Gin. Jazz. Fascinating rhythms moving, flowing through the summer air. For four nights in August, the courtyard at Amado, one of Tupper Lake's most enjoyable restaurants, will be filled with the vibrant sound of live jazz, perfectly paired with specialty cocktails and unique dishes from the kitchen of Chef Cory Rohrbach. The first annual Adirondack Gin & Jazz Festival will take place August 2 through August 5 and promises to be an outstanding event, combining unique culinary and musical talents. Although an event of this size — and musical firepower — is something new for Amado, the event seems imbued with the ethos of the great American jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter, who once said, "Jazz is a fighter. The word 'jazz' means to me, 'I dare you. Let's jump into the unknown!'"
What it is
The Adirondack Gin & Jazz Festival is the brainchild of Rohrbach and his wife Lilian, the owners of Amado, which they opened in 2016 with a menu of internationally-inspired dishes, including from Lilian's native Brazil. Over the years, the restaurant has grown and developed into a can’t-miss dining destination in the Adirondacks, known for excellent dishes, a top-notch wine list, and, since 2020, fabulous outdoor dining. Cory and Lilian have created a charming outdoor space, with private dining areas, a handsomely rustic bar, and space for live music. Music fans themselves — the Rohrbachs are known to head to Montreal or Manhattan to explore new sounds — Cory and Lilian have hosted live music at Amado, but the Gin & Jazz Festival is a new, exciting adventure, one that they hope to continue and expand in the years to come.
Every evening of the festival will feature the incredibly talented house band, the night's headliner, art exhibit, special cocktails, menu, and more. Tickets to the event, available online now, get you into the restaurant. Any food and drink is extra, but the Rohrbachs hope that once people settle in for the evening, they'll stay a while. There will be hours of jazz each night, and in the unique, starry setting of the courtyard, it's the perfect opportunity to linger.
Jazz has a lot of variations: Dixieland, big band, trad, smooth, avant-garde, and so much more. The house band — made up of talented musicians on upright bass, keyboard, and drums — will kick off every evening of the Gin & Jazz Festival with exceptional sound and energy. Every night, the band is followed by a dynamic headline performance; one exciting aspect is that all of the headliners at the festival are women, each with their own distinctive sound and style. This means that each night will have a different flavor (pun intended) of jazz for attendees to savor.
The first night of the festival, the "Founder's Dinner," will be headlined by Arianna Neikrug, an award-winning performer whose music combines jazz standards with pop-inflected original compositions. Neikrug will also be headlining the third night of the festival, on August 4.
August 3 will feature Melanie Charles, a Brooklyn-based performer whose performances include Haitian influences, experimentalism, and her talents on multiple instruments. Charles' original music is brave, bold, and takes lyrical chances that astound audiences.
On the final night of the festival, August 5, Afro-Cuban jazz singer Daymé Arocena will finish the festival with her warm, powerful vocals. With a stunning blend of African and Cuban inspirations, find out why Arocena was honored with a nomination for a Grammy Award.
In addition to the house band and the headliner, each evening will end with an open jam, where the house band and headliner can and will join up with local talents for improvisation and musical adventure. Improvisation is a beautiful, important tradition in jazz, so every evening's jam session has the potential to be completely unique and unrepeatable.
The food and drinks
The Gin & Jazz Festival begins on August 2 with a culinary bang: a special, four-course "Founder’s Dinner,” a fantastic menu of food paired with special drinks and, of course, jazz.
Each course has been thoughtfully paired with wine or a cocktail; this is, after all, about gin too. Cory and Lilian have partnered with two distinctive brands for the weekend, Highclere Castle Gin and Kapistoni Wines. Highclere Castle is the real-life castle used in the filming of Downton Abbey. Gin connoisseurs like it for its smoothness, zingy citrus notes, and aromatics. It’s a great gin for inventive cocktails; guests at the dinner will enjoy cocktails made with the gin with the first and fourth courses.
Also on the menu for the first night, and the rest of the weekend, is Kapistoni Wine, from the Republic of Georgia. Cory delights in describing the traditional ways Kapistoni makes their wines and the flavors produced. Representatives from both Highclere Castle Gin and Kapistoni Wines will be at the dinner, to talk a bit about the drinks and what diners can expect from them. Here's a hint: expect smooth flavor and just the right hint of decadence.
Of course, there’s also the food to consider and Chef Cory is determined to meet the energy of the music with bold, delightful flavor. The Founder's Dinner, which is reservation only, will include surprising dishes including ostrich, turbot, and filet mignon. The rest of the festival will feature Amado's signature menu, with some very special additions crafted just for the event.
A colorful experience
Also on hand for the festival will be Cubist artist Ishita Banerjee, whose bright, energetic artwork will be on display. Banerjee will be attending the festival, giving festival-goers the opportunity to interact with the artist herself and learn more about her dynamic work, including non-traditional, but nonetheless fascinating, portraiture.
Tickets for the Adirondack Gin & Jazz Festival at Amado are now on sale. One-day or full-series passes are available, as well as tickets to the four-course opening dinner.