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.
Honest Weight Food Co-op's community-minded group of members fills carts with a focus on whole grains, bulk staples, and other natural edibles. The store's competing specialty departments clamor for attention with locally raised meat to sate carnivorous tummies, international cheeses to pair with wine, and bulk whole foods such as organic Turkish figs ($6.99) and organic French lentils ($3.25) to taunt squirrels with. Some shoppers swear by the 100 Mile Diet built around hyper-local items designated throughout the store, while others indulge cravings for foreign flavor with hard-to-find imports such as San-J’s Thai peanut sauce ($3.89 for a 10-oz. bottle). Deli offerings which may include ratatouille and curried root vegetables with tofu, rotate alongside a selection of meat-free sandwiches and fresh-baked bread, creating a delicious dual carousel to confuse children.
Bright florescent lights of electric lime, sapphire, and scarlet illuminate Zero Gravity's 5,000-square-foot multilevel battlefield. Each laser- tag game at Zero Gravity lasts 15 minutes, and up to 40 laser sharpshooters can put their precision to the test at once. After a pre-game instruction and gear-up session, participating players are divided into two teams (up to 20 players each) and unleashed upon the space-themed interior, where loud music awakens hibernating adrenalines faster than even the fastest roosters can put on a pot of coffee. Thereafter, a friendly fight ensues between team members as they explore the futuristic funscape, dodging and dispatching low-level lasers while developing fresh batches of functional dance moves.
When Nord Brue and Mike Dressell began perfecting their recipe with the help of a professional NYC bagel maker in 1983, the bagel was still an anomaly in the food world—it was, for the most part, geographically and culturally isolated in New York City. Fueled by a desire to change this reality, the duo opened up the first Bruegger's deli with the hope of eventually introducing the rest of the country to the bagel. Brue and Dressell have since realized their dream, sharing their distinctive recipes and culinary traditions at 300 locations spread across 26 states. To this day, they oven-bake their center-less bread rolls every morning and afternoon, populating counter displays that also brim with daily made breads, Vermont cream cheese, and custom-roasted coffee.
Executive Chef Philip Smith and his network of gourmands use the original five-ingredient recipe for their bagel dough, which they shape into more than 20 varieties. Certain menu items may vary from store to store across the country; they draw from each region's local recipes garnered from dialogue between local consumers and store bakers, eschewing the homogenized approach to food adopted by many national chains and preprogrammed chef bots.
Sometimes staffers slather bagels in eclectic cream cheeses such as wasabi, garden veggie, pumpkin, and smoked salmon, or they sandwich them around meats, cheeses, and spreads to evoke the flavor of chipotle or a california sushi roll. Culinary crews assemble meals from local, and often organic, produce and craft bagels and breads from locally milled flour. Baristas also pour house blends of only 100% arabica coffee that is certified sustainable by the Rainforest Alliance.