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, 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

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Melba Mae's, Hadley

Melba Mae’s was one of the few places we visited in the wee hours of the night (9 p.m.). Although the hand painted Melba Mae’s Riverview Inn sign is a bit difficult to read, the lighted message board in front touting the weekend’s band lineup is a beacon to passersby traveling along North Shore Road near the Conklingville Dam in Hadley.

Our visit to Melba Mae’s was prompted by recommendation from people we’d met at some of the Luzerne area bars we reviewed, as well as the fact that Kim’s husband is a member of the Ralph Kylloe Band, Melba Mae’s entertainment that night. The parking lot adjacent to the inn was full, but plenty of parking was available along North Shore Road. We wondered whether that was a good idea in the wintertime.

We entered through a side door, greeted by pleasant cooking smells, quiet chatter and a friendly and cheerful bartender. Kim looked over the beer lineup while Pam checked out the cocktail specials. Plenty of draft and bottled beers are offered. A Davidson’s brown ale, named Aurora Borealis, caught Kim’s eye. She hadn’t heard of that one. Manette, the bartender, explained that it was Davidson’s generic brown ale, and the establishment is allowed to create its own name, this one after the owner’s daughter. Pam settled on a vanilla white Russian. When we asked Manette about the white Mexican, she explained that it was the result of an accidental switch of tequila for vodka. The customer liked it, so they decided to keep it.

Family and community seem to be predominant themes at Melba Mae’s. Greeting cards, drawings, old email jokes, and handwritten menus on day-glow paper are posted all over the wall behind the bar. Melba Mae’s sponsors several community benefits and events throughout the year, hosting holiday parties and dinners; the St. Patrick’s Day party, featuring free corned beef and beer specials, is the biggest celebration of the year. During the summer months, Melba Mae’s is a popular charity bike run stop. Luzerne music camp counselors gather to let off steam and rafters make it an annual tradition.

Melba Mae’s is the kind of joint where you don’t feel like you have to take your shoes off at the door. It feels “lived in”, with low ceilings and hardwood floors. The walls are a combination of sheetrock, pine and blackboard. The L-shaped butcher block laminate bar comfortably seats 16 and several tables provide seating for 20 more along a windowed wall. A small patio provides an outdoor area to enjoy the view or escape the noise. An unusual feature is a separate smoking room, which, surprisingly, doesn’t leak tobacco smells into the main bar area.

Setting them apart from most establishments, the kitchen is open during all operating hours. If the bar’s open, the kitchen’s open. The menu consists of the usual bar fare – burgers, wings (accompanied by their homemade bleu cheese dressing), fried seafood, “Bands ‘n’ Beans” award-winning chili, sandwiches and salads.

Melba Mae’s has been owned by the current owners, Linda and Don for the past 19 years and is open Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday noon to midnight. Tuesday is Open Mike night, with live entertainment on Friday and Saturday. If you go, leave your credit and debit cards at home. Melba Mae’s is a cash only bar, though they anticipate adding an ATM in the near future.