The inaugural Eat Drink Saratoga was all I hoped it would be—just hotter. Fifteen restaurants and dozens of breweries, wineries and distilleries set up shop in the spacious (as in, how have I not noticed this before?) Saratogian parking lot on the corner of Caroline Street and Putnam Street Saturday, June 30. For $60, attendees received two $5 food tokens and a four-ounce signature Eat Drink Saratoga sampling glass for free tastings at each beverage stand.
The 90-plus degree heat certainly kept some would-be eaters and drinkers away, but a dedicated and sweaty crowd braved the heat for both three-hour sessions. I made it for the evening session, held from 5-8pm, and after the sun peaked behind the buildings on Broadway, it was quite lovely, as I lounged in the provided lawn chairs. Luckily for me, my boyfriend was just in it for the drinks, so I had $20 in tokens to spend, though I wished I had $50. I opted for clothesline bacon and a lobster dumpling from Salt & Char, a fried chicken slider and Saratoga Chips from Hattie’s, bacon-wrapped meatballs from Boca Bistro and an ice cream sandwich from Comfort Kitchen. The best deals of the day were from title sponsor Druthers, which offered a full plate of mac ‘n’ cheese, brisket, ribs and potato salad all for one token; and 2 West Bar & Grille, which was handing out Korean ribs and strawberry shortcake for the low price of one token. (Besides Druthers, saratoga living was the event’s other title sponsor.)
Between all this amazing food, I was able to sample ciders, beers and spirits from close to a dozen stands, including Citizen Cider, Brown’s Brewing Co. and Sagamore Spirit, which had a delicious mixed drink called “Black-eyed Rye,” made with rye whiskey, ginger beer, lime juice, blackberry simple syrup and mint. After the festival, attendees brought the party to local restaurants including Fish at 30 Lake, Henry Street Taproom, Hamlet & Ghost (my personal choice), Mouzon House, Hattie’s, Sinclair Saratoga and Sperry’s.
“Even though we lost some attendance with the weather, I think the event will only get bigger and better next year,” says Eat Drink Saratoga Co-founder Jillian Petercsak. “I had people say to me it was the best tasting event they’d ever been to, mostly because of the quality beverage providers as well as the awesome food.” I haven’t been to many tasting events, but I can tell you one thing for certain: I’ll be at the 2019 Eat Drink Saratoga.