The bustling town of Hudson is the epicurean center of the northern Hudson Valley. The Half Moon serves an array of classic drinks, while the American Glory gastropub is the local epicenter for barbecue and Prohibition-era cocktails, plus a wide range of bourbon, rye, and single malt scotch. The upscale Fish & Game centers on seasonal farm-to-table cuisine and a wide selection of whiskies and other spirits, including rare scotches from independent bottlers like Samaroli and Single Cask Nation. Stay in town at Wm Farmer & Sons, and be sure to hit the bar, which features a deep list of American traditional and craft whiskeys.
The Greenport Conservation Area just north of Hudson has impressive views of the river and the autumnal Catskills beyond. A few miles inland, Olde York Farm Distillery & Cooperage makes barrels the old-fashioned way, and uses them to produce a variety of spirits made with seasonal local ingredients. Farther south, in the small town of Tivoli, is Traghaven Whiskey Pub. The bar offers over 60 Irish whiskeys, a selection it proudly proclaims is the largest in the country. Hudson Valley Distillers in nearby Germantown offers tours, tastings, and cocktails, and it also hosts a local Farm and Beverage Market, stocked with wine, spirits, cider, beer, and food from around the region.
Leaving the Hudson Valley proper behind and heading east into the Hudson Valley Highlands, the air gets crisper, and the forest, resplendent in oranges, reds, and yellows, grows denser. Amid these rolling hills lies Hillrock Estate, a large distillery and estate centered around an 1806 Georgian-era house. While the distillery has a beautiful, rustic visitor center, tours are available by advance appointment only, so plan ahead for a chance to taste and purchase the solera-aged bourbon or estate single malt. Farther south is Taconic Distillery, which (alongside its traditional bourbon and rye) sells bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup and bourbon finished in the barrels the maple syrup aged in.
For a true autumnal experience, continue 40 minutes east through Taconic State Park and the Taconic Mountains and across the border into Massachusetts. The roads have some of the best foliage-viewing in New England, as well as great camping and hiking. An easy hike of less than a mile across the border leads to Bash Bish Falls, the highest waterfall in Massachusetts. Slightly further east is Berkshire Mountain Distillers, whose Berkshire bourbon is a stand out. Also try the Ethereal gin, which is reinvented with a creative new blend of botanicals with each batch.
The Taconic State Parkway, one of the state’s most scenic routes, flanked by forest on both sides, will deliver you back to New York City. Hopefully you’ve collected lots of stunning photos and tasty whiskeys to construct your own modern-day memoir of the Hudson Valley.
Northern Hudson Valley Distilleries to Visit
Hudson Valley Distillers—1727 US Route 9, Germantown
Tours on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Olde York Farm Distillery & Cooperage—284 State Route 23, Hudson
Tasting room open Friday through Sunday; free tours on Saturdays and Sundays.
Hillrock Estate Distillery—408 Pooles Hill Road, Ancram
Tours by advance appointment only.
Taconic Distillery—179 Bowen Road, Stanfordville
Tasting room open Saturdays only.
Berkshire Mountain Distillers—356 S. Main Street, Sheffield, Massachusetts
Just across the border near a beautiful mountain setting.