From the Kitchen and the Bar – beer, cake, bourbon and rye

blue cakeThis week we tried a few new beers, a shockingly blue cake and my husband got me a bottle of rye.

The beers were from Shock Top, a craft type company owned by the giant Anheuser Busch. They were in a sampler pack of various flavored takes on their unfiltered wheat ale.

Twisted Pretzel – Weirdly enough, this beer does taste like a pretzel.   There is a very distinct toasted grain taste/smell plus a bit of salinity to bring it to fruition.

Shockolate Wheat – again based on the wheat beer, this is a nicely chocolate and vanilla beer.

Honey Bourbon Wheat – this one I wasn’t too keen on. I can taste more wood than bourbon. It does have a hefty vanilla hit.

Belgian White – This is a pretty standard Belgian wheat, with lots of coriander and orange peel.

The cake was a result of my husband going to get groceries and deciding he needed a cake. This Duncan Hines cake is the blue of a swimming pool. It’s very good, moist with lots of vanilla. It’s basically the same idea as a red velvet cake, which is built on a mild chocolate batter rather than vanilla, and a whole lot of food coloring.  It also has the same… ah…. interesting gastrointestinal effects as anything with lots of food coloring will have. 🙂   We iced it with cream cheese frosting. I’m tempted to try to make some crazy looking tie-dyed cake for this summer, using this blue, the red velvet and the classic white. My luck, I’ll probably end up with a purple cake, which would actually be pretty cool.

ryeThe rye my husband got me is J.P. Wiser’s Rye (all the liquor websites have age gates). It’s a blended Canadian rye whiskey. We do tend to like Canadian blends, like Crown Royal (though my husband loves the little bags it comes in too).   We like blends (including wines) because the product comes out as intended not so much dependent on the vagaries of nature. I also like classic American bourbons, like Wild Turkey (relatively expensive) and Old Crow, cheap but good and which is what I see a classic film noir private eye drinking (and supposedly Hunter S. Thompson liked it too).   Since we happen to have both on hand, I compared them.   The rye is light, floral with a hint of spice, and fairly dry.   I didn’t get the dried fruit that the website says one can detect in the tasting, though I could see maybe some dried figs.  It is has a nice smoothness without forgetting you are drinking a spirit. The bourbon, Wild Turkey 101, unsurprisingly, is sweeter with more vanilla/oak. It is quite strong in proof but oh it is dangerously smooth.  These were drunk neat, with a chilled piece of soapstone in the glass (it is a dodecahedron, aka a twenty-sided die sans numbers, because we are gamers. It came from Wish they would have had the numbers carved on them…)

Eat and drink well!

What the Boss Likes – finger lakes vacation, part 3 – distillers, wines and tasty tasty food

???????????????????????????????This is the final entry on our Finger Lakes vacation.   After touring the east shore of Keuka Lake and part of the west shore of Seneca Lake, we decided to go out of the immediate area on Sunday and visit the “holy of holies”, Genesee Brewing, in Rochester, NY.    We’ve been drinking Genesee beers for decades, mostly the Cream Ale, and decided to see where all of our hard-earned money has gone.

We made it to Rochester with no problem.  Had a bit of confusion when it came to finding Cataract Street.  The street sign is small and it looks as if you are going to be turning into the brewery itself.  The name of the street is appropriate considering it leads you to a lovely overlook of the falls in the Genesee River.???????????????????????????????

The pub has only been around for about a year now.  It consists of a museum, gift shop and small brewery on the first floor and a restaurant on the second.  The small brewery, the “pilot brewery”, makes a few special beers for consumption only on site (or for take away in a growler).  We tried a flight of these beers, including a fresh Cream Ale, and then headed upstairs for lunch.

???????????????????????????????The place was very busy, and rather loud thanks to various sports games being on.  We got a perfect table against a wall at a window.  Ordering two more cream ales (no, we’ve not got tired of them yet), we perused the menu.  A special was buffalo chicken egg rolls – chicken, hot sauce wrapped in an egg roll wrapper and deep fried.  These were very tasty and a good amount as an appetizer for two.  I then got a most excellent hot dog, the type that still has the casing, covered with well-drained sauerkraut and a pile of tasty potato chips.  My husband got a beef on weck, a famous sandwich from the western NY area that consists of thin sliced roast beef on a roll that is covered with caraway seeds and large grain salt.  (the pub’s website doesn’t have the entire menu up on it.)  I wanted a sign with Miss Jenny on it but I really had no place for it.  So we settled for getting a pint glass that had the logo of our beloved cream ale on it.

We got back to Hammondsport in the later afternoon. We made reservations at a local restaurant, the Snug Harbor for later in the evening, so we spent some time wandering around the town and relaxing in our room.

The Snug Harbor appears to be a large lakeside house that was converted into a restaurant.  There is parking across the road from it, against a rock wall and some down a very steep lane near the building.  It even has docks for lake traffic.  We were seated near a real fireplace with a fire in it, very nice on a cool evening.    A local jazz station played softly in the background, and once the arguing couple next to us left, it was a very pleasant evening.  My husband had the Bayou trio cakes which were mixed seafood cakes breaded and deep fried.  I had a evening special, a cracked peppercorn sirloin; both quite tasty.

After a breakfast of eggs benedict, we headed to the east shore of Seneca Lake.   There are some very nice falls along the road there but they have little parking to enjoy them.

???????????????????????????????Our first stop was Finger Lakes Distilling.  We got there a little before they opened so we looked over the lake as we waited.  You can see the tall copper still through the windows on the side.  Once they opened, we went into to be greeted by a sweet border collie.  He very much wanted to play but a room full of glass bottled isn’t the place to play fetch.  So he contented himself with having his ears rubbed by me.

Three dollars got a sampling of three of their products.  I tried the rye, the gewurtztraminer grappa and maplejack liqueur.  The grappa was 90 proof and left a nice warm line down my throat.   The maplejack was not terribly sweet and excellent for sipping, a apple brandy sweetened lightly with maple syrup.   I have a taste for rye, and this one was a very good version, spicy with the nutty notes from the sherry barrels coming through nicely.  The most notable thing my husband tried was the Glen Thunder, a classic American corn whiskey, aka moonshine.  We’ve had moonshines, but this one was probably the best we had.  It didn’t have the funky corn cob taste, and tasted more like caramel corn.  We came away with a bottle of rye, though I’d love to get more from here.  They also have a very nice selection of bitters from various sources. Continue reading “What the Boss Likes – finger lakes vacation, part 3 – distillers, wines and tasty tasty food”