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While Away Your Last Warm Days With Specialty Cocktails at 550 Waterfront

550 Waterfront's Bar Manager Corey Melancon unveils some of the bar's soon-to-be-hit fall tipples.

550 Waterfront’s inventive cocktail list includes a Birch Old Fashioned, Cool Hand Cuke and Sandy’s Bay, a cocktail made with fresh-brewed black tea. (Alex Baackes)

After being on lockdown for much of the spring, many Saratogians are no doubt going to milk every last minute they can spend outside before wrapping up the season. And what better way to take in the crisp fall weather than lakeside, with a cocktail?

Enter the long-awaited 550 Waterfront, which opened this summer on the shores of Saratoga Lake and promises to keep its (wait for it) waterfront patio and row of sandy Adirondack chairs open until late fall, if that’s what customers want. (There are currently three fire pits on the deck, with heaters being added.) Everything about the nautical décor, lakeside breeze and friendly, sneakered marina boys exudes “getaway,” but the hot spot (once Lake Local) is right here, on Union Avenue at the 550 Marina.

“We wanted to offer locals the feeling of being on vacation, but without leaving Saratoga Springs,” says Corey Melancon, 550’s bar manager. “We’re hoping it’s warm enough to sit around the fireplaces through October. The outside will be open as long as we can stand it.”

On the drinks menu for fall: a Birch Old Fashioned made with Wild Moon Birch Liqueur, and a refreshing Cool Hand Cuke that’s made with cucumber vodka, pineapple juice and mint. Even though it sounds summery, it’s so popular that Melancon predicts it will make the cut when the official fall food and drink menus debut sometime around October 1. He also can’t wait to unveil a cozy cider-based concoction made with cranberry vodka, bitters and apple whiskey, topped with Lillet Blanc.

Melancon also loves fresh-brewed tea as a cocktail base, calling it “a great way to add a lot of flavor without too much additional sugar.” Expect to sip on the Nantucket (blueberry vodka and black tea) and Sandy’s Bay (peach vodka and hibiscus tea) until the menu changeover, when you’ll have to stay tuned for what he comes up with next. 

Melancon also gets inspiration from his long-time friend and coworker Brady Dillon, 550’s chef. “We work together to create cohesive menus,” he says. “The food dishes’ ingredients inspire the cocktails, and vice versa.”

Sounds like a food and drink pairing made in lakeside heaven.

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