Wednesday, May 16, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Recipe Day!

Having conquered, or at least challenged, a fair number bars (80, to be exact) within an hour-and-a-half’s travel, most that remain involve overnight trips and both exhausting and exhaustive pub crawls. We have arrived at the beginning of the selection process as we continue the final push for finding the 46 best bars inside the Blue Line. For those of you who have recently begun following our bar reviews, there is indeed a purpose. Our goal is to find the 46 “High Peaks” from among the pubs and taverns located inside the Adirondack Park, as well as 46 Adirondack-themed cocktails for inclusion in our book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks.

As sometimes happens, we were unable to travel this weekend, but found some time to don our lab coats and Happy Hour in the High Peaks hats for some serious recipe development in the lab at Pammy’s At-Her-On-Deck Pub, where jiggers, shakers and muddlers take the place of Petri dishes, test tubes and beakers. No Bunsen burner here, but you’ll find a blender as we whip up unique libations or variations of the tried and true. Our scientific method borders on madness as volunteer subjects await the mixtures they’ve been recruited to test. In other words, we threw a party!

Sorry, Pammy’s Pub is not public. The envy of invited guests, the three-level deck, complete with hot tub and a fully stocked bar is host to social gatherings with friends and family on any occasion we can think of. Inclement weather is spent in the cozy converted basement bar (the Rathskeller) with a wood stove and a small, slab pine bar. Both serve as testing facility and headquarters of Happy Hour in the High Peaks.

Rhubarb is in abundance now, and Kim has more than she knows what to do with. One of our most popular blogs has been the Rhubarb Margarita recipe. It was time we created a new one and decided that blueberries would be the base. With a tart, lively personality, this margarita maintains its identity while the blueberry keeps its wildness in check.

3 oz. tequila
1 oz. triple sec
1 oz. lime juice (fresh squeezed)
1 oz. lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
½ c. rhubarb and blueberry puree*

Mix in blender with ice. Pour into salt-rimmed (optional) margarita glasses and garnish with fresh blueberries and lemon and lime slices. Makes 3 margaritas.

*To make the puree, cut 5-7 stalks of rhubarb into one-inch pieces. Place rhubarb and 1 c. blueberries in heavy saucepan and just cover with cold water. Add 1 c. sugar and slowly bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until rhubarb is mushy. Chill. Refrigerate extra for up to two weeks, or freeze to enjoy in the middle of January!

We have a list of cocktails whose names evoke the character of the Adirondacks. Many have yet to be created, so we continued to experiment. The leftover blueberries would keep us inside the blue line and be the perfect base for the APA Martini, a more sophisticated and rigid drink than the frivolous margarita. Unlike some of today’s trendy and incorrectly categorized martinis, the APA Martini is no girly drink. Like a trail guide boldly bushwhacking the way for a flatlander with a bucket list, Tangueray’s bold, piney flavor and subtle botanical essence leads while the blueberry tries to keep up.

APA Martini
3 oz. Tangueray gin
1 oz. sweet vermouth
¼ c. pureed blueberries
1 T sugar (optional)

Shake with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glasses. Garnish with a lemon slice.
Variances (allowed): A squeeze of fresh lemon complements and enhances the blueberry flavor. Or, for a sweeter martini, add I oz. limoncello (lemon liqueur). You can even make your own using one of the many recipes online. Makes 2 martinis.

According to the experimental procedure, a typical experiment should be repeated at least three times. This is not advisable. We often work with survey participants, a sampling of volunteers willing to consume and evaluate new products before they hit the market. With this study pool, it’s not necessary to repeat the experiment, though that is frequently requested. Since our sample size was fairly small, please let us know what you think. 46 cocktail recipes, with names like Adirondack Mudslide and Black Fly Bite, will be chosen for our book from our own creations, as well as some signature drinks contributed by taverns we’ve visited. We only want the best!

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, or follow them on Facebook, and ADK46barfly on Twitter.

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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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