Picture this: Albany, NY, in the grip of February’s frosty embrace. You’re thinking, “A tropical getaway is what I need,” but the nearest island sun is a flight away. Fear not, jet-setters and local explorers! Mr. D’s restaurant at the Desmond Hotel is the unexpected slice of summer you’ve been craving, a veritable oasis next to Albany Airport that turns a simple stopover into a story-worthy escapade.
Upon my snowy arrival, the Desmond Hotel unveiled its first act of magic: a courtyard jungle. Yes, you read that right! Amid the Hudson Valley’s wintry winds, this hotel harbors not one, but two courtyards bursting with tropical plants, whimsical lights, and dancing fountains. It’s a scene straight out of a midsummer night’s dream—or, shall I say, a midwinter night’s warmth?
The pièce de résistance, however, is the heated pool. Taking the plunge, I was instantly transported from the Hudson chill to equatorial thrills. And for those of us who like to flex and stretch before indulging, their gym is a fitness model’s dream come true.
Now, let’s talk about Mr. D’s—the jewel in the hotel’s crown. It’s where the cocktails are a vibrant splash of color in a monochrome winter world. As a travel and hospitality photographer, I’ve witnessed my fair share of bars, but Mr. D’s bar, with its cozy fireplace, is where the ambiance crackles as much as the fire.
The strawberry mojito? A masterpiece of muddled mint and sweet berry bliss. It’s not just a drink; it’s a first-class ticket to summer. And the conversations here? As diverse as the drink menu. I found myself laughing with a lobbyist, swapping stories with an air marshal, and debating with politicians. Albany, you’re full of surprises!
The Mr. D Manhattan is not just a cocktail; it’s a rite of passage. Garnished with a cherry, it’s the cherry on top of your evening. And the Merry Berry? Let’s just say it’s a burst of joy in a glass. Three drinks in, and I was no longer lost in the Hudson Valley; I was lost in a tropical dream, right in the heart of Albany.
For those seeking Hudson Valley travel with a twist or craving Hudson Valley hospitality and friendly service that’s a cut above, the Desmond Hotel, with its Mr. D’s restaurant, is your spot. Can’t wait for my next ‘getaway’ to that tropical courtyard. Mr. D’s, keep the mojitos coming!
The “Hudson Twilight” – A Manhattan Cocktail Recipe Inspired by Mr. D
When the classic Manhattan meets Hudson Valley charm, you get a cocktail that’s as bold and sophisticated as the region itself. Let’s craft a version that carries the spirit of Mr. D’s and the warmth of those memorable Albany nights.
- 2 oz. Hudson Valley rye whiskey (the heart of the cocktail)
- 1 oz. chilled apple cider (a nod to New York’s apple orchards)
- 1/2 oz. maple syrup (a sweet salute to the local sugar shacks)
- 2 dashes of walnut bitters (for a nutty whisper of the valley’s forests)
- A small scoop of black cherry sorbet (my signature twist, boosting the traditional cherry garnish)
- In a mixing glass filled with ice, pour in the rye whiskey, apple cider, and maple syrup. This blend honors the rustic yet refined character of the Hudson Valley.
- Add the walnut bitters, giving a gentle, earthy complexity that echoes the depth of the region.
- Stir the concoction until well chilled. Consider each swirl a journey through the winding paths of Mr. D’s enchanting courtyard.
- Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass, the kind that would catch the light of Mr. D’s fireplace and sparkle like the Hudson River at sunset.
- For the grand finale, gently place a small scoop of black cherry sorbet in the drink and top it with a cherry. It serves as an icy, fruity core, slowly melting and infusing the cocktail with a playful yet elegant twist.
Raise your glass to the “Hudson Twilight,” where every sip is like a stroll through Albany’s hidden tropical oasis, and each taste is a reminder of those delightful encounters at Mr. D’s. Here’s to the stories yet to be told and the memories waiting to be made in the Hudson Valley! Cheers!
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