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!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Frederick's Restaurant and Lounge Bolton Landing

March is predictably unpredictable in the Adirondacks. While it was a chilly day, barely over 30 degrees, the sun was strong and hopeful. Winter will eventually shed its scales in favor of a softer, greener skin. But not this week.

Frederick's was instantly welcoming and homey. Pam, our bartender, immediately made us feel at home as we ordered the Lady's Slipper. Offering alternatives for the drink ingredients, she created a likable concoction as a suitable substitute. We munched on the complimentary popcorn, taking in the spacious interior. Well-worn hardwood floors, pine board walls, and a flagstone fireplace invited us to stay. Various stuffed fish and a deer head embellished the walls, and a pair of comfy sofas situated near the fireplace warmed the bar area. Black and white photos of Lake George hung on the walls; warmer times ahead. The generous deck at Frederick's will open with the leaves, as Bolton's businesses unfold for the bustle of the summer season.

Conversations with Pam (the bartender-not High Peaks Pammy) reveal the nature of Frederick's as the season unzips: Karaoke Fridays, Sundays with live entertainment and a raw bar on the sprawling deck, which seats up to 100, and full lunch, dinner and late-night menus are all waiting their turn, parkas buttoned to their chins. Open at noon on Saturday and Sunday and 4:00 Monday through Friday during the off-season, Frederick's will expand its hours and open at 11:30 every day from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  I poked my nose into the dining room and detected a faint whiff of sage. There's room for around 70 people in the dining room and 55 in the bar area. A modest game room in the back contains a pool table and electronic dartboard with plenty of shelves to hold the drinks and elbows of spectators and socializers.

Dining Room

The bar is well-stocked, they have a vast menu of specialty drinks and numerous wines, and draft beers include Labatt's Blue Light, Michelob Light, Spaten, Davidson's IPA, Sierra Pale Ale, and Guinness. Sam Adams Summer Ale will be added, then switched for Octoberfest in the Fall. Frederick's even grows its own mint for Mojitos.

Add Frederick's to our list of hits! I can't wait to visit this summer.


Frederick's in Bolton Landing

It was a cold, sunny Winter day in early Spring as we made the short drive to Bolton Landing. Along the way, we decided that if the bartender didn't know how to make the Lady's Slipper drink we alluded to in earlier blogs, we would order something else instead. As we approached the entrance to Frederick's, we passed by the expansive deck, longing for the days when we will be able to sit outside.

The smell of popcorn greeted us as soon as we entered. The warmth of the fire from the fireplace stretched across the massive, cozy room. We sat at the end of the large, L-shaped bar, affording ourselves the best view of the establishment. The bar appeared to seat about 14 people comfortably. I deduced that by counting the barstools, in case you want to try this on your own. The room was adorned in classic Adirondack style with ceiling beams, rich wood and bear spattered fabric, but we detected a nautical sub-theme in keeping with classic Lake George style.

We ordered the Lady's Slipper and proceeded to tell Pam, the bartender, how to make it. She searched the extensively well-stocked bar and we offered a few substitutions for the ingredients she didn't find.
After trying Frederick's version of our version of the Lady's Slipper, I reviewed their Drink Specials menu and decided to try one, consisting of ruby red vodka, lemonade, club soda and a splash of cranberry, garnished with a slice of lime. It was tasty and summery and just didn't fit my mood. I would proceed to try their high-end margarita, again delicious and not suited to my mood, which was becoming adaptable by the time I finished it.
I didn't drink very much, but as Kim drove home, it occurred to me that I drank too much. Maybe there's some truth to not mixing a variety of drinks. Perhaps I should have accepted Pam's offer of complimentary homemade veggie soup that was warming by the fire. But, as I sipped my margarita, I just couldn't embrace the idea of vegetable soup. The day was riddled with oxymorons - I should have had the soup.

Bottoms Up!

High Peaks Pammie

Monday, March 21, 2011

Where to Next?

We've done our research and decided to go to Frederick's Restaurant in Bolton Landing next weekend (Saturday around 3, if you're stalking us).  According to our research, same people own Frederick's that own Grace's? Correct us if we're wrong. Frederick's sounds (on Google anyway) like a place that meets our very loosely-defined criteria. Food. Drinks. People. What else is there? Pam's thinkin' that if we order a Lady's Slipper (today's creation, by the way) at Frederick's, and they know how to make it, then we will automatically select them as one of our 46 "high" peaks (and be out $7.00). Sound fair?

Lady's Slipper

1 1/2 oz white chocolate cream liqueur
1 1/2 oz. vanilla vodka
Raspberry syrup (or liqueur)
4 oz. milk (skim preferred)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

George Henry's Tavern of Warrensburg

It was "date night" with our husbands last night.  Kim went to Duffy's with her husband and I went to George Henry's with mine.  They've both been neglected lately, so we did our "wifely duty".  Needless to say, even though we weren't out "working" on the book last night, looks like we both are taking advantage of the opportunity and writing about it.

George Henry's was pretty busy for early Saturday night.  Most were there to watch a wrestling tournament, but didn't seem to protest when another tv was tuned to BYU when the game started.  We played some Quick Draw and enjoyed some appetizers.  I sneaked a couple of Bob's chicken wings and have to say, they make good wings at George Henry's!  I even won some money on Quick Draw for a change.  The bartender was very busy but attentive to all of his patrons.  The wrestling group kept him busy wiping their spilled beers.

In the spirit of the wrestling tournament, Mark and his niece had a brief wrestling scrimmage on the floor of the bar - she probably would have won except for some technical foul involving arms (or Mark just cheated, not sure which).  I saw several people I know and chatted with whomever I could.  I learned from Mark that he and his wife are going to New Orleans soon and I think he offered to do some reviews for us down there .  (We're still scouting for our next Happy Hour location - and I don't think TN made the grade).   Mark, if you find some good places in "N'orleans", make sure you take some notes and tell us all about it when you get home. 

Might need to have to start wearing a disguise soon when I go out - not ready for the celebrity just yet.  I passed a girl in the ladies room who asked if I was there to write about George Henry's.  I've never seen her before and was surprised by the question.  I told her I was "off duty", but it was fun to be recognized (or more likely just mistaken for Kim). 

It's nice to go out and see familiar faces and talk to people I haven't seen in awhile. Always something comfortable about the hometown taverns. A good tavern is one that makes strangers feel they are in their own hometown.

Bottoms Up!

Sham"Rock" the Block Lake George, NY

Beth, Kate, Toni, Amanda, Rachel & their adorable dogs
If it has anything to do with drinking, it's fair game. The first annual Sham"Rock" the Block party was held in Lake George on Saturday, March 20th, featuring Celtic music, bagpipers, hayrides, face painting and a keg toss, among other activities held on Amherst Street at Duffy's Tavern. Asked to stop in and shoot some quick photos for the Adirondack Journal, I did just that. I had only fifteen minutes, but knew I'd return later that evening.

Emerald Dawn

As I was gathering my camera and notebook, I heard the last of the bagpipers' performance. I love bagpipes and was disappointed that I had just missed them, though I did spy several adorable sets of hairy knees. I love bagpipes and, not gonna lie, the swagger of men in kilts. The duo Emerald Dawn was playing in the parking lot, kids were enjoying a bouncy bounce, hayrides and face painting, and adults were wandering with beers in hand.

Sponsored and hosted by Duffy's Tavern, this event was the first of its kind in Lake George with proceeds to benefit the Make a Wish Foundation, the Lake George Skate Park Fund and Save a Stray.

Neither of us is at all Irish, but my husband and I both put on green shirts and later returned to Lake George for a drink at Duffy's. It occurred to me that this St. Patrick's thing has dragged on for a few days, so I asked Tony (the aforementioned husband) how long he supposed this would go on? 'Til the beer runs out I guess. Good answer. He's not really a funny guy, but once in awhile he possesses a good bit of insight. And I'm always willing to help use up all that Guinness.

Sham"Rock" the Block at Duffy's
Duffy's, a popular summer party bar, is fairly large compared to the other bars we've been blogging about and it was pretty full. There are several tables at the entrance with a long, pine zigzaggy bar that probably seats about twenty. Another section contains high-backed booths, all occupied. The bartenders were busy, efficient and friendly, and the prices were about what I've been seeing in the area: $8.00 for a Guinness and a Shock Top. I ran into a few of my son's former high school classmates, one of whom wants to make a movie about all his drinking stories. I encouraged him to go for it (not so much the drinking) and gave him a handful of my Happy Hour in the High Peaks cards, which I shamelessly distribute wherever I go. I did experience a "first" at Duffy's: a line for the mens' room! I commented on that fact to one of the waiting gentlemen, who was not at all amused.

Details on Duffy's will involve a return trip; they were just too busy to allow me to get all the usual details. Guess I'll have to drag Pam out for another look.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Grace's - Revisited

It was a gorgeous late afternoon, sunny and in the '50's, when Pam and I set out, delighted to give Grace's another look. Armed with a checklist, notebook and camera, we found the place just as we had left it last week: warm, intimate and comfortable. Tasteful but unassuming, with a friendly and attentive staff, I've always liked going there and am now look for excuses to return.

Grace's is open year-round from 4 p.m. and remains open to the public during private events, which are usually held in one of the dining rooms. They are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays in the winter but open every day in the summer when patrons can relax with their drinks on the expansive lawn under the ancient towering oaks. (Maples? Can't remember, but they're well over 100 years old.)

This time we gave some thought before ordering our drinks. Studying the gleaming bottles on the beautifully crafted shelves, a chocolate vodka caught my eye. Hmmm...needed to try that.
Unprepared to be inventive, I asked Sadie, our bartender, for suggestions.
She recommended I try it with Bailey's and milk. The chocolate flavor was evident, though not obvious, and complemented the Bailey's. We just need to name it. Chocolate vodka will soon be added to the booze arsenal at Pammy's Private Pub, so I'm sure we'll brainstorm and experiment. 

We decided to order some light fare at the bar. The full menu is available at the bar and offers appetizer portions for a light meal or an inexpensive way to sample the menu. The entrees range from $18-$28; half-portions approximately half-price. Pam and I decided to share the BBQ pulled pork nachos, an interesting alternative to the customary Mexican version. The generous portion of multi-colored chips, drenched in barbecue sauce and topped with onions and bubbling jack cheese, was a reasonable $8 and delicious. We also had a tossed salad, the mixed greens fresh and crisp, mine with a sundried tomato vinaigrette dressing that was subtly sweet and mild.

I knew most of the patrons and staff and passed out blog propaganda to everyone there. We even had a new Facebook "like" on our page before we left. (Thanks, Kim!) We love hearing from our readers, whether it be compliment, criticism or recommendations on where to visit or drinks to try. 

Many of the establishments we review have a rich history and I love researching them, mostly for my own personal interest. I found a great article at http://www.denpubs.com/Articles-c-2008-08-13-58099.112116-sub-Griffin-House-has-rich-history.html about the Griffin House. Formerly named The Merrill Magee House, The Griffin House is also featured in Linda Lee Macken's Adirondack Ghosts II: Haunted Places in New York's North Country.

Oh, and be sure to use the ladies' room (ladies only, please) when you're there. It's quite charming, though the Lady Grace is in need of a day at the spa.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Even though we're staunch English women, we couldn't let St. Patty's Day pass by.  Experimented with the Irish Cream.

Bloody Irishman

1 oz Irish Cream
1 oz Cherry Brandy

Bottoms Up!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Grace's Lounge at the Griffin House

One. Happy. Hour. That's all we had. Pam and I decided to make a quick visit to Grace's Lounge at the historic Griffin House in Warrensburg. I'd been there on a number of occasions and had found it pleasant and relaxing, though nothing to blog home about. It had been just a little too quiet. However, none of those visits had been on a Friday.

You wouldn't expect to find many people about on an early Friday March evening in Warrensburg, but a brief visit to Grace's revealed their hiding place. I was pleasantly surprised to find the tavern at one of Warrensburg's oldest and finest inns populated with a number of its finest citizens.

Formerly known as the Merrill Magee House, the Griffin House has made a few changes. The bar, once an eight-foot structure that seated maybe four to six thirsty souls, now has blossomed into a generous growth of lovely cherry with room for at least a dozen. If you prefer to branch out, additional bar-height seating and a sitting room offer total accommodations for thirty or more.

We didn't have an opportunity to look at a menu, so I don't know whether the restaurant menu is offered in the bar, or if Grace's has a separate tavern menu, but many people were eating, an indication that the food is good. Beers on tap were Magic Hat #9, Blue Moon, Adirondack Pub & Brewery's Bear Naked Ale and one other one I couldn't read, as well as at least 15 bottled choices. The featured specialty drinks looked interesting, though we didn't try any.

I think that Grace's deserves our usual scrutiny, so I think we'll be going back very soon so that we can do a proper review.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Grace's Restaurant at the Griffin House in Warrensburg

This was an impromptu review.  We had an hour to kill, and Kim will be out of town for the rest of the weekend, so we decided to try something more local.  I had no expectations and didn't even bring a "fact sheet", no paper at all.  Kim, however, knew better and at least brought a tiny notebook.

I had no idea!  I haven't been to that location since it was the Merrill Magee House.  The bar back then, though attractive, was very small.  Now it's large and inviting!  I was pleasantly surprised and, at the same time, disappointed in myself for not having checked it out sooner.  The barstools caught my eye first.  Wooden stools with leather/suede padding on back and seats.  Very comfortable, and a LOT of them.  I have been searching for the perfect barstools for home for a few years now, and have seen stools like this in my search.  I started calculating the cost in my head! 

In addition to the bar, there is an adjacent room with a leather loveseat with a game board on the coffee table.  That brought me back to the nights in Lake George playing backgammon upstairs at the Delevan - those were good times!  There's something about drinking and playing games that keeps you sharp.  In that adjacent room, there were also a few bar height tables for additional seating (again, more of those attractive barstools).  To me, barstools are like shoes - no matter how well-dressed you are, if your shoes are shabby, the whole look is shabby.  Remember that the next time you go out!  Grace's is impeccably dressed, head to toe.

After admiring the plentiful hanging light fixtures over the bar, my attention turned to the Daily Drink Specials menu on the bar.  Good thing Kim brought her little notebook - she jotted them down for future review.  One drink featured "ruby red vodka".  Wasn't sure what that was, but I wished I hadn't already ordered a drink.  I Googled it and found that Absolut makes are Ruby Red Vodka.  Who knew?!  Looks like I have to make another trip to Mohan's Liquor Store.  Or, it's an excuse to return to Grace's.  Does that mean the grapefruit juice is optional - will have to try some alternative mixers.  Some of the drinks were what I would call "summer drinks", but that's just my opinion.  There was also a list of hot drink specials ("winter drinks"?) worthy of review.

Speaking of vodka, after checking out at a liquor store in Tennessee (remember that liquor store in a dry county?), I saw a bottle of Peanut Butter vodka.  I assumed I could buy it at home, but haven't found it yet.  It might be a nice addition to the "Squirrel Bait" drink we've been working on.  I will have it "exported" to me if I don't find it here. 

Speaking of Whisky Sours, what ever happened to the Whisky Sour?  I used to drink those and always found them tasty, but I haven't heard anything about them lately.  You can see where I'm going with this - I'll bring back the whisky sour myself.  I have often bought sour mix, but for use in my margaritas, not sours.  I think I have some mix in my cupboard.  Maybe I don't need the mix - make my own from scratch.  I have company coming tonight, think I'd better buy some cherries and see what happens...

As always, looking forward to Kim's eloquent review of Grace's at the Griffin House...

Bottoms Up!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lake George Arts Project's Bands 'n Beans

A fiesta of fun, a frenzy of food, mucho music, Bands 'n Beans rocks for great cause, the Lake George Arts Project. There was no way I could sample all of the 40+ chili entries (I do live with other people), but I did try some that were fabulous. Unfortunately their names escape me now, but I voted for my favorite by remembering where it was located.

Roaring Brook Ranch in Lake George was crowded. Packed, actually. You have to be in the mood for something like this. With a predicted attendance of about 1000, it was probably more like a little under 800 people at any given moment. Maneuvering among the tables is an exercise in maze meandering that changes its configurations every few minutes. Every possible table and chair was crammed into the usually spacious dining room and people still had to take turns sitting down. Two rooms with a variety music and an opportunity to run into friends you never see, it is a social event not to be missed, though socializing can be a little difficult, depending on the volume and one's proximity to the music.

I had networking intentions that didn't pan out as I had hoped, but Pam and I managed to get a few cards out there promoting the blog and Facebook page. We really want some reader suggestions for bars to visit. One couple at our table, Ralph and Allyssa (sorry if I misspelled) seemed interested and I'm looking forward to their recommendations for our trip to Inlet and Old Forge. Not sure when yet, but Pat, a former co-worker, seems to know the North Country events calendar by heart and I'm hoping he sends his suggestions along too.

Comments to Pam or myself may be left in the Happy Hour in the High Peaks blog comment area, or on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/happyhourinthehighpeaks

We're also holding a contest for the best recipe for a new drink, "Cabin Fever". See Pam's Feeling Inspired? entry a few blogs below this one.


The Panther Mountain Inn, Chestertown

The Panther Mountain Pub (the P-House as it's known locally) sits at the main intersection in the center of Chestertown (at the flashing light). The spacious room, containing a bar about the length of the Adirondack Northway, is modestly furnished.  The bar itself, a reverse question mark, is interminably long and could comfortably seat 25-30 people on its backless stools. The slate floor continues throughout the entire lounge area into a back room which I assume accommodates bar overflow, private parties, fundraisers or the live music the establishment hosts two or three times a month. The jukebox plays mostly country music, though Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page” did transport me back a couple of decades. Alright. Three decades.

Ed, the bartender, happily responded to our usual questions while keeping an eye on his patrons' needs. The Panther Mt. Pub and its kitchen are open every day (except Christmas) from noon to close. The bar is stocked with standard pours and some specialties. I counted at least 13 vodka choices behind the bar, including blueberry, raspberry, Absolut citron, and double espresso (have to get some of that in the "drink lab" at Pammy's Pub). Booze standards also present: Dewar’s Red, Black & White label; Wild Turkey & Yukon Jack to name a few. Draft beer is not an option here, but the selection of mostly domestic bottled beer was extensive (at least 20 choices), ranging from Michelob Ultra to Sam Adams and a whole bunch in-between. A vodka and grapefruit and a Michelob Ultra only set us back $6.75.

Access to snowmobile trails is nearby, making the P-House a convenient stop to rest, warm up, and grab a bite to eat from the sensibly-priced pub menu. Selections include sandwiches, hand-cut fries, wings, hot dogs, chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks and soup. I ordered the soup of the day ($4.00), a generous pint of hearty, flavorful chili with just a tiny bit of kick. Pam chose the wings, which we’d heard were excellent. She opted for “medium” on the spicy meter and they had an appealing presence on the sniff meter. I love the smell of wings almost as much as the taste. Maybe more. The wings (at $7.50) were fairly standard but good, and not too messy.

The Panther Mt. Inn is under new ownership since February of 2010. The Pub obtained its liquor license   July 4th, 2010. As the proprietors settle in, I'm sure there are more good things to come from this historic icon, rebuilt in 1941 after the original building, built just after the Civil War, was destroyed by fire. For more on the history, please read the article at http://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2010/01/panther-mountain-house-end-of-era.html


Panther Mountain Inn, Chestertown

The Panther Mountain Inn is located in the heart of Chestertown on Main Street.  The pub is found on the lower level of the Inn.  The building is built into a hill, so both are above ground.  The Inn, which has been in business for about 50 years, has 13 rooms (I guess the owners are not superstitious).   The new owners have been in business for less than a year.  They also own a local taxi service, and encourage patrons to take advantage of a cab when necessary.

There was a birthday party in progress in an adjoining room, and at least a half dozen patrons not associated with the party were scattered throughout the bar.  The long bar was setup to seat about 20 patrons, but there was room for many more if needed.   The bartender, Ed, informed us that we just missed  a large crowd of snowmobilers.  The Panther Mountain Inn is located on a snowmobile trail that runs through town, and looks forward to various groups dropping in for food and drink at various times throughout the day.  A group of 5 or 6 snowmobilers came in while we were there, the pungent odor of gasoline lingering on their snowsuits.   

The pub is open 7 days a week from noon to close.  They serve sandwiches, wings, (basic bar fare), throughout the day and night for a very modest price.  I have heard that their sandwiches are delicious, but can only vouch for the wings that I found most delectable and not too messy.  Though they don't have a happy hour, or daily drink specials, they do even better by having reasonable drink prices all day long.

A pleasant, comfortable place to drop in anytime of year, you'll find friendly staff, good food at a good value.

Bottoms Up!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Feeling Inspired?

Here's a new drink in the works - it's called "Cabin Fever".  Submit your suggestions for what this drink should be and we'll give it a try.  The more detail the better (i.e. type of glass to serve it in, is it chilled, shaken or blended, etc).

Did we mention that we are now on facebook?  Search for us as happyhourinthehighpeaks and post your suggestions there if you prefer.

Bottoms Up!

Friday, March 4, 2011

More Creations in the Lab

We've been at it again. New drinks are flowing all the time. Tonight we worked on the Blue Line and the Blue Line Martini, both works in progress, but they show definite promise.

Blue Line Cocktail
Blue Curacao
White Chocolate liqueur
Shaken over ice and served in a cocktail glass.

Blue Line Martini
Blue Curacao
Tangueray gin
Fresh blueberries
White chocolate liqueur
Blenderized and garnished with 3 fresh blueberries.

The Black Fly Bite
Opal Nera Sambuca
Cherry Brandy

This weekend we travel to the Panther Mountain Inn  (P-House) in Chestertown. We haven't been on the road in a couple of weeks so this should be fun!