Monday, October 20, 2014

A Farm to Table Distillery

So, you've all heard about farm to table.... but how about a Farm to Table Distillery?!  Right here in Florida!!  Talk about a great way to break the ice!  

The Ice Plant Bar and St Augustine Distillery are actually two entities at one historical location open just barely one year.  To begin with, the building is literally that- an old renovated ice factory.  The décor early is early twentieth century with an authentic speakeasy feel right down to the server and bartender uniforms and the somewhat nondiscript yet historical exterior..  

The Ice Plant restaurant is located on the second floor with two large bars separating two open airy rooms.  The original "Ice Plant" building dates back to 1927 and still has the original bridge crane on rails overhead the bar. The crane was used to pick up huge blocks of ice to then be broken down and sold to local customers and the shrimp boats.   Check out all of the ice holders on the wall of the bar.

The restaurant is a very comfortable space with large wood tables and you can just imagine the roar in the air during happy hour or the clinking of freshly stabbed ice for their drink concoctions.  They don't just stop at the drinks, however, their food is amazing.
My husband picking out some amazing food and drinks
They are focused on the art and craft of mixing exceptional local ingredients in precise measurements to create perfect and unique flavor profiles and according to their website they utilize fresh, house-pressed juices and bitters and specially developed syrups- which I can verify result in very sexy cocktails.  Attention is paid to the smallest of details with three different kinds of ice and custom cubes.  Their mission is to return to the craft of ice harvesting by freezing purified water in large blocks.  
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The farm to table restaurant and bar is open for lunch and dinner so we enjoyed a mid-afternoon lunch and frosty beverage before touring the place.  The service was outstanding as well!  

I enjoyed a Gin's Cup made of St. Augustine Distillery New World Gin, Pimm's No. 1, cucumber, ginger, lemon, honey, bitters and amazing teeny tiny ice pebbles.

But here's another one to try sometime... DEATH IN THE MORNING - Pierde Almas Mezcal, Ancho Reyes, Luxardo Maraschino, lime, grapefruit, Hellfire bitters... wow!  

For lunch, I enjoyed a truly delicious, crispy, cheesey "Old City Melt" which had gruyére, mozzarella, cheddar, tomato, pesto, on a most fantastic fresh and crunchy multi grain bread and perfectly seasoned side pasta salad!

Oh and by the way.... it's good to know that their menu lists the following: 1/2 MEATLOAF SANDWICH - Grass-fed Georgia beef, smoked bacon and tomato jam, cuban roll.  BUT the catch here is that it is NOT a half sandwich - it's a whopping half pound of beef in each sandwich!!! :0  I also love their spin on some great foods - like "T.A.B.L.E." - Tomato, avocado, smoked bacon, lettuce, fried egg, aioli, Texas toast. Next time my husband is looking forward to going back for dinner to try their BBQ BISON BACK RIBS  - Sweet and spicy house bbq sauce, smoked potato waffle, and local green beans.  For me- it is all about coming back just for the bar snacks...... ready for this???
  • WILD BOAR SALAMI with Spiced candied pecans, marinated olives, crostini
  • SOFT PRETZEL BREAD with beer cheese fondue, dijonnaise
  • DEVILS ON HORSEBACK - Bacon wrapped dates, buttermilk blue cheese purée

You can also come during Saturdays this fall to take some great cocktail classes too:

No matter what though, don't miss the complimentary Distillery Tour and fantastic tasting of the handcrafted, small batch spirits distillery. Currently they offer the Florida Cane Vodka and New World Gin for purchase in addition to various bar ware, momentos and recipe books in their gift shop.

They walk you through the history of the building complete with a museum, short film and walking tour.

Then there was the educational and fun tasting room:

Both the St. Augustine Distillery Co. and Ice Plant Bar received the 2014 Award for Excellence for the Reuse/Repurpose Sector by the Urban Land Institute of North Florida - what an honor!

The Distillery craft spirits are now available at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, Publix Liquor Stores, and Winn Dixie Wine & Spirits locations throughout Florida!  Don't be "bitter" if you're not a Florida resident, you can order online from Broudy's, who can ship to most states.   Be sure to make your way over to St. Augustine soon as this place is truly getting lots of "buzz"!

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Ice Bar & St. Augustine Distillery
110 Riberia Street
St. Augustine, FL 32084
(904) 829-6553
Monday- Friday 11:30am– 2am
Saturday & Sunday 5pm- 2am

*Location is approximately two blocks south of King Street in the historic district (down the street from the San Sebastian Winery).  Special thank you to the Peace and Plenty Bed and Breakfast for letting us know about this great new old place!!  
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“She had never known that ice could take on so many shades of blue"  - Malinda Lo, Huntress

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