Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spirit of Albany: The Fort Orange

Editor’s note: We asked Albany's best mixologists to create an original cocktail recipe that embodies the true Spirit of Albany. Today, we highlight the Fort Orange, created by Joe Westervelt of the Century House Hotel, Restaurant, and Conference Center.

In 1624, Dutch settlers established a permanent trading and military outpost called Fort Orange. The fort went through a number of changes over the years, but eventually the establishment became present day Albany. To honor our ancestors, The Century House Restaurant created "The Fort Orange" cocktail.

The drink is comprised of local Core Vodka (Valatie, NY) infused with fresh oranges and mixed with Grand Marnier, fresh lemon juice, ginger ale, and an orange wedge garnish. Though the recipe is simple enough for a novice bartender, the final product is an outstanding tribute to the men and women who originally settled the area. Surely, they would have enjoyed relaxing with a nice Fort Orange after a long day of blacksmithing, carpentry, hunting and fishing, trading, cooking, and the many other tasks that were common back in the 1600s.

Today, guests to the Century House can feel as if they are back in time while dining next to the fireplace in the historic restaurant, which serves up some of the best food around. (I highly suggest the Lobster Mac and Cheese!) I recently invited a number of friends to the Century House to sample the drink and enjoy some food. When I mentioned that we were going to try a new cocktail, some were wary. However, all trepidation was immediately relieved with the first sip.

The blend of fresh ingredients creates a satisfying and refreshing drink that is pleasant on its own or when paired with food. (Did I mention the Lobster Mac and Cheese?) “The Fort Orange” is now vernacular in my circle of friends, and we are soon planning another trip to the Century House to enjoy this wonderful creation. You should, too.

Get the complete recipe and more at www.albany.org/spiritofalbany. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite recipe, which may earn the title of the 2013 Spirit of Albany.

Remember to have fun, but be smart. Designate a driver!

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