Mixologists Making the Most of Summer’s Bounty
There was a time when ordering a fruity cocktail was seen as somehow…amateurish. Lady-like. Definitely not for guys. But times change, and as mixology has made its way from downtown speakeasies into even the most casual waterfront bars, much-maligned fruity cocktails have gained new cachet. Once the domain of Cosmo-sipping would-be Carrie Bradshaws, these drinks now rely on top-shelf liquors, artisanal spirits, and fresh-pressed juices for an enticing combination of strength and sweetness. Rather than cloying simple syrups or canned juices from concentrate, they have become a celebration of the summer, with bracing acidity from citrus and subtle depth from fruit-driven liqueurs. Here, four of our favorites, perfect for the dog days of summer on the East End.
The Crow’s Nest (4 Old W. FLake Dr., Montauk; 631.668.2077)
Whether you’re staying in the cozy cottages (or namesake Crow’s Nest) of Montauk landmark The Crow’s Nest or simply visiting for the afternoon, you’ll want to make your way to the bar, where the tempting Watermelon Cooler will bring your whole world down a couple of degrees. A base of clean, crisp Reyka vodka is enhanced with watermelon, lemon, and mint for an adults-only lemonade cooler that’s as refreshing as a breeze off the ocean.
Stay for the Mediterranean- inflected fare crafted from local ingredients like East Coast oysters and squid or farm-fresh kale salads, or sip and savor, then meander around Lake Montauk. If you wander far enough, you’ll even reach our next two picks, located just steps from one another…
Flagship Montauk(466 W. Lake Dr., Montauk; 631.668.8260)
Farm to fork? Dock to dish? At Flagship Montauk, mixologist Adam Miller goes garden to glass. Channeling his father’s culinary ethos into the bar program, he uses fresh juices and top-notch spirits to create enticing tropical concoctions perfect for sipping by the shore.
His Take Out is a signature, served in a glass that’s shaped like a take-out container and inflected with island-worthy flavors: a rum base is enhanced with banana, cinnamon, pineapple, and lime, then balanced with a dash of Angostura bitters. The result is compulsively drinkable and brings a welcome splash of tiki air to the Hamptons.
(474 W. Lake Dr., Montauk; 631.668.8344)
A few steps down the road, we recommend that you follow dinner with drinks at Swallow East, a sprawling indoor-outdoor bar and restaurant that nicely balances gentility and seafaring culture (we call it sailor-chic). Named for the bird tattoos that sailors often inked as a talisman of home, Swallow serves a tempting menu of shareable small plates at communal tables and low lounge seats, making it an ideal setting for snacks and drinks with friends looking out at the water (either during or long after sunset…!)
They’re famed for their 16-oz. bottled cocktail for two to four guests, but our fruity pick is the Peach Fizz, which enhances Prosecco with French peach cordial, Aperol, and lemon juice. Summer in a glass.
Harbor East (44 Three Mile Harbor Rd., East Hampton; 631.408.5771)
The sun-splashed patio at Harbor East is a picture- perfect setting for a very picturesque cocktail: their Pink Panther. High-end vodka lovers will delight in this Stoli Elit concoction, raised to new heights by Giffard Framboise, lime, and grapefruit. And aesthetes of all stripes will appreciate the colorful contrast: a petal-pink potable is right at home among the lush greenery and palm- printed cushions of this airy East Hampton hideaway.
Match it with the pink-and-green majesty of their Tuna Tartare with avocado and lime or the creamy, locally sourced Burrata with heirloom tomato, watermelon, basil, and balsamic. Now that’s a colorful meal worth savoring.