Dr. John Sconzo
Originally from New York City and an Italian-American family to whom food was of utmost importance, I first learned to love the rural United States while in college at Dartmouth. Following Medical School at Columbia, where I met my lovely wife, we elected to move to Charlottesville, VA, where I completed a residency in Anesthesiology. Wanting our children to grow up on skis, we moved to northern NY, where we have lived ever since.
With a willing wife, my interest in food and wine grew over the years. And with our eclectic interests and tastes, we love nothing more than to travel around the world in search of great culinary and cultural experiences. It is particularly fun when we can do it with passionate, like-minded individuals.
Growing up in San Francisco was an incredible experience. You take for granted all that you have around you, from cultural diversity to international food. Living now in Upstate NY via Nashville has made me aware of different cultural traditions across the United States.
Travel has always been in my blood. I have lived in Mexico and Turkey for extended periods of time and have traveled from China to Poland to Brazil. In the last 10+ years, whiskey has been my passion and I have led over 20 niche whiskey tours to Scotland, Ireland, Japan and the U.S. I also started the Saratoga Whiskey Club in Upstate New York: Saratoga Whiskey Club. I am also currently the co-owner of First Fill Spirits in Saratoga Springs, NY.
With my experience leading special niche groups around the world, I am very much looking forward to all of the journeys with Rascal & Thorn and our guests.
Rascal + Thorn is a global travel company that specializes in custom gastronomic and beverage tours. We provide both public tours and also bespoke tours, or private tours for groups that are interested in us creating a specific trip. We have been providing tours since 2015 around the world. Our office is located in Saratoga Springs, NY.
Rascal + Thorn is the name given by Dr. John Sconzo for a bar he was to open in Queensbury, NY as an April Fool’s joke. Since then he has named his own personal bar at home Rascal + Thorn and now our global travel company.
Well, this depends on the tour and the person who is leading it. Typically when DocSconz is leading a trip, Charles, aka @whiskey_traveling, is the thorn and vice versa when Charles is leading a trip. Now we don’t always go on each other’s trips and when we don’t, usually the thorn stays home.
A typical Rascal + Thorn trip is built around a balance of food or drink and excursions.
On our culinary tours it is very important that our guests get to know the chefs behind the cuisine. So it could be a weekend focused around one restaurant group or it could be a longer trip in one location where we get to interact with different chefs and styles of cuisine.
On our drink trips we focus on the final product and how it is made. Whether it is visiting distilleries or breweries it is important to see the differences between them to understand how that changes the final product.
All of our tours like to also incorporate local flavor and history. Whether it is a walking Jazz tour or a hike through the Gap of Dunloe, we like to do more than just eat and drink…
Typically our groups are fairly small in size. On the culinary side we usually limit the group size to about 12 people on average. On the drink side it is between 10-20 people just depending on the type of tour. When we travel abroad we keep our group sizes on the smaller side.
Yes, we love working with private groups. Whether you need us as a guide or not, we can help you put together the best experience anywhere in the world.