Having missed the grand opening, last week I got the chance to sit down with Kim from The Simple Treat to check out the latest venture from Vic Chistopher and Heather LaVine: Peck’s Arcade. (If you’ve already read Kim’s post on Peck’s you’ll recognize plenty of these dishes.)
I wanted to clear up some things that I’ve had some friends asking about: Peck’s Arcade is the same space that the Tavern Noodle popup was located, and is what was originally being called The Tavern. Peck’s sounds a little less generic and has a little more personality to the name (and I’m sure will ease some issues with social media and web searches for Vic and Heather). Peck’s is located on the Broadway side of their building near The Grocery, with Collar City Hard Pressed sandwiched between the two. Lastly, just because there is “Arcade” in the name it does not mean there are video games here, sorry. With that out of the way, let’s check out the pics of the night.
— How about a follow up on the Pumpkin-Infused Vodka from the other day? First off, holy cardamom. Yeah do yourself a favor and get some cardamom pods instead of the ground cardamom. The flavor was still great, but the ground cardamom dominated the nose in a huge way. I also drained the pumpkins from the jar, tossed them in cinnamon sugar and roasted them for about 20 minutes so they’d be edible, and then put them back in the vodka.
I had to figure out how to cover up that cardamom bomb while presenting this drink. I took my shaker, filled it with ice, filled the vodka to the top of the ice (which had settled a bit), filled the rest of the shaker with simple syrup and mixed. I poured that in the glass, floated some whipped cream and then topped it with some pumpkin spice. I’m guessing 7 parts pumpkin vodka to 1 part simple sugar.
It worked beautifully. The pumpkin spice up top covered up any cardamom in the nose, the sweetness from the cinnamon sugar roasted pumpkin and the simple syrup made it just sweet enough drink by the pint (Don’t be like us. Drink this in a martini glass or something a normal human being would drink out of. Unless you want to get tanked. Then have at it.)
If you really wanted to get fancy, you could crush up some graham crackers and mix it with some pumpkin spice and rim the glass with it, but let’s face it, I’m not that fucking fancy.
— Speaking of infusions, I decided to do something a little more bearable for Halloween (possibly the only actively Halloween-related thing I’m doing this year, as I’m not having a Halloween Party this year, and I’ve given up on all of the super-gimmicky Pumpkin beers this season). I took a look at a few recipes online but nothing really suited exactly what I was looking for (mostly due to limitations of finding certain whole spices in our crappy grocery stores in the area) so I kinda just winged it. We’ll see how it turns out on Friday.
I couldn’t find cardamom seeds anywhere, so ground cardamom had to do. This shit was ridiculously expensive. Price Chopper wanted $14.99 a bottle which is really unacceptable. I grabbed this bottle at Fresh Market for 8 bucks.
I always have Madagascar vanilla beans in the pantry which normally are really expensive, but I buy them through Amazon by the half pound for substantially cheaper than locally. I had some cinnamon sticks leftover from 30 Days to Dogfish Head Night, but had to grab some whole cloves and the pie pumpkin from the store, too. I’m a bit of a mason jar hoarder, so I grabbed a large Atlas jar from the basement.
After gutting and cutting the outside of the pumpkin (let’s be real I had Elise do that) I cut the pumpkin meat in cubes, split two vanilla beans, grabbed a teaspoon of cardamom, about 25 cloves (Merc is going to give me shit about this), two cinnamon sticks and tossed them all in the Atlas jar. I then filled it up to the top with vodka, leaving enough space up top to give it a good shake every once in a while. I didn’t measure exactly, but I ended up using about 4.5-5 cups of vodka to fill the jar. Here’s it all mixed up:
Since using the ground cardamon instead of cardamom pods, I’m going to have to use a coffee filter like with the Bacon Habenero Vodka to get some of the clarity back. And if I had a little more time last night, I would have probably roasted the pumpkin meat first, and I’ll probably do that next time. We’re planning on making a couple of pumpkin vodka based drinks with this on Friday. More pics of that when it happens.
— Hey y’all. Remember when I posted this? Well that ended up turning into a little something I call Bacon Habenero-Infused Vodka. I didn’t end up using all of the peppers, but I did use the majority of them.
After cooking a few slices of bacon, and slicing the peppers but maintaining the spines and seeds as much I could, I patted down the bacon to get as much grease off (you’ll never get it all off) and infused the vodka for a few days with it. On the day that I was going to present it to my chili-head friend as his birthday gift, I took the the vodka out, washed down all of the bacon and chilies to get them as clean of fat as possible, and then I filtered the vodka through a coffee filter I screwed on top of a mason jar.
You can see there’s plenty of fat that needs to be taken out of the vodka. The filtering is definitely a must.
Yeah, it ain’t pretty, but if you like heat, you’d love the stuff. It got passed around Wayne’s birthday and pretty much every had a taste of it. Reactions went from Wayne thinking it was the best thing he’s ever drank, to “Hey, that’s got some heat, but that’s not bad” to “HOLY SHIT MY MOUTH IS ON FIRE”. Haha.
Last minute I tossed the chilies and bacon back in so it looked great for presentation.
I’m sure you could put this stuff to good use of than drinking it straight. Maybe a spicy chocolate martini or, while they aren’t my thing, a pretty killer Bloody Mary.
Jon and Danielle were spending the weekend up at Moreau Lake and while I couldn’t stay the whole weekend, Elise was at a wedding shower so that means I had a free pass to head up there with Kuma to enjoy a few drinks around the fire. Jon said he ended up having a shitty night so I’m glad I didn’t stay.
Jon actually grabbed this Scythe and Sickle at Ommegang well before it hit shelves in our area and we were drinking this the weekend after. If you have already read my rant about this beer on All Over Albany I apologize, but I feel this needs to be said here.
When you read the reviews for Scythe and Sickle a lot of them have the same thing to say, or at least allude to it: “You can really taste the Belgian yeast in this.” What they mean to say is “You can really taste the Ommegang yeast in this.” And that’s the biggest problem that I have with all Ommegang beers these days. If you lined 100 beers up I could easily pick out the one Ommegang beer out of them. They all have this same common flavor profile due to using this only one yeast strain in their beers and after years and years and years of drinking Ommegang (they’re really where I started getting fanatical about craft beer) it’s getting kind of boring. That’s a shame since this Scythe and Sickle deserves a 4+ rating but unfortunately I just can’t give it that rating while being that bored and uninterested in the brand in general.
I want to see Ommegang do something truly different and out of their comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be a huge risk, nationwide release or anything. I want to see them experiment, do some small batch, brewery only release or even something as small as a brewery only on tap release. I would drive out there for something like that in a heartbeat, and I’m sure there are plenty of locals who would appreciate a beer like that as well.
This dovetails into my complaint that we really don’t have much in terms of beer in the area that worth trading for. If I want to trade for something across the country, I generally have to drive up to Vermont and get some Heady Topper, Lawson’s or Hill Farmstead. The two big craft breweries of note in New York, Southern Tier and Ommegang, really only brew what they ship mostly nationally and they do nothing in terms of brewery only releases. Ithaca used to have some sours that were worth trading, but that’s still 3 hours away, one single style of beer compared to the multiple styles of beer I could acquire in VT, and since they no longer have a coolship their sour program is kind of up in the air (yes that was an open-air fermentation pun). My best chance in NY right now is to get my hands on some of the Captain Lawrence sours (congrats on the big wins at GABF this year, btw) and to hope that Peekskill starts up their barrel aging and sour programs and they start bottling some day. That’s kinda sad.
Speaking of whiskey barrels, check out this insanely good video from Jack Daniel’s detailing the labor that goes into the creation of their barrels. I’m sure a few of these are destined for some delicious barrel-aged stouts, barelywines, and quads.
— Pretty awesome meeting the guys from The Albany Distilling Company at the Altamont Vineyard’s HalloWine Fest last night. I’ve read about them in the past but I failed and they completely fell off my radar so I’m glad I caught them before they open up next week. They were pouring their white whiskey which had a surprisingly great taste (little bit of a burn on the back end but that’s to be expected and will mellow out during the barrel-aging process). I thought it tasted even better than the white whiskey at Maker’s Mark, interestingly enough.
Anyway I would be doing all of you beer nerds a complete injustice if I didn’t ask the all important question: What are they doing with the spent bourbon barrels? Thankfully, they said the Albany Pump Station is chomping at the bit to get their hands on them. I would love to see that collaboration happen on a super-local bourbon barrel aged robust porter or imperial stout. Make it happen guys!
Don’t forget to check out The Albany Distilling Company’s grand opening THIS Friday. It starts at 11 with a ribbon cutting and they’ll be slinging whiskey until midnight. Be there!