Spice Things Up with These Craft Cocktails
At once hot but cold, peppery but refreshing, spicy cocktails are having a heyday. When it comes to drinking, if you’re among those who like it hot, here are six spots in the Hamptons shaking up interesting concoctions with a bite that will add heat of their own to these summer months.
Sweet Heat at Rumba
(43 Canoe Place Rd., Hampton Bays)
Few places in the Hamptons are as barefoot casual as Rumba, modeling itself on a Caribbean seafood shack with tropical food, a friendly staff, paddle fans churning a cool breeze, and live music throughout the summer. Of course, no island-themed retreat would be complete without a rum bar, which here shakes up coconut martinis, a range of fresh-fruit mojitos, rum sangria, and a potent rum punch.
However, for those who don’t choose rum as their tipple of choice—or simply want something with a kick to go with their jerk chicken and guacamole— the tequila-based Sweet Heat awaits, with Chambord, blackberries, fruit juice, and just a bit of jalapenos. The purple concoction matches perfectly with the sky as the sun sets and Shinnecock Bay glistens in the foreground. There may not be palm trees, but with this view, could anyone care less?
Hot Skinny Wench Margarita at Navy Beach
(16 Navy Rd., Montauk)
Set on a former navy base with a 200-foot-long private beach, the aptly-named Navy Beach restaurant has one of the best panoramic views in the Hamptons. Overlooking Fort Pond Bay in Montauk, it’s an altogether scenic watering hole, with its outside tables popular grounds for day drinking. Gather a group and come here to anchor down with some pitchers of cocktails and plates of parmesan fries as boaters drop their anchors in the harbor and meander in to do the same.
As sunset and dinner time rolls around, the menu beckons with buttermilk fried chicken and blackened mahi mahi with hearts of palm and mango chutney in the yacht club–chic dining room— fare substantial enough to counteract an afternoon of drinking. Or, if you’re looking to continue onward, kick things back into action with the spicy Hot Skinny Wench margarita and set sail into nighttime activities.
Main Street Margarita at Wölffer Kitchen
(29 Main St., Sag Harbor)
Two years ago, Wölffer Kitchen opened in Sag Harbor as the brick-and-mortar eatery of one of Long Island’s finest wineries, Wölffer Estate Vineyard. One after the other, top critics raised a glass to its meticulous service, Mediterranean-style seasonal cuisine, and stellar wine menu of bottles not only from Wölffer but also numerous other local and renowned international vineyards. Now with a second location in Amagansett (and different menu to accompany), Wölffer Kitchen remains one of the best spots to wine and dine, with an emphasis on the former.
Be sure, however, not to overlook the small selection of cocktails, some of which make use of the vineyard’s output, like the mint- and-berry rosé sangria that pairs perfectly with oysters to start. Or, opt for a spicy ceviche or lamb lollipops with salsa verde and sip a Main Street Margarita with muddled jalapeños and start the night on a hot note.
Passion Chili Whiskey Fizz at Topping Rose House (1 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike)
At the crossroads of Montauk Highway and the Sag Harbor in Bridgehampton, the white Greek revival beauty known as Topping Rose House stands as one of the finest small hotels on Long Island, with the type of farm-chic style that feels like an aristocratic country house. Its contemporary American restaurant, which has changed hands from Tom Colicchio to Jean Georges, is one of the most acclaimed restaurants in the Hamptons, with much of the produce picked fresh from the property’s one-acre garden and served in a re ned dining room with white walls and dim lighting.
It’s certainly a romantic dinner spot, but it’s equally good for cocktails in the handsome bar and lounge, such as the Passion Chili Whiskey Fizz, whose name sums up all the ingredients mixed with Tin Cup whiskey, a spicy bourbon-style from the Colorado Rockies. Later on, the lawn under the stars is the perfect quiet sipping spot.
Madame Adventurists at Jue Lan Club (268 Elm St., Southampton)
If Topping Rose is where one might find stalwart fashion editors sipping a glass of champagne with their farm-to-table fish entrées, Jue Lan Club is where young entrepreneurs go for ashy Chinese fare and craft cocktails to pair. The glitzy art-focused hotspot hung with works from a roster of artists including Keith Haring and Mark Kostabi recalls equal parts the underground rebellion of its namesake secret group of artists in 1930s Shanghai and the Paris nightlife they escaped to from communist China.
Among the extensive list of cocktails, many Asian themed, the tequila-based Madame Adventurists packs a solid punch with Ancho Reyes chili liqueur, Szechuan peppers, and hibiscus and agave for a bit of sweetness. It pairs well with dim sum dinners and helps usher in nights spent at the Barn, the adjoining late-night club. Surely the original club would have approved of this sophisticated breed of modern mayhem.
Hot on the Highway at Highway Restaurant & Bar (290 Montauk Hwy., East Hampton)
Owned by TOMS Hospitality—alongside such Manhattan fine-dining spots as Eleven Madison Park and NoMad—Highway Restaurant and Bar is the cheery, comfy neighborhood joint in the group’s high-flying portfolio. In lieu of marble bars and tasting menus are pillowed benches, a replace, and fresh baked goods like pie—a perfect year- round hideaway that was revamped last year to keep its look as fresh and clean as its farm- to-table fare.
Warm bowls of homemade pasta and a laid- back sense of privacy have attracted the likes of Jay-Z to this hideout, but equally appealing is its menu of craft cocktails that alone are worth a stop on the way to or from the beach. For something sweet and spicy, go for the Hot on the Highway, with spicy tequila and mezcal off set by the citrusy aromas of fresh- squeezed lime and Lillet.