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Happy Hour Girls: BluStone Bistro left me feeling blue

imageThis was our second trip to BluStone Bistro at 661 Albany Shaker Rd in Albany NY and both trips resulted in never getting to experience happy hour. On the first  time out they were undergoing a renovation to the property, which adjoins the Hotel Indigo. They advertise their happy hour as running from 3:30-6:30 PM. Very generous. We arrived at 4:00 on a week day and there was no one in sight. NOBODY. No customers no employees. It was rather surreal. And yes, they were open. So after standing around for about five minutes and occasionally shouting out “hello????” We became too creeped out and left.

Our second venture occurred post renovation. On this day there were patrons sitting at tables, a group of three women and a single man at tables with drinks in front of them. So far so good…. We sat down at the bar and waited. And waited. And waited. A couple times people who were obviously employees came behind the bar and did stuff but nobody even looked at us let alone acknowledged our existence. After about ten minutes when we were ready to admit defeat and pack it in, a bartender showed up!!  When we pointed out just how long we had been there and that we were ready to leave, we got a rather half assed apology. So figuring we would get some info at least, we inquired about their happy hour and were told “$5.00 beer and wine and $7.00 well drinks”. That was it. No idea if they had food specials or not. We were too turned off at this point. And quite frankly there are 10,000 way better happy hours with  $5.00 well drinks. Well?  Good luck BluStone. On your present trajectory I don’t see much success for your happy hour. Certainly no happiness.


🍸martini rating out of 🍸🍸🍸🍸🍸

Review: Darnley’s View Gin and Spiced Gin

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I recently had the great pleasure of trying both the Darnley’s View Gin and their equally impressive Spiced Gin.  This distillery is Scotland based although the Gin is produced in the London style.  The distillery website notes on the ingredients of the Gin, the following. Bottled at 40% ABV.

“In our gin the distinctive pine, lavender camphor-like flavour of the juniper berry is the keynote around which all the other botanicals are built. We select the most aromatic, oil rich berries which grow in Southern Europe.

Lemon peel dried in the Spanish sunshine adds a fresh crisp bite.

Elder trees grow freely on our Scottish estate. The delicate fruity flavours of elderflower are not only a reminder of our Scottish heritage, they also add an extra special floral dimension to our gin”.


We found upon trying this very aromatic gin, that the upper notes do come through as citrus, with a fresh scent of lemon followed closely by the floral grapey Elderflower  The herbal notes come on the back of the sip with slight pine and a bracing almost alpine taste.  This gin made a great addition to a simple gin and tonic as the tonic doesn’t overwhelm the beautiful essence of this Gin.


Darnley’s View Spiced Gin

Bottled at a slightly stronger 42.7% ABV, this wonderful entry into the spiced gin family shows it’s true colors in it’s first sniff.  It smells warm.  Notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves all arrive immediately on the nose and then on the palate.  Followed closely by the more herbal and juniper notes, the experience is a unique one.  We enjoyed this gin in a number of cocktail formats, including a very unique martini.  Notes from the website on this spirit:

Darnley’s View is made with a selction of ten berries, seeds, peels and roots collectively known as botanicals. The prinicpal botanicals in our recipe are juniper, cinnamon and nutmeg. We decided to bottle at 42.7% as it is the point where the combination of warming spices makes our gin tastes its best.

Overall we found both of these Gins  to be a welcome addition to the spirit category and give them both 5 CHEERS (out of 5)



Leave it to Vermonters to craft some of the best craft cocktail and beer in the world.  Enter Sumptuous Syrups of Vermont, a “sustainably sourced small batch” line of craft cocktail and soda syrups.  Calling themselves “Vermont’s Other Syrup” (very catchy!) this line of syrups is perfect for the bar or the home bar.  Their flavors at present include a Chocolate Mole, Black Currant, Yellow Ginger, Black Berry, Lemon & Basil, most of which are hand crafted with a minimal number of organic ingredients.  Having had the pleasure to try all five, I can say there is nothing that they don’t compliment.  Even when used simply to make soda with a soda stream, the taste is amazing.  The cocktail possibilities?  Endless.  The farm to bar concept in Vermont runs deep, and Sumptuous Syrups is a great example of that.  A simple Manhattan with a dash of Chocolate Mole syrup takes it to a whole new level.  You are only limited by your imagination with all there is to choose from.

Review: Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur


Barrow’s Intense is made right here in Brooklyn New York.  One of the most original tasting spirits we’ve ever tried, Barrows uses lots of Ginger, and nothing else comes between that and its bracingly spicy and refreshing taste. When sipped, you first get the intense ginger flavor with a bit of sweetness.  Roll it around your tongue and you start to get that punch with just a bit of heat.  This liqueur is also one of the most versatile, as enjoyable as a mixer in cocktails or as a chilled post dinner digestif.  We’ve also tried it in hot tea with lemon.  Wow.  The attractive packaging is numbered and has a rubber stopper top.  And the best part is that a little bit goes a long way.  We have used Barrows to give an extraordinary flavor to drinks like Manhattans and Caipirinhas.  It mixes well with rum and gin as well. Club soda, prosecco and Barrows with a squeeze of lime is simply a heavenly experience.  Probably one of our favorite Barrows success stories was mixing it with well chilled TY KU Junmai Gingo Sake and pairing it with Asian Fusion recipes.  Find a bottle as soon as you can to experience the transformative power of Barrow’s intense.