Wednesday, June 1, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Shepard’s Cove Lake George

Look what we’ve been missing since our twenties! At some point during that decade we decided to avoid Lake George Village in the summer season. Too much traffic, too crowded, too expensive, what – pay for parking! When we sat at the lakeside bar at Shepard’s Cove on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, Pam took in the breeze from the open doors and windows, cast her glance out on the lake, listened to solo act Rich Ortiz playing his acoustic music and felt she had been cheating herself all those years.
Our bartender, Jonny, flattered us by insisting on seeing our ID’s. We knew immediately that he was going to be fun. We informed him of our purpose in visiting on that day, and after he and the other bartender finished ribbing us about having to “work” on Memorial Day weekend, we ordered our drinks and took in the interior scenery.

We settled in immediately, relaxed and feeling for the first time on this quest like tourists on vacation. Shepard’s Cove, light and airy, has a distinct Caribbean beach house feel. Whitewashed pine walls trimmed in blue add a cool feel as a steady breeze finds its way through a wide opening to the spacious upper deck overlooking the lake. Another equally large deck resides on the lower level as well, with marina for those arriving by boat. Little thought seems to have gone into the decor, a confusing combination of a series of framed black-and-white celebrity photos and beer advertising giveaways; the ladies’ room pepto pink. A scattering of both high and low tables provide seating in addition to the wraparound bar, which seats approximately 25 people. A modest stage is located inside to accommodate the mostly local bands who contribute to the Lake George nightlife; an area on the deck for acoustic performers on a lazy afternoon.

Jonny answered our technical questions when time permitted. Reminiscent of a young bartender named Brian, whom Pam groomed during her former days as a regular at the Garrison, Pam plied Jonny for some of his favorite drink recipes. Her relationship with Brian had eventually culminated in a “drink of the day” game between them, and Jonny took the bait. Here are a few delicious concoctions he shared with us:

Jonny’s Raspberry
Raspberry vodka
Sour apple liqueur
fresh lemon juice
fresh lime juice
cranberry juice
1 pkt sugar
shaken over ice

Purple Rain
Grape vodka
Blue curacao
cranberry juice

We indulged in Jonny’s Purple Rain with a friendly couple from downstate celebrating a birthday – always a good excuse for a shot (if you need an excuse). The drink prices were in the average range for Lake George – around $5.00 for a beer or simple mixed drink. Kim tried a beer (of course she did!) new to her – a Magic Hat Wacko Summer Seasonal. Malty, slightly sweet, with a mild hop flavor and a gorgeous soft watermelon color, it was light and quenching and complemented Jonny’s Raspberry perfectly. Pam instructed Jonny on the proper proportions to recreate the Grape Crush from the Barking Spider.

We did not have the opportunity to sample the food, but a glance at the menu divulged an assortment of soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers and appetizers in the $6 to $10 range. Entrees include a variety of steaks, seafood, ribs and pasta ranging from $13 to $22.

We are primarily “Happy Hour” patrons and found Shepard’s Cove a perfect place to have lunch or spend an afternoon with family or friends. Our guess is that the patrons of the night are of a more youthful and energetic demographic, attesting to the versatility of Shepard’s Cove. We look forward to our rediscovery of Lake George.

Kim and Pam Ladd’s book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks, is currently in the research stage. Together they visit pubs, bars and taverns with the goal of selecting the top 46 bars in the Adirondack Park. They regularly report their findings here at the Almanack and at their own blog.

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Kim and Pam Ladd

In 2013, sisters Kim and Pam Ladd self-published Happy Hour in the High Peaks: An Adirondack Bar Guide and a companion Happy Hour Trail Passport. As they continue to market and distribute their current book, they are back on the trail doing research for their next project – a guide to breweries, wineries and distilleries in and around the Adirondack Park.

In 2014 they created their own drinking event, a bartender competition they call “BARRED!”, which they expect will become an annual event held in the early spring in collaboration with Basil & Wick’s in North Creek.

With the lofty goal of becoming the Adirondack "Drinking Authority," Kim and Pam report on drinking-related topics and events inside the Blue Line here at the Almanack and at their own blog. You can also visit their website, follow them on Facebook, and Twitter.

The pair have spent most of their lives in Warren County. Pam has a degree in Computer Science, but her passion is mixology. She and her family live in Warrensburg. Kim is a freelance photographer with a degree in Advertising Design and lives in Thurman with her husband.





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