Take Dad To The Distillery (and Other Foodie Adventures for the Over 21 Crowd)

by Sandra Foyt on July 6, 2011

in Food Adventures

Harvest Spirits-3It doesn’t happen too often, but occasionally we plan a family outing to please the man of the house. Last month, on Father’s Day, we treated Dad to a Foodie Adventure outing at Harvest Spirits in Valatie, NY.

Apple Jack and Cider Donuts

My children and I have stopped at Golden Harvest Farms many times – for the baskets of peaches and for the pies. But this was a day to please the dads, and we were here to check out the Harvest Spirits distillery behind the “road stand,” an affectionate name for a shop that carries a full line of fruits and locally crafted items including an assortment of honeys, cheeses, pies, and cider donuts.

Harvest Spirits-1

When we dropped by on a Sunday afternoon, the hard working staff was cranking out those cider donuts and selling them out just as fast. We had to pass the baking operation, and its enticing scent, to get to the distillery. For a moment, I didn’t think we would be able to resist the lure, but as we entered the cavernous aluminum shed, the cider donut scent was displaced by the aroma of the still and barrels.

Harvest Spirits-2

The distillery is a labor of love and creative outlet for graphic designer, Derek Grout, and one of several enterprises springing from the family-owned apple farm. On our visit, we toured with distiller and historian, Collin McConville, and my husband was well satisfied with several product tastings of the Cornelius Applejack and the Pear Brandy, as well as brew tips and information on where to get specialty yeasts.

Harvest Spirits-4

While the men discussed brewing and distilling, I remained by the barrels, fascinated by Mr. Grout’s artwork and experimentation. A good number of barrels have been enhanced by drawings, some done by hand and others copied from templates drawn from newspaper cartoons and elsewhere. And while this was visually interesting, so were the jars of items under consideration as infusers: mango slices, assorted berries, wing of bat, wart of toad?!

Harvest Spirits-5

We were very curious about one current experiment to produce a line of apple-in-a-bottle Core Vodka. Early in the spring, bottles were placed over the emerging apples, and when they reached the desired size, they were brought into the distillery where they are now hanging amongst the barrels, working their magic on the locally distilled vodka. If it all works out, this might be a cool Father’s Day gift next year.

And then we returned to the road stand to chase the Apple Jack with cider donuts.

Foodie Adventures (for 21+) in Northeast NY

There are a number of distilleries, breweries, wineries, and other sites offering tastings that make for fun family outings in the region, even if sampling is adult-only. Here are a few:

As always, please do comment to share any that I have missed!

| Sandra Foyt is a storyteller, photographer, and road trip junkie. A veteran of six cross-country road trips, she drove Route 66, the Lincoln Highway, the fossil freeway, the extraterrestrial highway, and even “the loneliest road in America.” Find her on GetawayMavens.com, an award-winning destination guide to extraordinary travel in and from Northeast USA, on her portfolio site at SandraFoyt.com, and in freelance gigs on Family Travel 411, Minitime, Huffington Post, and Matador Network. Email: sandrafoyt@albanykid.com, Twitter @SandraFoyt.

Cie July 6, 2011 at 6:29 pm

There are two Micro Breweries in Glens Falls, and because it was my birthday on Sunday, we happened to hit one for lunch and the other for dinner. I have never asked for a tour though.
For lunch we went to Davidson Brother’s http://www.davidsonbrothers.com/ , which is more adult oriented. The food was excellent and my beer connoisseur friend was impressed with the beers (6 small samples you choose). They do offer tours and live music. I had a corn crab cake and my friend had fish and chip – the fish was Blue Fish, extra special!
For dinner we went to Cooper’s Cave http://www.cooperscaveale.com/ , which makes not only beer and ale, but soda and ice cream.as well. The building that contains the distillery/pub/store/walk-up-ice-cream-window is right on the Warren County Bike Trail, so it’s nice to stop by for a treat. Their soda even comes in Butter Beer flavor! Dinner here was excellent – calms steamed in Sagamore Stout with garlic and spices, steaks, and ice cream for desert. Fridays and Saturdays Cooper’s Cave offers live music.

Sandra Foyt July 6, 2011 at 10:45 pm

I’d love to compare Cooper’s Cave Butter Beer soda to the Harry Potter version!

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