Move over Farm-to-Table here comes Farm-to-Still.
If you grew up like me, where a gin and tonic was a gin and tonic and an Amaretto sour was just an Amaretto sour, then what is happening at Liquid Mercantile in Gardiner is going to open another world to you!
I recently met with Zoli Rozen, the bar manager and partner, and was totally blown away by the creativity and care that goes in to preparing the cocktails! We are familiar with master chefs putting such detail and passion into the food they prepare, now at Liquid Mercantile you’ll see that same attention paid from a bartender and the results speak for themselves.
The brainchild of Gable Erenzo, former co-owner of Tuthilltown Spirits, Liquid Mercantile creates extraordinary cocktails made from hyper-local, sustainable and ethically-made ingredients. Erenzo and his team push the limits--creating cocktails that showcase the ingredients and celebrates local producers.
Erenzo’s nano-distillery Liquid Mercantile is a combined eating and drinking place, a tasting room and retail shop on Main Street in Gardiner.
As the return to classic cocktails started taking the stage around the country, his vision was to take it one step further, creating a modern version of these familiar drinks and ones that were fashioned from the bounty of the local farms of Gardiner and New Paltz.
Because the ingredients cannot be grown locally you won’t find traditional bar staples like rum or tequila. What you will find is a large variety of house-made and New York State distilled spirits, which includes a large list of whiskies, beer, wine, and shrubs, or what I call “magic potions”.
What is a shrub? It is key element of many of the cocktails made at the Mercantile. A shrub is made with sugar, vinegar and fruit. The key is that it can be made from any combination of those three ingredients, so you can mix and match and come up with countless combinations. For example, I sampled a balsamic lavender shrub.
The other thing you won’t find there is a soda gun or any sort of store-bought mixes.
What they are doing at Liquid Mercantile is part art and part chemistry project. They take everything they know about classic cocktails, take them apart recreate them, to make them unique.
Prime examples are the Saved by the Bell cocktail, a red pepper and basil martini, or for something cold and delicious; the Apple Brandy Lemonade slushy, or the Amaretto sour made with homemade amaretto and house made sour mix.
The Mercantile also offers a great selection of snacks and food, all sourced locally too.
What started out as a small plate menu, quickly turned into much more with Chef Patti Lowden, former owner of the popular Hopped Up Café in High Falls in charge of the kitchen.
The day I was there specials included local pea shoots & trout tossed with radishes, beets, greens and apple in a light lemon cream, or Asian meatball sliders or smoked chicken tacos with slaw and roasted poblano aioli.
Liquid Mercantile has both bar, counter and outdoor seating on the front deck looking out over Main Street as well as a small side area on the side of the building.