GSN’s One For the Road: Rochester Cocktail Revival

56f357cad24a11e392650002c9532e24_6Whenever I’m on the road and mention that I’m from New York, most people assume I’m either in NYC or what New Yorkers call “upstate”.  Actually, I’m located in Syracuse, the exact center of the state in the area regionally known as the Fingerlakes or Central New York.  To the west lie Rochester and Buffalo.  To the east lie Utica and Albany.  None of these areas are known as destinations for cocktail lovers.  If you do like to drink, you will find an abundance of beer festivals and wine festivals, but little else.  However, a few weeks ago, this all changed with the debut of the Rochester Cocktail Revival (May 2-4, 2014).  A well planned event supported by several local restaurants, a distillery, the Fee Bros. company and major spirit brands attracted several hundred people over three days.

The GSN staff was able to attend the first two days and get a feel for what the cocktail scene is like in Rochester.  We were highly impressed, having been to bars like PDT, the Clover Club, the Hotel Monteleone’s Carousel Bar and many, many others across the U.S. Rochester’s drinks are amazingly creative and well executed, the bartenders and servers top notch, the food incredibly luscious and the seminars diverse and interesting.

Special guests included Dale “King Cocktail” DeGroff, Tobin Ellis of BarMagic Las Vegas, Joe Fee of bitters fame, James Beard Award nominated chef Paul Myers, and Jackie Summers (creator of Sorel liqueur).

With the success of this event, we’re looking forward to attending again in 2015!

Here are some pictures of the event to give you an idea of what we experienced.

The tasting room at Black Button Distilling in Rochester

The tasting room at Black Button Distilling in Rochester

The stills at Black Button

The stills at Black Button

Kimberly Frodelius enjoying a taste of Black Button's Citrus Gin.

Kimberly Frodelius enjoying a taste of Black Button’s Citrus Gin.

Our first two cocktails at the opening reception at The Revelry

Our first two cocktails at the opening reception at The Revelry

The scene inside The Revelry on Friday night

The scene inside The Revelry on Friday night

Good Luck restaurant hosted the Campari America Spirit Dinner

Good Luck restaurant hosted the Campari America Spirit Dinner

The evening's menu

The evening’s menu

"Cocktails and the Creative Process" seminar held at the RoCo Museum

“Cocktails and the Creative Process” seminar held at the RoCo Museum

The lineup for Dale DeGroff's "I'll Take Manhattans" seminar

The lineup for Dale DeGroff’s “I’ll Take Manhattans” seminar

Passing out Manhattans

Passing out Manhattans

Dale DeGroff deconstructing bitters

Dale DeGroff deconstructing bitters

Joe Fee at Cheshire discussing the finer points of bitters

Joe Fee at Cheshire discussing the finer points of bitters

Spirited Dinner tokens for Cheshire

Spirited Dinner tokens for Cheshire

Time for one last drink before we hit the road

Time for one last drink before we hit the road

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