old fourth distillery

after a yawn or two and some time in the backyard for grace, i begin each weekday morning with a cup of coffee, my computer, and the fun, entertaining fox 5 news team.  they’ve become my regular news crew ever since i started working from home last spring, and it wouldn’t be a good start to my day if they didn’t catch me up on all things weather, traffic, and politics related.

one of my favorite segments is with paul milliken and his drop-ins to interesting attractions around the state.  of the many places i’ve seen paul go, his recent visit to the old fourth distillery caught my attention so that i planned a get-together there myself!  a couple saturdays ago phillip and i met up at the distillery with mercy, kris, tommy, kaley, eric, and claire.  it wasn’t quite tour time (which, by the way, they prefer you reserve online before arriving), so we let the bartender fix us a couple of cocktails.  i enjoyed the refreshing blackberry bramble, phillip and kaley loved the frozen lemonade, and tommy sipped on his gin and tonic.  what better way to begin a distillery tour than with some of their finest spirits?

the top of the hour arrived, and our tour guide wrangled us all together.  one thing to mention about the distillery is that it is quite compact.  the bar area can handle probably 10 people comfortably, and the work space really was probably no more than a thousand square feet.  makes for an intimate setting!

you can take your cocktails with you during the tour and enjoy it between nuggets of distillery education and shots of alcohol.  now, i’ve been to plenty of breweries in my day, and for the most part, once you understand one brew process, you get the general idea.  however, before coming to the distillery, i knew nothing about these processes.  i was incredibly intrigued as i learned about how this distillery came to be, what types of ingredients you can use, and what different boiling points mean to it all.  by the end of our hour together, we were experts on heads, hearts, and tails and what makes all these spirits so tasty and special.

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i personally enjoyed the gin the most, likely because it didn’t have as much potency as the vodka and was infused with tons of different spices and herbs.  the lawn dart was one of the crowd favorites, and mercy enjoyed the bourbon so much that she took a bottle home with her.  when its been aged for such a while and when the next batch won’t be available until the fall, she figured it was a pretty excellent souvenir.  i agree!

mercy and phillip loved the frozen lemonade, especially with a bourbon floater!

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to quote sex and the city…

one of the reasons some people still risk the possible horror of a first date is the possible magic of the goodnight kiss at the front door.

well, ladies and gents, i didn’t have my front door last night, but things had gone so well that, to spoil the end for you, there was magic when he walked me to my car, and i’m still smiling because of it.

i think i had forgotten how well a first date could go, and this fellow reminded me that it can be easy and enjoyable and so refreshing that you look forward to date two.  well, it’s a relief to know that all those other mediocre dates weren’t something wrong with me; they just weren’t the right matches.  not everything works out, and as he and i agreed, everything happens for a reason.  we meet who we meet for some underlying purpose that might not yet be realized, and if we have enough patience and perspective, we might be able to see it soon.

this post is a brief one, for i don’t want to jinx the good mojo that’s here, but to those of you treading the single dating waters out there, keep on keepin’ on.  if nothing else, you’ll always have a good story to tell.

ladybird grove and mess hall – atlanta, ga

last week was the grand opening of the latest spot in old fourth ward, ladybird grove and mess hall, and we just had to be there!  i got in touch with general manager creighton mcmurray to get the deets and was quite delighted when he invited us to come on out for opening night on monday.

ladybird grove and mess hall is tucked nicely into this neighborhood, with kevin rathbun steak to its southeast and the beltline right in between the two.  if it’s your first time visiting this part of town, you might be wary as your gps directs you here, for you feel as though you may be intruding upon a residential area.  fear not, though, for once you get to the end of john wesley dobbs, the big ladybird sign will wave you down.

i arrived earlier than the rest of our group so that i could steal a few precious moments with the staff.  creighton and i had been exchanging e-mails, and i was looking forward to meeting him.  the waitress seated me and brought some water and then creighton joined me at the family style table for a quick introduction.

“so, how does it feel, now that opening day is here?  did you sleep at all?  are you overwhelmed?”

“actually,” creighton responded, “i’m feeling comfortably whelmed.  i got a little bit of shut eye, but things are going great.”  well, if that isn’t great news for a restaurant’s first night, i don’t know what is.

“i know you’re busy, but tell me a little bit about ladybird’s identity, because the web site is quite simple.”

“haha.  yes, our site is a bit vague right now,” he laughs (note that it has since been updated with their menu offerings).  “we want ladybird to be a laid-back place that anyone can enjoy.  we’re a from-scratch kitchen making good food.  we want folks to want to hop in for a burger and beer after walking their dog or going for a run.”

their location really is quite perfect for all of those things.  i can see ladybird quickly becoming a must-try spot in its opening months, especially with its screened-in dining area and roomy patios.  the exposed brick and carshop doors inside keep the space tall and airy, as does the wilderness murals.  the whole atmosphere is something i haven’t experienced really ever, and i was definitely feeling it.

the menu caters to folks of nearly all appetites and price points.  there are starters and small plates and individual meals and platters to share among friends.  there’s so much to try, and you can bet that we did our fair share of tasting.

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