In the mid-18th century, distillers at Albany's first distillery, the Quackenbush Still House, crafted rum from Caribbean molasses, Hudson River water, and wild yeast. Instead of Quackenbush's large wooden fermenting vessels, The Albany Distilling Company's distilling duo, Matt Jager and John Curtin, rely on sleek, modern equipment to create their Quackenbush Still House rum. Updated gear, yeast, and water aside, Matt and John stick to Quackenbush's original recipe to yield the rum's smooth, butterscotch-flavored finish.
Their other small-batch spirits likewise pay homage to recipes of old, from the slowly processed Coal Yard New Make whiskey to Ironweed, a Prohibition-style whiskey aged in oak. Available throughout New York state, The Albany Distilling Company's libations are also served twice weekly at the distillery's very own tasting room.
Sun streams through big windows at The Eatery at Carol's Place as diners sip on steaming cups of coffee and choose from an extensive menu of breakfast and lunch comfort food. Breakfast options include a variety of sandwiches and wraps, sweet delights such as belgian waffels and fluffy pancakes, and family-style breakfast options to share, such as a breakfast pizza with eggs and cheese. Lunch brings classic diner fare such as hearty salads, a make-your-own sandwich bar, burgers, and signature dishes such as Carol's "Famous" Open Faced Meatball or Eggplant Sub with housemade sauce. The casual restaurant evokes a homey feeling with a chalkboard menu, vases of cut flowers, and a cozy corner bookshelf.
A 17-foot-long red oak bar stretches along one of the rustic wooden walls inside Brookview Station Winery. Here, guests can sample vintner Ed Miller’s award-winning wines, which he makes from red and white grapes and locally grown fruits. Located at Goold Orchards, Brookview Station is perhaps best known for its apple wines, including Whistle-Stop White, a semi-dry white wine named 2007's Best Hudson River Region Wine by the Hudson Valley Wine & Grape Association. However, according to the Times Union, the winery has recently trended toward the use of other fruits, producing notable ferments such as The Conductor’s Cassis, a black-currant cordial handcrafted in the traditional style of French artisan winemakers. Visitors can graciously waft Miller’s wares at wine tastings held seven days a week.
Baristas at Altamont Coffee Café froth fresh-ground coffee drinks made from locally roasted beans, and dish out quiches, crepes, and sandwiches stuffed with healthy local ingredients. The bistro's menu tells the savory story of a daily vegetarian quiche ($6.95) and a rotation of fresh fillers. Spicy curry powder balances sweet mango chutney in the chicken curry wrap ($6.95), and the caprese panini unites basil, tomato, and mozzarella on a crispy baguette ($5.95). Fresh off the griddle and confident, the blueberry crepe ($3.95) steps into the ring with a pastry chef who lands blow after blueberry blow as orange marmalade shouts encouragement from the corner and sour-cream maple syrup watches with an expression bordering on concern.
One step inside The Epicurean Bistro & Wine Bar and visitors are transported to a French village complete with tiled awnings, lampposts, and yellow-brick walls that ascend into a sky-like ceiling. The authentic French atmosphere was created by founding partner Claire, a French-Canadian and consummate traveller, and French-born executive chef Dominique Brialy, whose training has taken him all over the world. Working together, their restaurant was named named Best French by Metroland in 2012, won the Award of Excellence in 2013 from Wine Spectator, and earned a mention in the inaugural edition of Best Chefs America. They pour attention into the eatery's details, from the rustic wall sconces to the sage-scented parsnip purée that accompanies the roasted venison. Claire's husband and business partner Sandy has curated a wine cellar filled with 2,200 bottles from every region of France and internationally sourced varietals that complement every meal. Guests may also order from a full bar that features an extensive craft and imported beer selection, as well as an array of whiskeys, single malts, and bourbons.