobile trail, but summer months afford nice views from the deck where you can lounge for hours in the sun or breeze, listening to the drone of boats on the lake. A huge parking area lends an air of optimism and endless possibilities. Kelly, our bartender the day we visited, was pleasant, professional, attentive and friendly. No matter the season or the time of day, you are sure to feel safe and welcome at the Garrison.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Chronicle Book Fair

Today we visited the Chronicle book fair at the Queensbury Hotel. Inspired by the sheer number of mostly local authors and aspiring authors ourselves, we talked to several people, picking their brains for publishing tips. Carl Heilman's presentation was creatively inspiring, Dan Ladd had ten-pointers for us and Lawrence Gooley was a wealth of information about self-publishing. Most of the books had a simple, low impact design in a no-nonsense, highly readable format. As usual, we felt a cocktail commemorating the occasion would be appropriate. We drink like it's our job, and we take our job very seriously. This drink, like the Chronicle Book Fair, is understated yet contains a wealth of flavor. You can't describe it, you just have to try it.

Leather Bound

3 oz. Opal Nera (black sambuca)
2 oz. amaretto
1 oz. grenadine

Shaken with ice and served in a shot snifter. Meant to be sipped, not slammed.

Cheers and Bottoms Up!
Kim and Pam Ladd