March 2018 Issue | Vol. 1 Iss. 1
Golf. Craft Beer. Craft Wine. Craft Spirits. Travel Destinations.
Contents Featured Articles 68 29
Wild Adventures on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail: Part 1 The Kentucky Bourbon Trail makes a great weekend trip. By Betsi Hill
The Ocean Course Peninsula Papagayo An amazing 18-hole journey in the jungle By Tim Cotroneo
Playing The Links 22 A Great Nature Atmosphere: Cabo San Lucas 58
Lajitas Golf Resort
Sips & Travel 10
Red Cedar Spirits
Kentucky Brewgrass Trail
The Virginia Distillery Company
Messina Hof Wineries
Becoming a Certified Pourer at Guinness Storehouse Mixology
Old Tony’s in Southern California
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Tim Bona Elizabeth Heath Tim Cotroneo Victoria Hart
Kevin Wilkerson KC Witherspoon
Contributors Amy Piper Art Stricklin Betsi Hill Jim Hill
Bryan Richards Cat Holladay Donna Long Scott Kendall
From the Editor
Burgdorf’s Winery Award-Winning Wine from a Garage
hat do Deborah and Dave Burgdorf have in common with Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin? They all have launched successful businesses from their garages. In the wine industry, the Garagiste refers to a European concept of making wine out of a garage. Garagistes produce “Vin de Garage” or “Garage Wines” which are limited production wines. The term initially had a negative connotation used to refer to small-lot rogue wineries that refused to follow the
By amy piper
rules. Today this is a full-blown movement, making award-winning wine. For the Burgdorf’s it all started 30-some years ago as home winemakers, in the Haslett, Michigan countryside east of Lansing, with a bumper crop of wild black raspberries. Dave laughed, “You can only make so many jellies, cobblers, and pies. We quit eating them and decided to try making some wine. The rest
is history.” They perfected the wine over time and named it Perfection. The black raspberry wine was an initial product in their 2005 opening. At that time, Travelocity named Burgdorf’s winery as their “Local Secret Big Find,” and things began to take off. They moved from producing as a boutique winery into a 2,400 square-foot barn located behind the tasting room. A large patio and deck attached to the tasting room in the country setting is a peaceful place to enjoy a glass of wine. Vintners Deb and Dave Burgdorf have been making wine for over 30 years. In 2005, they decided to turn their hobby into a business. Deborah Burgdorf has an M.S. degree in Microbiology and more than 15 years of fermentation experience. Dave Burgdorf has a B.S. degree in Agriculture and worked as a conservation planner and Plant Materials specialist for 40 years. Today, Deb is the vintner and handles the accounting, while Dave does the marketing and public relations. The Garage Dave is an accomplished carpenter who turned that three-car garage into a charming countryside tasting room. He believes, “If you don’t know you can’t, you just do it.” Dave cut all of the oak for the bar and then handcrafted it himself. He even made the rustic-country light fixtures. After 12 years the overhead garage door remains in place. Dave revealed, “I thought it would be easier to leave it than to remove it, just in case the winemaking didn’t work out.” The five-acre family-owned estate, winery, tasting room, and boutique gift shop sits at the northernmost point of southeast Michigan’s Pioneer Wine Trail. It’s also part of the Greater Lansing Makers and Shakers Trail, which is their craft brewing trail.
The Burgdorf’s initially offered people the opportunity to come and participate in making and labeling their own wines. The juice came from wine kits. The two lent their winemaking experience to enhance these wines and to earn enough money to buy more wine tanks and equipment. Eventually, this activity faded as the Burgdorf’s continued to expand their winery. Truly Michigan™ The artisan vintners set themselves apart from other wineries through the Truly Michigan™ Seal. Dave trademarked the “Truly Michigan™,” which businesses can use if their product is 100 percent grown and produced in Michigan. There are specific criteria required for products to use the seal. One criterion for wineries is that the winery has to have their own head winemaker. Deb Burgdorf is the head winemaker at Burgdorf’s Winery. Other criteria include investing in the infrastructure
(the equipment used to make the wine, like the tanks and press) along with signing and displaying the Truly Michigan™ Pledge. A Truly Michigan™ winery produces 80 percent of their wines from Michigan grown fruit. The Truly Michigan™ Seal on a bottle indicates the winery produces the wine on-site from 100% Michigan grown fruit. The concept assists consumers in identifying products that are 100 percent grown and produced in Michigan. Bergdorf’s pineapple wine, for example, can transport you to a tropical paradise; however, it will never carry the Truly Michigan™ Seal, because pineapple doesn’t grow in Michigan. The seal requires only the consumable product to be 100 percent Truly Michigan™. Farmers can also be part of “Truly Michigan™,” for example; Michigan beet sugar; popcorn, and spirits could qualify.
While the Burgdorf’s grow some of their fruit, 100 percent of their grapes are from Michigan. Michigan State University (MSU) Horticultural Farm grows some teaching and research grapes nearby. MSU approached the Burgdorf’s early on about purchasing these grapes. The Burgdorf’s agreed and Deb uses these grapes in making their Spartan wine: Spartan White, Spartan Red, Spartan Blush, and Spartan Reserve. MSU, formerly Michigan Agricultural College (MAC), was the first agricultural college applicant in the United States and was a model for future land-grant colleges. A Moment in Wine Today the Burgdorf’s produce over 20 styles of wine. Each month they have two wines of the month. When I visited, they served a Pinot Gris and Golden Temptation.
“Everyone knows what Pinot Gris is,” mentioned the server. The 2013 Pinot Gris is full-bodied, crisp, and fruit forward. It contains hints of pear, apple, and almond, with a refreshing floral nose. This wine is a Silver and Bronze Medal Winner.
sweet dog, this wine is also sweet. The golden wine is a sweet Vidal Blanc infused with apple and aged in French Oak. It has a honey flavor with slight aromas of sage and mint.
Deb’s 2013 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine Golden Temptation is in memory won a Double Gold Medal and Best of the first wine dog, named Buddy, of Class at an International Show a golden retriever. Like Buddy, the in Sonoma, California. The wine is a
delicacy made from grapes left on the vines through full maturation and picked while frozen. The process concentrates the natural flavors and sugars to produce a rich juice from the ripe fruit. There are lovely notes of peach, pear, and nectar on the palate. Deb says her secret to the award-winning wine was babysitting it and bottling it at just the right time. Dave says his favorite wine “is the one that is in my glass.” He will enthusiastically teach you to experience the wine through sniffing, sipping, and enjoying; however, he won’t tell you what to expect. He says, “Each wine is unique, and you have to allow yourself to enjoy and taste that wine.” Asking Deb which wine is her favorite is like asking her, which is her favorite grandchild. She has two wines named after grandchildren, and they are both her favorite “Faye and Finlay.”
or of their first grandson. This wine is smooth to the palate with a lingering finish of vanilla, toasted oak, and mixed berries. Finlay is a Double Gold Medal Winner and Best of Show Winner. “Hey, Dave,” I said on my way out, “It’s safe to remove the garage door.”
The 2013 Faye (Cabernet Franc) named in honor of the Burgdorf’s first grandchild is a medium-bodied red wine aged in French oak for just the right amount of time to produce a wonderfully balanced red wine. It’s a two times Bronze Medal Winner and Double Gold Medal winner. The 2013 Finlay’s Reserve is a bold, dry wine made from a proprietary blend of three grapes (Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot) named in hon-
If you go 5635 Shoeman Road Haslett, Michigan 48840 517-655-2883 www.burgdorfwinery.com
Best lakefront dining in the midwest.
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Red Cedar Spirits Distills Eco-Style by amy piper
ed Cedar Spirits’ eco-style wasn’t what created the dark ambiance during my distillery tour, but rather a citywide power outage. It was a cold and rainy autumn afternoon in East Lansing, Michigan. “Would you like to warm up with a shot of whiskey?” Dianne Holman, the owner-manager immediately offered as I walked into the dark at Red Cedar Spirits cocktail bar. While Red Cedar Spirits is one of the oldest and largest distilleries in Michigan established in 1998, what makes them special is the use of sustainable raw materials and green manufacturing. It’s the key to what Red Cedar Spirits is. Holman took the former 48,000 square-foot brownfield East Lansing Public Works building and remediated it. Previously Holman was a civil engineer for 16 years at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), so she was in her comfort zone. Sustainable Green Manufacturing She uses an artisan-scientific approach to her distillery where she employs chemists, engineers, and microbiologists. The universities train chemical engineers in distillation, as the number one separation process in the world, used to make everything from spirits to petroleum. This artisan-scientific approach with attention to detail and ample barrel aging produces a smooth and consistent spirit. All of Red Cedar Spirits’ ingredients come from a state
or province that touches the Great Lakes. Most of the corn used comes from their family farm in Illinois, where they use non-GMO seeds. They get apples, cherries, wheat, corn, and pears from Michigan. Michigan ranks second only to California in agriculture. All of the barley and malted barley comes from Wisconsin and the rye from southwest Ontario. Holman re-purposes some of the by-product streams from the beverage distillation into non-beverage products, which she manufactures under a separate brand. She uses corn from their Illinois farmland, adding value to the raw material by using fermentation processing in their non-beverage bio-based product manufacturing. The United States Department of Ag-
riculture (USDA) promotes using agricultural raw materials in value-added processing and offers grants for their development. Holman also received a grant from the State of Michigan for implementing energy-saving techniques into the distillery’s processing which included heating and cooling integration technology. Dianne says, “We still have many ideas and plans to continue enhancing our facility related to energy ef-
ficiency, more products from sustainable raw materials, and an environmentally-friendly approach. For me, that is the most interesting part of our set-up at Red Cedar Spirits. It’s why I wanted to start this company. We never run out of new things to add and work on.” One example is the building’s one-acre roof Holman plans to use for solar-related power harnessing. The Distillery Start-Up In 1998, the law changed, and the fees and licensing costs in the state of Michigan for opening a craft distillery dropped from an initial $10,000 investment to a more affordable $150, which made the venture within reach. Everyone wanting to create a distillery in Michigan was in the same place. They weren’t sure how to move forward, so they figured it out together. Dianne’s husband Kris Berglund, a professor at Michigan State University (MSU), was one of Michigan’s first craft distillers. The first step was finding stills. Dianne explains that at this time the United Statesbased companies made stills for large-scale producers, but not small stills for smaller distillers. Since wineries could now make brandy, some Michigan wineries banded together with Kris, who represented MSU, to collaborate on finding the best stills. The
group searched southwest Germany, Stuttgart, and the Black Forest to find stills appropriate for their planned Michigan distilleries. They found their stills at Carl Company, a four-generation German still manufacturer. All four German-made stills came to Michigan together in one shipping container—the first known artisan stills in the state. Today, the group continues in a collaborative environment.
Brandy Cherry Eau de Vie is an 80 proof brandy, distilled from one hundred percent Michigan Montmorency cherries. Federal law requires distilling the spirit from the fruit rather than just adding the fruit at the end of the process. Farmers pick the shoreline fruit and bring it to the distillery the same day it is crushed to prevent it from picking up off flavors. Red Cedar Spirits adds no other flavors. The cherry Eau de Vie has the familiar aroma
Today, with over 7,000 liquor skews available in Michigan, Michigan’s 40 craft distilleries make about 200 of them. Michigan ranks third in craft distilleries nationwide. In 2016, the size of the distilled spirits industry in Michigan was one billion dollars. Red Cedar Spirits is part of that.
of Michigan’s tart cherries, and the taste is equally wonderful. The eau de vie makes an excellent sipping spirit and pairs well with dark chocolate. Red Cedar Spirits distills their Apple Brandy from Michigan apples and then ages it in oak barrels. The brandy offers an apple touch to cocktails and is a splendid sipper neat or on the rocks. Whiskey Melting Pot Whiskey is a blend of straight whiskeys. Bourbon, Rye, and Malt Whiskey are blended and barrel-aged resulting in a complex and flavorful blend. While it makes an outstanding cocktail, I enjoyed it on the rocks. Dianne believes that “blending makes it better.” It is spicy and warm. Red Cedar Spirits re-invented classic cocktails like the Manhattan and the Old Fashioned for a modern made-in-Michigan twist because, in Mich-
igan, distilleries must use only the spirits made by the distillery in their tasting rooms. Red Cedar Spirits distills Rye Whiskey from rye and ages it for at least two years. This spirit makes a fantastic Manhattan. Winston Churchill created the original Manhattan, and it was a rye drink. A Manhattan recipe usually contains sweet vermouth, but instead, Red Cedar Spirits uses a cherry cordial to make theirs. Red Cedar Spirits distills barrel-aged Corn Whiskey from 100% non-GMO yellow corn and barrel-ages it for at least two years. The corn whiskeys are smooth, and this barrel-aged one is sweet and light. It’s great for cocktails, neat or on the rocks. It’s a clear spirit that works well as a mixer. Bourbon Aging in the barrel room, I spied barrels marked “oat bourbon.” Dianne explained, “The oat bourbon is over 51% corn (as bourbon must be) and the remaining portion is oats. We have been barreling oat bourbon yearly and bottled some a year ago. It was popular, so we will probably bring out another batch in 2018 for our cocktail bar. Some people are already waiting for the ‘return of the oat bourbon.’ We also have
some other special spirits that we are bringing out in 2018. We have some other limited-edition spirits that we feature from time-to-time. We have six on-going spirits in distribution, we like to have limited-edition spirits in our tasting room just for fun, and they are great too. We have a monthly tasting panel that helps us keep up with tasting all the spirits waiting in barrels in our warehouse. The tasting panel gives their opinion on what is ready to be unveiled.”
VISIT OUR TASTING ROOM FOR TOURS, TASTINGS & COCKTAILS
CERTIFIED ORGANIC. MADE FROM SCRATCH. IN MILWAUKEE. www.TwistedPathDistillery.com
Currently, there are two types of bourbon available. The Green Label Bourbon distilled from non-GMO yellow corn and aged for at least two years. This bourbon is smooth and soft with a hint of sweetness. The other is the Public Works Edition Bourbon. It’s a complex bourbon distilled from red, white, and blue corn; rye; and malt, and aged for at least three years. This bourbon is named after the former East Lansing Public Works building, which is now the home of Red Cedar Spirits. The distillery’s owners have worked hard to
create a great setting to visit in this retrofitted building. The Public Works Edition Bourbon is a customer favorite. Gin Blue Label Gin is Red Cedar Spirits mainstay gin with a light flavor. It’s not a juniper-forward gin. Even previous non-gin drinkers, who fear the other Christmas-tree-flavored gins, enjoy the Blue Label gin with great compliments. Michigan Raspberries are one of the botanicals distilled into the Raspberry Gin. A raspberry aroma greets you as you sip while the raspberry flavor is light and delightful. It mixes well with tonic. Vodka The Corn Vodka distilled from non-GMO yellow corn has the touch of sweetness found in other corn-based spirits. The Wheat Vodka distilled from Michigan wheat tastes neutral, so it’s a great base for any cocktail or even a vodka martini. Red Cedar Spirits distills the Apple Vodka from Michigan grown apples, making a great mixer for cocktails where the delicate apple characteristics enhance the drink.
Since Michigan law only allows distilleries to serve spirits that they produce, Dianne must consider this as they develop signature cocktails in-house. Employees at Red Cedar Spirits are welcome and encouraged to come up with a recipe, so there’s always something
new on the menu. Try making one of their signature cocktails at home. Red Cedar Spirits’ Old Fashioned 1 1/2 oz. Red Cedar Spirits Green Label Bourbon OR Barrel-aged Corn Whiskey 1/8 orange wedge 1 muddled maraschino cherry (smashed with a spoon or muddler) A few drops of bitters 1/4 t sugar or sugar to taste Ice Put the orange and cherry in a cocktail glass, sprinkle with sugar, and muddle them just a little bit. Add the whiskey and bitters, stir, so all liquids are blended, add ice.
if you go Red Cedar Spirits 2000 Merritt Road East Lansing, Michigan 4883 517-908-9950 www.redcedarspiritsdistillery.com
A GREAT NATURE Atmosphere
SAN LUCAS, Mexico
BY art STRIckland
here are all kinds of awards you can earn during your trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and its nearby lively cousin San Jose del Cabo. You can still get strung up by your ankle per your request and several drinks later at the Giggling Marlin, and you have the chance to meet former owner Sammy Hagar at the ever popular Cabo Wabo restaurant and bar and cap the night with hang-
over 101 at Senor Frogs. But for those who arenâ€™t part of the high school-college forever Spring Break crowd, the one true prize to bring home from your trip to the very Southwestern tip of Baja Mexico is membership in the Blue Agave Society. Established by the master tequilero at the hidden luxury enclave in Cabo, Esperanza, this award signifies you have been able to personally experience some of the finest and most premium of the white semi-aged & aged Tequilas from the region and the Agave plant which made this area famous to start with. More than 30 years ago, this region was basically known for only two things, deep sea fishing and the aforementioned Tequila and other liquid creations. But while the deep sea fishing and the drinks endure to this day, the days as a sleepy fishing village are long since in the past. The combo of great views, great golf, great resorts and laid-back good times have been enough to draw Cabo fans here by the tens of thousands for decades. Hurricanes may try to pound it, gangs may try to scare it and there may even be a dang wall one day between the U.S. and Mexico, but nothing can dim the enduring appeal of the area. The constant home and resort construction and lineup of luxury jets wing to wing at the newly remodeled international airport is proof to that. Of course, upscale resorts like Esperanza, which opened in 2002 and its sister resort, Chileno Bay, an Auberge property which opened early this spring, has turned into a refuge for the traveler looking for a respite from the rowdy spring break crowd. Chileno Bay, which has 60 rooms and 32 suites, fea-
tures three large pools running down the middle of the resort. Each of equal size, they include a kids pool, a family swimming area and an adults only pool. Each has shaded lounging chairs along with a plastic lodging oasis which lay in the water, and there are shaded lodging tents available on a first come, first serve basis along with more furnished facilities you can rent by the day.
covered with all kind of light Mexican fare and more of the signature drinks, all while gazing into the ocean.
The poolside servers never pass up a chance to bring another round of refreshments and the infinity edge pool allows you to peer at the ever pounding Sea of Cortez without actually getting into the salty water.
One of the real benefits of the new Chileno Bay Resort, which opened this spring, is that just about everything at the resort is included in the overall price. Itâ€™s not cheap, ranging into the four- figure range in the prime winter season, but discerning travelers will appreciate paying one price for everything rather than constantly being hit up for an extra charge.
Of course, if all that ocean watching has you compelled to try the real thing, then the Chileno Bay Resort has that covered as well. Walk through a discreet wooden door and you will find the resort beach headquarters, H20 Cove. It will allow you access to surf boards, kayaks and other water adventures, plus private loungPlus, if you get tired of the Cabo heat, but still want ers on the sandy beach, showers and, of course, more to enjoy the views, there is a large indoor facility with inside air conditioning, books and TVs if just seeing overlooks the water with large big screen televisions, the beach and ocean is better for you than actually air-conditioning and plenty of cool drinks. experiencing it.
Of course, when itâ€™s time for a larger snack or a full meal, the nearby TNT (Taco and Tequila) stand has you
and raw fish as an appetizer or main course. Of course, if the sun, the surf, the food and drinks totally stresses you out, there is the Auberge Spa for that. The facility has 10 treatment rooms along with separate relaxing facility for men and women, a salt purification room along with private outdoor showers. You can spend as much time before and after your treatment here completing your good fortune of finding this Cabo luxury hangout.
While the TNT is lunch only, you can enjoy breakfast and a spectacular dinner at the COMAL signature restaurant which occupies a very scenic and undisturbed corner of the boutique resort. There is an impressive wine list ranging from Champagne to the finest wines along with plenty of tequila. The menu is seafood based, as you would expect, but has a non-traditional flair featuring plenty of fresh
For something a little more adventurous, hotel guests have access to golf at the private Chileno Bay golf course across the highway from the resort. Designed by noted architect Tom Fazio, the course is run by luxury golf operator Discovery Land Company which does everything first class and is a great experience with stunning, elevated views of the ocean and the overall Cabo beach scenery. Of course, since this is Cabo, they do things a little differently as a tribute to the native drink. â€œHere in Cabo, we believe your first shot is always the most important,â€? said head golf pro Ryan Silverstein.
In that manner, every golfer is given a solid ice frozen shot glass and offered a shot of tequila before they tee off. “The second most important thing is that everybody wants a hole in one,” he adds. So the golfer then throws the chunk of shot glass ice into a nearby bucket to achieve their golfing ace before the round even starts. Back at the resort, it’s more luxury lodgings, more outdoor showers, an outdoor patio overlooking the pools
and the ocean along with a sitting area, coffee and refrigerator service. Your personal butler has been trained to exceed any request, but it’s doubtful they will hang you from your ankle no matter how much you request. There are limits even in luxury. The Blue Agave Society is still accepting membership here and your trip is a constant reminder that the good, sunny and warm times can be had here close to home.
Wild Adventures on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail By Betsi Hill Photography by Jim Hill
“Heaven must be a Kentucky kind of place.” -Daniel Boone
ith it’s curving roads, switchbacks, hills, and horses, Kentucky exudes a peaceful, restful vibe that seeps deep into your soul as you meander her highways and byways. And frankly, there is no better way to spend a long weekend than following the Bourbon Trail (www.kybourbontrail.com) that snakes its way through central Kentucky and the Appalachian Mountains. The trail meanders between Louisville and Lexington and takes you through some of the prettiest country you will set eyes on, and some unique culture indigenous to the area. Kentucky’s Heritage: History, Bourbon and Tradition In Kentucky, Bourbon has a rich history, heritage, and proud tradition. As the first settlers of Kentucky poured in and built their settlements, they began farming the land. It was an arduous task bringing their crops to
market over little more than cow paths and steep mountains. They discovered an easier and ingenious way to carry their grain crops to market - they made whiskey out of corn, rye, and wheat. By crafting whiskey, their excess grains didn’t rot, and it gave the settlers a diversion from the rough and tumble life on the frontier. Since the frontier days, crafting fine Kentucky Bourbon has been practiced by generations of Kentuckians. The time-honored tradition remains unchanged from the process used by their ancestors centuries before. “If I cannot drink bourbon and smoke cigars in heaven then I shall not go” - Mark Twain Bourbon. The name sits on the back of your tongue, just like a good, smooth Bourbon whiskey does. But where in the world did the name come from? Back in 1785, Kentucky was a part of the colony of Virginia, and one of the counties in Kentucky was Bourbon County. Shipping their whiskey in oak barrels down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans, the farmers would stamp the barrels from Bourbon County. The trip down to New Orleans would take months, and during those months on the river the whiskey would age, and the oaken barrels gave it the unmistakeable mellow flavor and refined amber color. The whiskey coming down from Bourbon County was in high demand, and was quickly known as Bourbon whiskey. Kentucky Bourbon was officially recognized as a distinctive product of the USA in 1964 by Congress. Bourbon truly is “America’s Official Native Spirit,” and today is an industry that creates more than 9,000 jobs, and generates more than $125 million in tax revenue each year! Annually there are over two million visitors from all 50 states and 25 countries who flock to the now world-famous Kentucky Bourbon
Trail tour. Traveling the Kentucky Bourbon Trail: First Stop Harrodsburg Pack your bags, grab your Bourbon Trail Passport, and buckle your seatbelt as we travel the back roads of the Bluegrass State, along the Bourbon Trail, stopping in Harrodsburg, and Lebanon, sipping our way down the Bourbon Trail. Our first stop is Harrodsburg (harrodsburgky.com). Known as “The Coolest Place in History,” and with all it has to offer, it truly is the coolest place in history. Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill (www.shakervillageky.org) , Old Fort Harrod State Park, Old Fort Pioneer Cemetery, and the Beaumont Inn (beaumontinn.com) all have a prominent role in this little town’s history. History The Shakers were founded in 1770 in England, and 35 years later migrated to the United States, settling in Pleasant Hill. From 1805 through 1860 the community thrived. In the 1860s the community began to crumble as a result of the Industrial Revolution. Old Fort Harrod State Park is a living history museum that stretches across 15 acres. The park is a reconstruction of Fort Harrod, the first permanent settlement in the state of Kentucky. Named after James Harrod, a pioneer, soldier and hunter, the park has cabins that demonstrate everyday pioneer life. Also found in the park is Old Fort Hill cemetery, the oldest pioneer burying ground. As was the custom in those days, the cemetery is located in sight of the Fort, where it could be protected from savage invaders. The Mansion Museum, located in the park, dates back to 1813, and is an original structure. The museum houses a notable collection of artifacts, many dating back to the 15th or 16th century through the
early 1900s. The collection includes Native American artifacts and a fantastic display of firearms from early flint locks to Civil War muskets. The Lincoln Marriage Temple, houses the original log cabin where Abe Lincoln’s parents, Tom Lincoln and Nancy Hanks, were married in 1806. The cabin, built in 1872 was moved from its initial site and relocated to the Park in 1931. Bourbon Olde Towne Distillery has set the bar high in its production of Moonshine. Olde Towne is the first distillery in the United States to craft Hemp Moonshine. Using hemp seed grown in Kentucky, this line of moonshine is processed, beginning to end with hemp seed grain. The hemp produces a ‘shine with a smooth, nutty flavor - an exciting new flavor profile for moonshine lovers. “Straight from the still to retail; we cook today, and it’s on the shelf tomorrow” - Mike Richards, Olde Towne Distillery In addition to their Hemp Moonshine, Olde Towne Distillery is crafting flavored moonshine at 80 proof, giving the moonshine a flavorful taste, while delivering a kick that dedicated moonshine drinkers expect. Using an ancient recipe, and slow cooking it in a copper still, Olde Towne is crafting their moonshine using time-honored methods. Harkening back to prohibition days and illegal moonshiners, they are bottling their hooch in collectible stone jugs. Their Elkhorn Bourbon is brewed using established methods and tradition. Named for Elkhorn Creek, this bourbon has a luscious taste that lingers at the back of your palate. The refined flavor of this bourbon comes from the naturally filtered spring water that flows through the limestone at the source. Elkhorn Bourbon is a masterpiece that pays homage to the art of crafting outstanding Appalachian bourbon.
Tradition and History The Beaumont Inn has been welcoming guests through its door for almost a century and is renowned for its Southern Charm and ambiance. The inn encases the heritage of the Dedman family; each piece has been carefully chosen and holds the history of the inn and the school it was before becoming an inn. If you are a bourbon lover, then you don’t want to miss scheduling a bourbon tasting with the innkeeper, Dixon Dedman. Dixon is a true aficionado of bourbon, and he will regale you with stories, history, and course, share with you the subtler points of each bourbon. Stop by the Kentucky Owl, the casual eatery & pub onsite. You will find a selection of bourbon to keep you busy most of the afternoon! “Whisky is liquid sunshine” - George Bernard Shaw
Traveling the Kentucky Bourbon Trail: Second Stop Lebanon Lebanon is our next stop along the Bourbon Trail. Lebanon (www.visitlebanonky.com) is known as the Heart of Kentucky and is a trailhead on the Bourbon Trail. Lebanon is where you can pick up your T-shirts and your Bourbon Trail passport. The World-famous Maker’s Mark Distillery, Limestone Branch Distillery, and Independent Stave’s Kentucky Cooperage all call Lebanon home. Maker’s Mark Distillery “All of the magic happens in the still house” - Austin, Maker’s Mark Tour Guide Maker’s Mark (www.makersmark.com) is world fa-
relationship with distilling. Take a trip with me back to Scotland in the 1500s. That’s when the Samuels family began distilling Scotch. Generation after generation passed down the art and craft of distilling.
mous for its red wax dipped bottles, and of course for its smooth aged Kentucky Bourbon. Maker’s has always made its bourbon right here in Kentucky. One unusual thing about Maker’s Mark bourbon is the way that they spell “whiskey.” Harkening back to their Scottish roots, Maker’s spells “whisky” the traditional way, leaving out the “e.” The Samuels family, who founded Maker’s Mark in the 1950s, has a long
Immigrating to the United States, they settled in Bourbon County. In 1791 they were swept up in the Whisky Rebellion. Bourbon County eventually became a part of Kentucky, and like most of their neighbors, the Samuels family turned their hand to what they knew best - distilling whisky (this is also why the family spells whisky without the “e.”) Their distillery, T.W. Samuels Co. was born. Bill Samuels took over the family business; he wanted to go into banking, not distilling. Selling T.W. Samuels, Bill opened a bank, which failed within sixty days. Af-
ter having a similar experience as an automotive salesman, Bill, at the urging of his wife, went back into the distilling business. He was determined not to make the horrid tasting whiskey that everyone else was distilling. He wanted to bring great taste and bourbon together and craft a Kentucky bourbon that he would be proud of and that people would flock from all over to buy. Introducing wheat into the distilling process deleted the bitter taste that characterized bourbon at the time, and Maker’s bourbon sits sweetly in the front of your palate, thanks to Bill Samuels experimentation with wheat. Founded in 1953, Maker’s Mark is crafted using Bill Samuel’s recipe - 70% corn, 16% wheat, and 14% barley. It is cooked one time, for three hours, and distilled in five-story stills. Margie, Bill’s wife, is credited with creating the unique bottle shape, the red wax seal, and the hand designed calligra-
phy label. Limestone Branch Distillery We can’t leave Lebanon without a stop at Limestone Branch Distillery (limestonebranch.com). The year is 1770 and Jacob Beam is born. Jacob was a farmer who began producing whiskey. Selling his first barrels of corn whiskey, “Old Jake Beam” around the late 1790s.
In 1781 Captain Samuel Pottinger, Sr. established Pottinger’s Station, the first pioneer outpost in southern Nelson County. Family legend has it that Captain Sam had a frontier distillery on the top of a nearby cave. Sam Pottinger’s grandson, Thomas Jefferson Pottinger (“T.J.”), moved Pottinger’s distillery closer to the Louisville & Nashville Railroad to make shipping easier. T.J. operated the distillery as T.J. Pottinger & Company. By 1872 it was run by Francis Head and Orene Parker. In 1883, Minor Case Beam bought Parker out, and the distillery was known as Head and Beam. Head sold his interest in the distillery to Minor Case Beam in 1900, and M.C. Beam and Company was born. You might recognize the name Beam, for their heritage in Kentucky and Bourbon runs deep. Steve and Paul Beam are the broth-
ers behind Limestone Branch Distillery. Paying homage to their ancestor, Minor Case Beam, Steve and Paul crafted Minor’s Revenge, a double oak, sugar shine.
ies. When Prohibition hit the US in 1920, Guy took his skills as a master distiller and headed for Canada, where he worked for the next thirteen years.
Minor Case brought his son, Guy Beam into the business. Guy would be the fifth generation Beam in distilling. Guy soon became a well-known master distiller and worked in several other distiller-
Guy Beam’s son, Jimmy Beam, worked for Loretto Distillery and Athertonville Distillery. Jimmy was the sixth generation of Beams to work in the distilling field. Jimmy’s two sons, Steve and Paul are the current owners of Limestone Branch Distillery. They are the seventh generation of Beams to be distilling. Distilling whiskey runs deep on both sides of Steve and Paul’s family. On their mother’s side, great-great-grandfather, Joseph Washington Dant was distilling whiskey in a hollowed out log. Steve and Paul’s mother, Dottie worked in the family distillery during her high school years. And then prohibition hit. Steve’s dream was to see his side of the Beam family back in the dis-
tilling business. In 2010 that dream became a reality as Limestone Branch Distillery. “When Mr. Beam does moonshine, he does it right. Traditional methods, white heirloom corn, traditional still, and thumper.” -Steven, Executive Bourbon Steward Today, Steve and his brother Paul are making history again with Limestone Branch Distillery. They are using time-honored recipes taken from their grandfather’s notebook, and the knowledge gleaned from the generations of master distillers found throughout their family tree, and are carving a place for themselves in the time-honored Kentucky distilling business. Planning Your Trip to Kentucky If you are a bourbon lover, then make a stop or three along the Bourbon Trail (www.kybourbontrail.com) Harrodsburg, Kentucky offers Bourbon, history, great eats and attractions (www.harrodsburgky.com/visitors). When you stay in Harrodsburg, there are so many choices - Bed & Breakfasts, campgrounds, lake rentals, historic inns, and hotels. Our favorite is the historic Beaumont Inn (www.beaumontinn.com) which is filled with history, and of course, you want plan to do a “Bourbon Tasting with the Innkeeper.” The inn is a stop along the Bourbon Trail. Harrodsburg offers so much - there really is something for everyone! Lebanon (www.visitlebanonky.com) is the heart of Kentucky, and makes a perfect place to continue your sipping tour down the trail. With a selection of places to stay, play and eat (40+ restaurants for every taste - please your palate in Lebanon!), Lebanon is a good stopping point on the Bourbon Trail. For more on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, part 2 of the trail will be in our Spring issue.
the perfect golf getaway Escape to The Abbey Resort for stunning harbor views, rejuvenating spa treatments, fun activities for the whole family and golf at one of Wisconsinâ€™s most beautiful courses, Abbey Springs. Experience luxurious resort amenities, outstanding restaurants and lounges, relaxation at Avani Spa and an 18 hole course on Geneva Lakeâ€™s spectacular south shore. For the perfect golf getaway, stay at The Abbey Resort and enjoy a true championship caliber course at the beautiful Abbey Springs.
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A Look at Bour Breweries Alon Alo
Brewgra By Bryan Richards
o many booze driven tourists, Lexington, Kentucky is an overnight stop along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. A place for bourbon-philes to rest their head as they pop into the surrounding distilleries of Town Branch, Woodford Reserve, and Wild Turkey. A place where trail-goers can enjoy more of a robust culinary scene and nightlife than in the smaller towns of Kentucky where a majority of the distilleries are located. However, as craft beer has taken root in Lexington, the infamous Bourbon Trail is making room for the Brewgrass Trail and its bourbon influenced breweries.
rbon Influenced ng Lexington’s ong
ass Trail The obvious first stop along the Brewgrass Trail to see bourbon and beer converging at its best is Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling, home to both Kentucky Ale and Town Branch Bourbon. While not all of their beers are aged in bourbon barrels, a happy majority of them are from the standard Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale (a true booze bomb) found at almost every restaurant and bar in town to the seasonal Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale and Kentucky Peach Barrel Wheat Ale. The caveat of visiting Alltech is that they operate more as a distillery than a brewery – you can’t just pop in and enjoy a few pints and may-
be a food truck. To sample their wares, you must purchase tickets for a tour that includes both the brewery and distillery and ends with a tasting, where you can select four samples from Alltech’s various beers and spirits. The good news is that Alltech’s beers are some of the most widely found in the area if the shot glass sample isn’t enough to whet your whistle. The rest of the breweries in Lexington do operate typical brewer taprooms. Country Boy Brewing may be known for popular flagships like their Cougar Bait blonde ale and Shotgun Wedding brown ale, but their barrel aged offerings are where the brewery really shines. The brewery ages everything from standard imperial stouts to black IPAs in bourbon barrels. The fun doesn’t stop with bourbon, though. Country Boy also likes to play around with other spirits like Sazerac and rum. A jalapeno smoked Sazerac barrel-aged porter anyone? Most of these are one-offs found in
one of their two area breweries – downtown Lexington and Georgetown. A visit to Ethereal Brewing is a look down Lexington distilling lane. The brewery is located in the former James Pepper Distillery and occupies the old fermentation room. While most of their beers lean towards Belgian farmhouse and American craft beer influences, they on occasion release a one-off barreled aged beer from barrels resting in the distillery’s old barrel room.
Round out your quest for bourbon influenced beers at West Sixth Brewing where you can often find fan favorites like the Barrel Aged Pay It Forward Cocoa Porter (tastes like your favorite Christmas cookie) or Snakes in Barrel imperial stout (the perfect dessert beer). On Friday and Saturday nights, make your way into the Barrel Room – a speakeasy-esque room in the back of the brewery – where West Sixth offers a more
extensive selection of barrel aged and other small batch beers. The aforementioned breweries are just a start to all that Lexington has to offer in the way of their craft beer scene. To help plan your visit to the above and other surrounding breweries, check out the Brewgrass Trail’s website. www.BrewgrassTrail.com
Taste the Excellence at Lake Geneva’s Only Winery
401 Sheridan Springs Road, Lake Geneva, WI . 262-348-9100 . www.StudioWinery.com
The Virginia Distillery Company A whisky to make Dad proud By Cat Holladay
ust two years after drafting his master plan - a passion project combining his love for whisky and his adopted home of Virginia - Irish-American businessman Dr. George G. Moore passed away. The anticipated first batch never to touch his lips. Luckily for us, his son, Gareth, carried on the legacy and today the Virginia Distillery Company is making whisky more than it has historically been with interesting casking techniques and new traditions, all inspired by old-world methods. Dr. Moore, or as employees lovingly call him, George, came to the United States in the 1970s with two degrees from University College Dublin, $20 in his pocket and a head full of ideas. He completed his Masters and Ph.D. in business at George Washington University and went on to revolutionize Caller ID through his company Targus Information.
Very prosperous yet very busy, he had time for one hobby: collecting and drinking single malt whisky. According to the family, at the height of his collection, he had 365 bottles. “One for every day of the year,” says Amanda Beckwith, the Virginia Distillery Company’s Guest Experience Manager. Legend has it that one of his daughters had a rager
The journey of an American single malt George had an ardent desire to connect his roots to the new world he was so fond of in a meaningful way. He found an outlet for that passion in 2011 when he outlined his vision of creating a truly distinctive American single malt whisky on a proverbial napkin. Some might say it was a desire to rebuild his collection According to Gareth, George wasn’t much of a planner; that sparked the idea for Virginia Distillery Company, he was a doer - so the plan was more of a backbone but his son Gareth knows it was more meaningful. than a guidebook. one night while her parents were out of town. When they returned home, the collection was missing a shocking 100 bottles. “No one knows if the bottles left by hand or by belly,” Beckwith says, “but the result was devastating to his collection - which never recovered.”
Following George’s death in 2013, Gareth and his wife Maggie visited the property - 100 acres of rolling Blue Ridge foothills just outside Charlottesville, Va. Not knowing much about the distillation process, they saw the stills and large equipment in place and decided to see the project through. Laughing about it now, Gareth recalls thinking, “It’s ready, where’s the ‘on’ button?” It took two more years to complete the infrastructure, design and build the Visitor’s Center, warehouses, and other ancillary buildings. Throughout the process, they tried to keep George’s vision at the core – adding in their ideas for capturing the old versus new theme George wanted. Opened in 2015 with George’s vision
in every detail, you’ll find the Virginia Distillery Company’s sprawling estate a welcome respite along the Jefferson Heritage Trail. Standing out not only for its whisky, but for its innovative techniques Although the distillery is by most definitions new, it is garnering attention in the industry with an impressive four gold medals for its flagship Virginia-Highland single malt whisky.
Virginia Distillery Company utilizes the Virginia microclimate to its advantage. The fluctuation between the chilly winters and the blazing hot summers encourages the casks to breathe and provides a fascinating nuance to the maturation process of the whisky. Add to this their innovative use of Port, Chardonnay, and cider casks in the finishing process and the recipe stands out. Once casked, they allow it to age with no
What makes this whisky stand out? Distillery Director Ian Thomas is sure it’s the unmatched blend of old and new – a reflection of George’s love for the traditional combined with Gareth’s vision for innovation and sustainability. Everything from the terminology of the processes to the equipment, to the malted barley, is original and traditional. The distillery imported its stills, spirit safe, and other distilling equipment from one of the premier manufacturers in Elgin, Scotland. Their American spin on the single malt most notably includes the unique climate of the Virginia Blue Ridge mountains and their use of atypical casks. Rather than a traditional cask-house, with its careful control of the humidity, temperature and barometric pressure – designed to mimic the consistent Scottish climate, the
definitive completion date, providing an unparalleled journey. Thomas is excited about the innovative and natural, hands-off process focusing on the climate that’s available in Virginia with the unique flavors the casks bring out, and if the awards are any indication, so are the critics. “We let the whisky tell us when it’s ready,” he says.
Sustainability is a crucial component in the Virginia Distillery Company’s business plan The distillery strives to be as close to 100% sustainable as possible, donating the spent grain to a local farm which uses it as a feed additive. They also reclaim the wash, cleaning and reducing the pH to put the water back into the aquifer thereby maintaining
both challenge the perception of traditional whisky, the cider cask-finished bottle is indeed a game-changer for those who may not be fans of the classic liquor. What’s next for Virginia Distillery Company? The next three years will be a whirlwind for the distillery Moore says. They have plans to increase production, expand their distribution, and continue experimenting with blending and bottling. “One of the things I discounted was the different techniques for proofing. The whisky doesn’t just go from cask to bottle.” Virginia Distillery Company takes great care in the proofing process – a slow one to create an unmatched experience for the consumer. They’ve even coined a phrase used around the distillery; great whisky starts as a journey and ends as an experience. Though whisky connoisseurs may argue that their product is already top-notch, Moore recalls something his dad often said, ‘Have the courage of your convictions. No one ever started big in business.’ Says Moore, “If you really believe in something, then act on it. Follow through with it. And that’s a big part of what we are doing.”
a neutral footprint on the supply. Sustainability initiatives were important to George, but it was Gareth who brought these to fruition. They also bring the tradition from Scotland of reusing casks. Here is the U.S., distilleries typically use new, oak casks for every batch. The Virginia Distillery Company reuses bourbon, sherry, cider and port casks for their finishing process, sourced from local partners. Not only is this sustainable, but it is also atypical and provides extraordinary finishes to their whisky. Says Moore, “This allows us to get a lot of grain to shine through the barley and pick up the unique characteristics of the used wood.” Try their flagship port-finished whisky next to their soon-to-be-released cider cask-finished version, and you’ll note the differences immediately. No bite, just a smooth, quiet, and fruity finish with the latter. Though
“We’ve built a solid foundation and have strength in our team,” he says. “I’m very proud of our product, but I’m most proud of our team. Knowing my father, he’d have a quick look around, then roll up his sleeves and say, ‘OK, what do we need to do next?’ And I know that we wouldn’t be able to take that next step without our team. They are part of the story of how we create our whisky, the foundation for our platform.” From everything known about George, that team is what he’d be most proud of too, but the excellent American single malt whisky doesn’t hurt. A tour and tasting at the Virginia Distillery Company Should you find yourself in Charlottesville or surrounding areas, a trip to the distillery is a must. George would be impressed with Gareth’s attention to detail in everything from the visitor’s center to the branding and the distillery’s employees. Downstairs, your tour begins with several videos narrated by Gareth explaining the distillery’s vision and processes. It’s a museum of sorts housing information as well as original distilling tools, including a hydrometer from the early 1800s which measures alcohol content.
A guided tour by one of the team members typically takes about 45 minutes and includes the museum, the distillery, and the traditional cask house. It can be followed by a tasting. Take a seat at the bar with Megan or Bobbi and place your order. Each is well-versed in the distillery’s history as well as its products. In fact, Megan is the vision behind the company’s infusions for those who can’t handle a neat pour. Virginia law prohibits distilleries from serving any alcohol other than what is made on site, so Virginia Distillery Company had to improvise. Megan got creative
and churned out some unusual combinations such as the Cherry Walnut Old Fashioned – a blend of housemade toasted walnut and vanilla infused whisky, Luxardo cherry, chocolate bitters, cherry juice and brown sugar simple syrup. The choices change monthly, and October’s include fall flavors such as pumpkin and hot-buttered whisky. Fun fact: Whisky or whiskey? While the Virginia Distillery Company spells whisky without the ‘e,’ many other distillers spell it differently. This is another nod to George and the old-world traditions to which the distillery holds fast. Legend has it that if the whisky’s country of origin does not have an ‘e’ in its name, the spirit shouldn’t either. In the United States and Ireland, for example, it is typically spelled whiskey. In Scotland, China and Canada the name takes the form whisky. As the Virginia Distillery Company’s barley comes from Scotland, they take the traditional spelling.
if you go 299 Eades Lane Lovingston, VA 22949 434-285-2900 www.vadistillery.com
Wine Sampling Saturday and Sunday 1-4 pm
Lounge and Patio
Wines by the Glass Wine Flights Bottles of wine to enjoy in our lounge
Beer Garden Craft Beer New Glarus
Wines Beer Craft Spirits Gift Items
Comfortable seating for relaxing Lounge – 2 fireplaces Patio – weather permitting
Check our website for a full calendar of events Delivery Service Available
617 W. Main Street • Lake Geneva, WI 53147 (half block east of Starbucks)
Marker cellers Texas winery pairing 19th Century Technique, Prairies, and Cigars by Donna Long
earching for a place to ride her horses, Becky Rogers - horse lover and judge for NATRC (North American Trail Riding Conference) found it surrounded by the bluestem grasses of the LBJ Grass-land. Since then, Marker Cellars has been on the forefront of helping to preserve habitats and prairies while creating wine with flavor as bold as Texas. Working To Preserve and Restore Texas Prairies Mark and Becky Rogers, owners of Marker Cellars in northern Texas, love their state and the stark diversity it offers from the Monahans Sandhills to the Prairie Grasslands and the Piney Forest to Hill
Country. The Rogers are using their love of Texas and their love of wine to help reverse decades of damage from overgrazing and invasive plants species. Working with agencies such as the Native Prairies Association of Texas and Texas Parks and Wildlife to host fundraising events for prairie management and to create and foster habitats for dwindling populations of dove and quail. Bordered by the National Forest Preserve on 3 Â˝ sides of their 90-acre plot makes Marker Cellars the ideal location for monitoring the dove and quail population, and of course, creating a peaceful and serene setting for a vineyard. A family-run boutique winery Using 19th Century Techniques Personable, welcoming, and friendly are all words used to describe this small boutique winery that demands quality over quantity. Quality, in this case, means that all of their wines are made by hand. Choosing to retain as much robust flavor in their reds as possible and to hold high-quality standards, Marker Cellars uses the 19th Century method of soutirage or racking their wines. Instead of using a filter created from paper or fiber to remove sediment. Mark pulls the wine from the top of the tank, leaving the residue at the bottom. The wine is put in a fresh tank. This process is repeated seven to eight times, depending on the year, each time resulting in a more transparent red. Mark insists that because of their small size, they can modify and â€œtweakâ€? their varietals by mixing dif-ferent grapes together and not be affected by volume concerns. Marker Cellars 1-acre vineyard is 100% Syrah grapes, which they combine with other varietals from local sources to create their varied wine selection. Which Came First Zinfandel or Primitivo?
Always looking for ways to expand and create new varietals to share with friends and fellow wine lovers, Mark decided to work with a new variety. A variety from a location that he had not worked with in the past - Primitivo, a Southern Italian grape.
In Honor of Blue and All Veterans Primitivo is a very dark grape, rich and deep in color. It is such a deep purple it almost looks inky. Mark and Becky thought it would be fitting to honor veterans, and especially, their friend and WWII veteran Duel Oscar “Blue” Gambill with the release of Primitivo Legend.
Mark says, “There are many arguments about what came first, Zinfandel or Primitivo. Some say they have the same DNA and Primitivo became Zinfandel when it arrived in California. Others say, not true. Personally, Blue, as his friends affectionately called him, survived I am not sure, but I wanted to try something different.” seven significant campaigns during WWII includ-
Area attractions and interests Lyndon B. Johnson National Grassland LBJ National Grasslands Horse Trails Native Prairies Association of Texas Fort Worth Chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas
National Forests and Grasslands in Texas North American Trail Riding Ezra Zion Cigars
ing D-Day, Battle of the Bulge, and Battle for Berlin. with our sweet, full-bodied Ranch Hand Red or our Through the course of his military career, Blue was Primitivo Legend. awarded 27 medals and ribbons for his courage and Marker Cellars tasting room is influenced by Texas’ valor. natural beauty and strategically placed to encourage Blazing a New Path in Texas - Pairing Wine and Cigars visitors to stop and sit awhile as they enjoy a glass When most people think about pairing cigars with a of wine and a cigar. The tasting room is open on the drink, they think brandy or scotch. Mark Rogers is blaz- weekends noon to 6 pm and by appointment. Stop in; ing a new path in Texas, determined to change that they would love to sit and chat with you a spell. notion by teaming up with Ezra Zion Cigars. “This is a first for the state of Texas,” Mark says. The smooth If You Go flavor of Marker Cellars wine delicately enhances the cigars without either one overpowering the other. Marker Cellars Family Winery 1484 County Road 2585 Mark says one of his favorite pairings is the FHK, Alvord, Texas 76225 which is a mild smoke. Created out of tobacco Mexico, 214-632-0383 winery.markercellars.com Indonesia, Brazil, and Nicaragua it pairs wonderfully
Messina Hof Wineries Resilience of Family, Tradition, and Romance by Scott Kendall
hen the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, communities across the state banded together to help each other. Neighbor helping neighbor, families pulling together, strangers giving aid to people they didn’t even know. A key ingredient to a strong community includes businesses like Messina Hof Winery in Bryan, which decided to recognize the fighting spirit of Texas survivors by giving back through sales of a special edition wine. Named Resilience, 100% of the profits from sales of this dry red blend will be donated to longterm hurricane relief efforts throughout the region. With 40 years of Texas winemaking history, Messina Hof is deeply rooted in the community and is honored to be a part of the state’s efforts to restore areas devastated by the recent flood waters. Messina Hof intends to raise over $50,000 through the sale of 600 cases of Resilience, and will increase availability should the demand arise. Messina Hof’s Chief Executive Officer Paul Mitchell Bonarrigo commented: “By happenstance, the evening Harvey blew in, we were harvesting our Lenoir grapes at the Messina Hof Hill Country Vineyard. While a memorably turbulent harvest weekend, we couldn’t have imagined what some of our fellow Texans would endure. We feel incredibly blessed to be largely unaffected by the storm and recognize the long road ahead for many of our friends, family, business partners
and customers. We intend to do our part and hope that we can lend a hand through this product release.” Most people know Bryan/College Station as the home of the Fighting Texas A&M Aggies. Over 60,000 Maroon and White clad coeds traipse through the A&M campus each year. Friday night Yell Practice, Saturday afternoon football clashes, ROTC military cadets in their sharp uniforms, and country western dances define this area. But Bryan/College Station is also home to what many consider the best winery in Texas. 40 Years of Excellence Until recent years, most people didn’t know much about Texas wines, and the little experiment Paul and Merrill Bonarrigo hatched just north of this Texas college town in 1977. But that is all changing. Since its inception, Messina Hof winery has evolved into the largest producer of Texas wines and has been the recipient of
numerous awards and accolades. The Papa Paulo Port is one of the winery’s most awarded wines. It won the Double Gold at the Houston Livestock Show, and Gayot’s Guide to the Good Life named the Papa Paulo Port one of the world’s finest ports. Messina Hof also produces some of the most stellar Cabernets, Sauvignons, Moscatos, Pinots and other varieties in the United States. In honor of their 40 years in the business, several special Anniversary editions are now available. The Tasting Room is the original building on the estate and used to be the Ursuline Academy, an all-girls school. In addition to the Tasting Room, guests can also enjoy wine flights and weekly schedules at the wine bar. The Vintage House Restaurant offers tours and shopping, as well as fine dining. Guests can also enjoy weekend getaways at The Villa Bed & Breakfast and special events and festivals all year long. Many guests ask where the winery name comes from. Messina Hof’s name is a tribute to the family lineages of Paul and Merrill, who trace their families back to Messina, Italy and Hof, Germany. In addition to founders Paul and Merrill, son Paul Mitchell and his wife Karen have joined the family team at Messina Hof. After serving with the Marines for five years, Paul Mitchell returned to join his parents and is now the CEO, with his wife serving as Director for Administration. Paul and Merrill are still ac-
tive in the daily operations of the winery.
vest Days. Visitors are invited to learn about the fascinating history of Messina Hof and Texas winemaking When Paul and Merrill first started their little winery through the years. Guests can go out to the vineyards forty years ago, Texas wineries were hard to find on and pick trays full of ripened grapes that will actually the map. Today, Texas is number five in the nation in be used to make some of the Messina Hof wines, and wine production, and Messina Hof leads the way. tours walk guests through the winemaking process. In addition to the original location in Bryan, Messina Hof has added locations in Grapevine and Fredericksburg, complete with tasting room, a wine shop and special activities throughout the year.
There is nothing like the feel of juicy ripe grapes squishing between your toes when you join the stomping festivities. Stompers leave their footprints of wine juice on souvenir t-shirts that crown participants as members of the Official Messina Hof HARThe Magic of the Lenoir Grape VEST CREW. The Big Kahuna contest heightens the Paul and Merrill experimented with dozens of vari- frivolity as grape pickers get to display some of the eties of grapes, trying to find which grapes adapted more compelling grape bunches to the audience, usbest to the Brazos Valley soils and climate. The Bonar- ing some unique talent to convince the other pickers rigios found that the Lenoir grape, a smaller but flavor that their bunch is worthy of The Big Kahuna prize. intense grape, adapted well to the local environment. Our grape bunch looked like a Dragon’s Head, so my The Lenoir grape is also known as the Black Spanish wife and I sang the first stanza of Puff the Magic Draggrape and has a full-bodied flavor, perfect for many of on for our “talent.” We deservedly did not win The Big the wines produced at Messina Hof. Kahuna, but it sure was fun trying. Harvest season, which usually lasts from late July through August, is a great time to visit Messina Hof. Numerous special events are offered to celebrate Har-
Three Locations To Visit Messina Hof Winery and Resort 4545 Old Reliance Road Bryan, Texas Messina Hof Hill Country Winery 9996 US Hwy 290 East Fredericksburg, TX Messina Hoff Grapevine Winery 201 South Main Street Grapevine, Texas www.messinahof.com
Messina Hof Mission Statement â€œMessina Hof is a family-owned business based on the three cornerstones of family, tradition, and romance; and is dedicated to produce a gold medal winning wine in every varietal and to maximize opportunities developed from the wines in a tourism destination focused on the best in hospitality, food and customer service.â€?
Other favorite activities include hanging out on the back patio by the lake, sipping your wine while enjoying the views and the dozens of turtles swimming by. Have a meal at the in-house restaurant with its views overlooking the vineyards. Karen offers a fun and informative wine pairing class, combining several foods with wines that accent and enhance each other. Participants get a chance to test their smelling abilities by trying to identify various scents, and, of course, get to sample tasty treats with their paired wines. My favorite was a flavorful bacon and cheese quiche paired with an excellent Malbec. Resilient Texans Messina Hof is the kind of success story we all like to see. A big dream, hard work, family togetherness, and perseverance resulted in a great success. And then that successful enterprise grows and becomes an integral part of the community. When disaster strikes, the business reaches out to help. Thatâ€™s what being part of a community is all about. When people, with help from family businesses like Messina Hof, join together, The Resilience of Texans can overcome any disaster. Thanks to the Resilient people of Texas and to Messina Hof.
Luxury and the Old West Collide at
Lajitas Golf Resort by Tim Bona
amed after the vast curve in the Rio Grande River which establishes a natural border between the United States and Mexico, the Big Bend region of remote southwest Texas is one of the last untouched, magnificent and unique landscapes in North America. A visually stunning location which unites the arid Chihuahuan Desert with the majestic peaks of the Chisos Mountains, scenic mesas, and dramatic river canyons, Big Bend is a place where Comanche Indians and Mexican raider Pancho Villa once roamed, cowboys sat around the campfire, and miners enjoyed whiskey at the local trading post. Ever so fitting than, that Big Bend’s premier resort is the Lajitas Golf Resort (www.lajitasgolfresort.com) which offers its international clientele of spirited guests the ultimate in relaxation and luxury with the novel charm and ambience of the old American West. Enveloped by more than one million acres of public land, the 27,000-acre Lajitas Resort is the ideal rustic hub for the ultimate Old American West experience, roaming wild Barbary sheep included! One part Texas frontier town (complete with boardwalk and the “Thirsty Goat Saloon”), one part finely appointed conference center and spa, and one part golf resort, Lajitas is a destination where “Grace and elegance combine with denim and cowboy,” owner Kelcey Warren passionately boasts. “This place is truly a di-
amond in the rough…and for our golfing guests, grab your sticks and get ready for a heapin’ helpin’ of BIG TEXAS golf!” Carved out of the desert directly above the historical spot where U.S. Army General ‘Black Jack’ Pershing would repeatedly cross the Rio Grande in pursuit of Pancho Villa during the early 1900s, Lajitas’ stunningly unique Black Jack’s Crossing golf course is indeed a BIG course worthy of the Big Bend. Set against a rugged backdrop with seven breathtaking mountain holes and one spectacular desert vista after another, the layout is very memorable and truly a work of art. “There’s no golf course like this anywhere else in Texas,” proudly proclaims Black Jack’s designer, World Golf Hall of Famer, Lanny Watkins. “Some of those panoramic tee shots out there; you just go ‘HOLY …..’” But with several dramatic drops in elevation from the teeing areas and Lanny’s favorable “old school” philosophy of designing manageable 3-pars, Black Jack Crossing’s 7,081 yards is comfortably traversed. Creatively routed through the Chisos Mountains with abandoned mining cabins and wandering wild game in the background, Black Jack’s Crossing will constant-
ly challenge you to focus on the greenery, not the historic scenery. Refreshingly, Watkins’ use of bunkering is minimal, for direction and framing purposes only, but his subtle yet multi-level green complexes will demand your full attention. Very fair, just think a bit before you “pull the trigger!’ After descending back down onto the desert floor from your “excursion” above, Lanny’s closing stretch of courageous holes returns you to the Old Lajitas Trading Post (circa 1800s) which has been repurposed into the golf pro shop. Home to the largest private collection of Texas Longhorns in North America, the “golf post” also doubles as the Lajitas Longhorn Museum, another nostalgic reminder of the old cowboy days in the Lone Star state. “Yes sir,” as the locals like to say, a stay at the Lajitas Resort is a spirited opportunity to step 100 years back into the history of the American West. Every one of the 92 premium rooms (many situated amid tranquil reflecting pools), luxury suites, and haciendas, boast unique décor ranging from cowboy chic with cowhide and rough-hewn saddles to Mexican-tile bathrooms with claw foot tubs and historic facade don iron beds.
wildflower hikes, and interpretive fossil explorations through a land once roamed by dinosaurs. However, “Equestrian, shooting, and hunting activities are at the center of the Big Bend experience Pilgrim!” proclaims Lajitas’ enthusiastic “cowboy,” O.K. Estes, “so giddy up!” With decades of experience, OK and his guides will custom design trail rides on horse back, shotgun experiences at their scenic five-stand range, cattle drives, or even the excitement of a cowboy action shoot. “Yes sir,” in the abandoned streets of a long forgotten ghost town you’ll get a chance to handle a single action Colt 45, a hand gun which was instrumental in how the American West was won! Created as a destination for a spicy variety of unique and unforgettable events, Lajitas incorporates 25,000 square feet of exceptional meeting space for corporate and group retreats, incentive trips, and family celebrations. And after a joyfully long, adventurous day Beyond the stunning golf, there is plenty of adven- of golf, riding, shooting, exploring, rafting, hiking, or ture to be experienced at Lajitas. From heart pumping just meeting in the desert, Lajitas’ designated “waterand adrenaline rushing Jeep, ATV, and mountain bik- ing hole,” the Thirsty Goat Saloon, is a popular hitching tours amongst ancient geological rock formations, ing post for guests. Named after Lajitas’ dually elected to serene floating river trips down the Rio Grande, mayor, a beer-drinking goat by the named Clay Henry
III, the “Goat” is the venue of choice for the colorful and entertaining evening Texas Hold ‘Em Poker tournaments. As distinctive as the picturesque profile of the jagged Chisos Mountains, dining at Lajitas is gourmet West Texas fare prepared using fine, fresh ingredients with a south-of-the-border flair. Enjoy a casual presentation of fajitas, cherry glazed quail, or a bourbon brined pork chop on the patio at the Candelilla Café. Or, for meetings, weddings, and special occasions, the elegant yet relaxed atmosphere of the Ocotillo with its excellent wine selection, outdoor veranda, expansive mahogany bar, and third level observatory which offers panoramic views of the Rio Grande and Mexico, will create the perfect backdrop for your event. But, if the “cowboy” in you is still kickn’, and you’re in the mood for a unique dining experience true to the Old American West, AWAY from it all, then saddle up and take a trail ride out into the hills of Lajitas’ backcountry to Star Gazer Mesa. Befitting the ruggedly magnificent landscape, Dutch ovens and hot campfire coals are used to prepare a BIG Texas steak dinner under the stars! Enjoy the spectacular view as the sun
disappears below the indigo-painted horizon and the crisp, clear desert night sky reveals the awe-inspiring Milky Way and the vastness of the Universe. “Yes sir,” another day has come to a dramatically beautiful end in the peaceful silence of the Big Bend, in remote, southwest Texas.
A tree-hugging family winery in Tuscany’s Val d’Orcia
T e n u ta S a n o n e r San Quirico d’Orcia SI, Italy BY Elizabeth Heath
n a perfect fall day, the undulating rows of grapevines are golden against a nearly cloudless sky and all of Tuscany, as absurdly photogenic as ever, seems spread out before us.
A hilltop fortress is in the near distance, and the model Renaissance city of Pienza, famous for its cheese, stands on the far horizon. We’re looking at a postcard of the Val d’Orcia region of southern Tuscany, except this is the real deal. At our shoulder, sunken into the hillside so as to almost blend into the terrain, is Tenuta Sanoner, the ambitious young winery of the Sanoner family, proprietors of nearby Adler Thermae Spa & Relax Resort. Started on just three hectares (7.5 acres), the vineyard is the passion project of brothers Andreas and Klaus Sanoner, 6th generation hoteliers. Though their holdings have grown to 30 hectares (74 acres), just 12 of those, or
about 30 acres, are used to grow grapes. With the first vines planted in 2009, Sanoner currently produces four varietals of small batch wines--two hearty reds and a still and a sparkling rose, all made from 100% Sangiovese grapes. Its first red, Aetos Orcia Sangiovese Riserva, was available in 2014. Aetos Organic Sangiovese followed in 2015, while the two roses were first ready to consume in 2016. The winery is certified organic, and is moving towards fully biodynamic agriculture. Biodynamic viticulture takes organic growing a step further, to the tune of specific mineral additives to the soil and adherence to a lunar calendar for planting schedules. A self-sustaining philosophy defines biodynamism: for example, biodynamic vineyards typically keep bees, not as pollinators for grapes, which are self-pollinating, but as pollinators of nitrogen-rich plants near the grapes, which keep the soil happy. And guess what? When bees have tastier flowers to feed on nearby, they won’t go after the ripening grapes. That’s part of the ethos of biodynamics--the farm or vineyard as a self-sufficient, cohesive living system. That sense of cohesion is evident at Sanoner, and may well be its defining trait. Italy is full of architecturally impressive wineries - from converted castles and venerable country manors to modern cement temples to hubris and ambition. Some are palatial, some feel like they’ve probably got termites lurking in those centuries-old wood beams, and some are cold, cavernous and industrial spaces. Sanoner’s physical footprint is as organic as its wine. The entrance is hidden on the backside of a hill, and its interior spaces, while unapologetically modern, are all about raw materials - stone, cement,
clay and wood - and are industrial without being antiseptic. The big finish comes in the tasting room, where a glass wall opens to the glorious Tuscan countryside. There’s a siren call to this landscape, interrupted only by the prospect of tasting wine and estate-grown olive oil. Turning back to toward the winery and viewing it from a distance, the design and intent of the structure becomes clear: It hasn’t staked a claim on the terrain with an obtrusive landmark, but rather, has melded with the landscape in order to coax it into a For more information and to schedule a visit, go to: long-term, mutually beneficial relationship. www.tenuta-sanoner.it/en Young. Ambitious. Patient. Those are the adjectives that spring to mind when visiting Tenuta Sanoner. Tours and tastings are friendly and unpretentious affairs, offered by vineyard staff who know their products and are anxious to share their passion for wine and for the winery’s mission. And well, there’s that scenery.
Sidebar: Sipping and soaking in Brunello We visited Tenuta Sanoner as guests of Adler Thermae Spa & Relax Resort, the luxury thermal spa hotel of the Sanoner family of hoteliers. Adler Thermae offers a 5-star experience from the get-go, with modern, understated interiors, plush rooms where decor hints at the family’s roots in the Dolomites region of the
thermal pools with naturally heated mineral water, a circuit of steam rooms and dry saunas, plus blissful relaxation areas. An extensive spa menu offers pampering from head to toe. And since we’re in wine country, after all, some of those treatments include Brunello wine, which is purported to have therapeutic benefits beyond its ability to enliven a dull dinner party.
Italian Alps, and fine dining in an elegant courtyard restaurant. The spa complex is composed of indoor and outdoor
My spouse and I opted for the Brunello Ritual for two, which took place in a romantic couples’ treatment room. We each got a relaxing massage with grape oil, followed by a whirlpool bath. Admittedly, when I first read the description of the “Brunello bath” I wondered how we’d get the wine stains out of our skin. The reality is the bath is a soak in scented water, to which is added about a liter of Brunello - no red wine stains to worry about. The treatment session finished with us lounging on a heated waterbed, sipping Brunello (which I think I still prefer to soaking in it) and sampling local cheese. It was the perfect additional treat for a wine-focused weekend.
The Ocean Course Peninsula Papagayo An Amazing 18-Hole Journey in the Jungle By Tim Cotroneo
he Ocean Course Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica adheres to the commandment that the world’s best golf courses grab your attention even before you step up to the first tee. The gated entrance to the Four Seasons Resort leading to the course initially snaps your head as you drive by a white marble sculpture depicting the Peninsula Papagayo Islands. A commissioned sculpture made with marble imported from Italy is the first indicator that your golf round will be something special. The anticipation builds as you drive a speed-regulated four-mile trek featuring towering palm trees, glimpses of the Pacific Ocean, and manicured shrubbery that would make Edward Scissorhands feel inferior. You slow to zero and encounter an awe-inspiring architectural marvel. The Ronald Zurcher designed clubhouse showcases a rooftop resembling the armadillos that are native to Costa Rica. Are you beginning to get the first impression picture here? As the attendant grabs your clubs, you’re lured like a magnet into the clubhouse. You detour the pro shop and walk straight ahead to the view beckoning from the Caracol Restaurant. In Spanish, “caracol” means snail, and the curved, shell-shaped ceiling is a first impression “wow.” This visual blitz is exceeded only by the view jutting from the massive 180-degree deck overlooking the 18th hole and beyond to the Pacific. In the immortal words of Bachman Turner’s 70s rock tune, “Baby, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”
The Only Game in Town On the Ocean Course’s first tee box, you’re blown away by the lush emerald green crosscut fairways. You learn that the 2,300-acre Four Seasons Resort is the only business within a 15 mile radius. This means that the golf course is the sole customer for the Peninsula Papagayo aquifer. In the Costa Rican region of Guanacaste, it pays to be the only game in town. When you
consider that the ultra-luxurious Ocean Course only sees about 75 golfers per day, you realize that you’re playing in exclusive company. As you near the second hole putting green you hear a racket clamoring from the trees. You get closer and discover this tree is a haven for howler monkeys. On top of the Ocean Course’s luxurious array of ameni-
ties, the course is part of a Certified Audobon Sanctuary. Over a spellbinding 18 holes you may encounter howlers, white-faced monkeys, puma, ocelot, fox, deer, and enough birdlife to cast an Alfred Hitchcock movie remake. You learn that The Ocean Course was Arnold Palmer’s first foray into Central American golf course design. Imagine The King’s delight when he realized his artistic canvas included the Pacific Ocean on one side, Culebra Bay on the other, the Costa Rican Rainforest, and enough extreme elevations to make golfers check their Spanish primer for the words “roller coaster” and “thrill seeker.” The Costa Rican Name Game The Ocean Course is a modest 6800 yards, but there are enough wicked turns, imposing ocean shots, and strategically placed sand traps to make the most methodical course manager pause before gripping and ripping. As you read the scorecard, you note playful or thought-provoking names attributed to each hole. The Shark, the monkey, and “treacherous” all rightfully capture the personalities of three of the Ocean Club’s amazing 18 golf holes. Director of Golf Randoll Viquez
likes to call his Ocean Course playground a “journey into the jungle.” For golfers who prefer panoramic moisture with their jungle, no less than 13 of Ocean Course’s 18 holes offer views of the Pacific Ocean. If you become so en-
deared with your Peninsula Papagayo surroundings that you’d like to call it home, realize that you’re not alone. On the back nine you’ll find million dollar Four Seasons residences discreetly built into the woods, on top of cliffs, and perched to take maximum advantage of the eco-views that make Costa Rica famous. Good Company with Jack, Morgan, and Arnold As you finish your round, you half expect to see a cigar-smoking Jack Nicholson and brandy-toasting Morgan Freeman lounging on the clubhouse deck while checking their golf course bucket list. For a moment you flash back to the anticipation created by the marble sculpture, the four mile drive featuring the Pacific Ocean, and the jaw dropping first look at the armadillo inspired clubhouse roof. Like Arnold Palmer before you, it hits home that there is nothing quite like this Ocean Course journey into the jungle. Grab Your Clubs and Go! www.fourseasons.com/costarica/
Becoming a Certified Pourer at the
guinness Storehouse BY Victoria Hart
tâ€™s the most popular tourist attraction in Dublin, Ireland, with over 1.5 million guest visits each year. It is the theme park for beer lovers. Youâ€™d have to be the grumpiest curmudgeon ever to miss the opportunity to ascend through the largest pint in the world to the top of the head, to experience a panoramic view of Dublin city. If the thought of entering into a pint sounds claustrophobic, fear not. If filled with beer, this pint would hold fourteen million pints. It is plenty big for you and your beer-loving friends from all over the world to experience at once. Travelling straight from the airport on a Sunday morning, I thought I would beat the crowd to St. James Gate and the Guinness Storehouse. Wow, was I surprised at the mass of people that joined me. In planning your trip to the Guinness Storehouse, factor in the crowds of people and wait time. Arthur Guinness and his large family have been brewing beer at St. James Gate for over 250 years. Arthur was an optimistic fellow, signing a 9000-year lease for the property, which is on display for all to see. Brewing beer begins with grains and water, and the first exhibit demonstrates this process. Guinness is now produced all over the world and shipped to over 150 countries. As guests ascend higher into the largest pint glass in the world, the story continues, from production to distribution, to advertising. The displays are in large, open rooms, allowing guests to move freely and gravitate to
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areas of particular interest, or move ahead of other visitors without feeling rude. The Tasting Room is the first interactive experience, where an entertaining staff member describes the different blends of grains used to create the various brews. Guests are encouraged to sniff the blends and notice the differences. A small taste is poured, and guests enter a room to experience the first taste in front of a large portrait of Arthur Guinness. Cheers, Mr. Guinness.
Pouring a Guinness is as critical as brewing a Guinness. Guests are assigned a class (or group), in the Guinness Academy, to properly learn the techniques involved. A Guinness Ambassador introduces the six-step ritual,
which takes 119.5 seconds to execute correctly. Our group consists of English, Italian, and Chinese speaking guests. The multi-lingual ambassador does an excellent job training our class, and we graduate with a
If you go: -ticketsPurchasing advance tickets online can save as much as 30% off the admission price, and will save time waiting in line at the entrance.
-dining100% passing rate, each receiving a certification for crafting the perfect pint. I am all for continuing education and learning new skills. I am confident my Guinness pouring education will prove valuable in my future. Whether you craft the perfect pint or not, it is yours to keep if you are over 18 years old. Those under age are offered a soft drink, before moving on to the dining rooms or heading straight to the Gravity Bar to sip the perfectly poured pint while taking in the scenic vistas of Dublin City.
There are several dining options in the Storehouse, with lots of dishes made with Guinness. Planning a visit around lunch or dinner is a great way to extend your stay, allowing you to break up the tour at your leisure.
-luggage checkComplimentary luggage storage is available, a terrific amenity for travelers who want to make Guinness their first or last stop on their Ireland visit. Stop in before your hotel check-in time on your first day in the city, or on the day you depart Ireland on your way to the airport. You can enjoy your day luggage free, enabling you to make the most of your visit to Ireland.
Old Tony’s A Step Back In Time With A Signature By Kevin Wilkerson Photography by KC Witherspoon
ou know you’re going someplace different even before you walk into Old Tony’s, a classic restaurant and bar in Redondo Beach, California. It sits precariously perched on crooked pylons directly above the Pacific Ocean on an old concrete pier. There are wooden stairs that take you up to the “Crow’s Nest” bar on the second floor. When you walk inside, you’re taking a step back in time into a place that’s been here since 1952 and features a signature drink that’s a magnet for locals and is a wild rush of rum for unsuspecting first-timers. You will notice that almost everybody is drinking the same thing. It’s a red concoction in a short, squat glass sporting the Old Tony’s logo. The people are laughing, talking somewhat loudly, reaching over to their neighbors and holding up those glasses in a happy “cheers.” That drink is the Fire Chief. And with that, you have arrived at one of the great haunts of Los Angeles. Old Tony’s is to Redondo Beach and LA’s South Bay what Frank & Musso’s is to Hollywood, Dan Tana’s is to Beverly Hills, and Casa Vega is to the Valley. And that is to say a local legend, the kind of place where locals take visiting friends to show it off with a sense of pride.
At Old Tony’s you are right over the ocean and the only celebrities you’ll see are the ones with their faded pictures on the walls by the inside staircase. There are nearly a hundred of them, just about every movie and TV star from the 60s and 70s, including Ann Margaret, Tony Curtis, Dean Martin, Carol Burnett and Mary Tyler Moore.
The Beach Boys were busboys here in the 60s – they are from neighboring Hawthorne – but the “Fun, Fun, Fun” of today is in the atmosphere of the place. And that atmosphere is mainly the result of the Fire Chief. Best described as a Mai Tai on steroids, it’s a stiff, red, rum drink enhanced by a floater of 151, served in a souvenir glass with crushed ice and a garnish of an
orange slice and a cherry. It is a real signature cocktail, The bar is small and round and features large balls the primary reason people come here, and the very hanging from the ceiling as a kitschy chandelier above essence of this unique place. the bar and tiny tables with the old “Pizza Hut” style red candle holders. The chairs at the tables are like Walking into Old Tony’s is like stepping into an ep- mini booths and the ones at the bar spin around, just isode of the old “Hawaii Five-O” TV show, or maybe as they do in classic old dives. “Magnum P.I.” The bartender is wearing a dated Hawaiin shirt as he slings drinks. The drink itself is smooth but potent. That first sip will raise your eyebrows and elicit a “whoa” from first-timers. Eventually, you settle down to it and before you know it you’re ordering another. And perhaps another. By this time, you’re feeling loose and friendly and are seeking out others in the bar for conversion. As a further garnish to the drink is the view. Tall windows look out toward the rest of the pier. Look down and over your shoulder, and you’ll see the waves breaking directly below you. Arrive at sunset, and you’re provided with an additional visual treat, a big, fiery yellow ball sinking into the Pacific. And with 325 days of sunshine, that sunset happens just about every night of the year in Redondo Beach.
The Fire Chief costs just $8.50 – an old-fashioned price in an old-fashioned place – and you get to keep the glass. It’s such a favorite drink that every household in the area has stacks and stacks of the souvenir glasses in their cabinets. The atmosphere, the mood and the feeling you get from the drink – as well as the sunsets – are impossible to put a price on. Old Tony’s is a restaurant, too, and its downstairs bar has a cozy fire pit. But for the true Fire Chief experience, you’ll want to be upstairs in the Crow’s Nest.
If you go: Old Tony’s Redondo Beach Pier Address: 210 Fishermans Wharf Redondo Beach, CA 90277 Phone: (310) 374-1442 Website: www.oldtonys.com
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Bourbon Trail, Cabo Golf, and More!