September is one of the months where we typically schedule a vacation. Usually the weather is still pleasant, and in normal years, the kids have gone back to school and aren’t hanging around where we want to play tourist. Our original plans for the week we had off was to go to San Francisco. But in the 11 months between booking the vacation and actually taking the vacation, the world exploded. And then the West Coast started on fire. So in the end, it worked out that we couldn’t go cross country, and were forced to stay in our own state.
We had been looking forward to spending some of our time in Napa Valley and sampling California wine, so when it came time to decide what we were going to do, we stuck to the wine theme and spent vacation in the Finger Lakes in NY. I’ve posted about the area before, and we go every summer to see the goats, but this time we wanted to explore some of the areas we don’t typically visit – namely Keuka Lake. We spent 6 nights in the Finger Lakes area, each night in a different town, and on Saturday our friends came down to join us in Penn Yan. After a quick lunch we drank our way south to Hammondsport, visiting several wineries and breweries, and one distillery – Krooked Tusker.
A PSA: Due to covid, and everything being limited, many of the wineries are requiring reservations for tastings. This impacted us a little bit, because a few of the places we wanted to visit were booked. There are so many wineries in the area though, that it didn’t matter that much for us. But just be aware, if you are intending to do some wine tasting, and you have a specific destination in mind, make a reservation.
Krooked Tusker is a distillery on the west side of Keuka lake, outside Hammondsport. They have a nice big covered deck area, and a huge lawn with chairs and games to play. They offer a variety of spirits including a standard vodka as well as infused flavors, corn whiskies, gin and aged bourbons. When we sat down they gave us a cocktail menu to peruse, as well as an option for a flight of straight spirits. One thing not on the menu? A Bloody Mary. We ordered and were enjoying the patio when I spotted a Bloody Mary at another table. Of course, I had to try it.
Their standard single Bloody Mary is served with 2 olives in what looks like a sippy cup haha. All their drinks on the patio are served in plastic with lids for safety. But wait…the waitress told us that on Sundays they have a Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar! It was Saturday…we were staying the night in the area…I had no choice but to insist we return the next day for the Bloody Bar.
Check out those options! With 4 different mixes, plus their different spirit options, you really can get whatever flavor profile that you want. Add in the garnishes and voila!
I opted for the horseradish vodka, which I also had the day before, and the classic Bloody mix. I am assuming the mix they used is a Powell and Mahoney mix, since they sell it in their store, but I am not sure. I added in Worcestershire, more horseradish, dill pickles, pickled garlic, cherry peppers, beets, bacon and shrimp. I don’t normally opt for shrimp but it was calling to me.
The cocktail had a great flavor, if a tad sweet. It had a light spice level that builds. I was a little surprised that there weren’t additional spice options to add to your base mix, like Tabasco or Frank’s, or a dry spice to mix in or add to the rim. If like me, you didn’t opt for an already spicy mix, and/or don’t like horseradish, there was nothing to add in.
I am intrigued by the Ginger/Lemon vodka, and think that could be a delicious option for a future visit. I don’t usually go for whiskey, but I’m assuming the Hellhound Hooch is spicy, which might be great too.
All this can be yours for only $12, Sundays only. They offer an early bird special from 11am-noon, where you can get 2 for $20. So either drink fast, or bring a friend but definitely check it out.