Give Your Quarantini Hamptons Flair
Not so long ago, we all happily forked over our hard-earned cash for a freezing-cold glass full of vodka and called it a “martini.” And while chilled vodka, straight up, will always have a special place in our hearts, our palates have grown more discerning. Just as we crave fresh- caught fluke or local oysters, count down the days to the summer’s first ripe tomatoes, or seek out the finest vintages from our local vineyards, we also favor locally produced spirits in our cocktails. Some deliver a taste of the tropics to the East End; others rely on Long Island-grown and -harvested ingredients for their distinctive flavors. And all are available for online ordering, right to your door. So go ahead: infuse your next cocktail with a little hometown “spirit.”
Wölffer Pink Gin
Long before midwestern moms were sporting #roseallday t-shirts and we could proudly proclaim our love of pink wine for all the world to hear, Long Island was a haven for the Underground Rosé Cognoscenti. (We always knew it was more than the sickly sweet stuff of 1.5L bottles!) Whether you were one of us way back then or a more recent convert, you’ve probably enjoyed a glass – or several – of our excellent local rosés, including those of iconic Wölffer Estate. But their “Pink” Gin takes the game to an entirely new level. It’s a serious spirit, infused with estate-grown juniper berries that they’ve been cultivating since 1996, but with a rosy hue that makes for an elegant gin and tonic or a truly eye-catching gin martini. Go ahead; let your Pink Flag fly!
If you’ve spent any time at Lynn’s Hula Hut, you may be familiar with her Hula Hut Spirits, a line of three tropical temptations designed to transport you to paradise. Her flagship is the justly renowned “Hula Juice,” a spiced coconut rum that has been known to lead to dancing through the night just to watch the sun rise. But don’t sleep on her other offerings, including Lé Tahitian (vanilla vodka infused with fresh pineapple) and Lé Hukilau (a Thai-inspired blend of ginger and lemongrass). Try them simply blended with fresh fruit juices and ice, or opt for a composed cocktail; either way, your backyard just became your very own tiki hut.
The clear, clean-tasting vodkas from Sagaponack Farm Distillery are available distilled from both wheat and potato, meaning that gluten-intolerant drinkers can still stir them into suitable martinis. Their unusual Single Spud potato “whiskey” is another gluten-free stand-out, barrel-aged in new American oak for notes of vanilla and cherry that are ordinarily confined to more traditionally distilled wheat or rye whiskeys. But we’re also total suckers for their not-too-sweet, not-too-tart Rhubarb Liqueur, infused with rhubarb, honey, and orange peel. It’s a subtle, sippable spirit that channels the delectable first flavors of spring all year round.
For a diverse selection of locally produced spirits, look no further than the eponymous Long Island Spirits, whose sizable repertoire includes everything from botanical dry gin to cask-strength rye whiskey. Their playful Sorbettas are fun fruit-infused spirits (we love the Strawberry, loaded with the summer’s crop), while their Rough Rider line of potent whiskeys would do any frontiersman proud. LiV Vodka comes in both potato and corn varieties, as well as an espresso-infused version perfect for keeping the party going as the sun goes down.
Montauk Rum Runners
Today, it’s better known for its surf breaks and laid-back beach culture, but during Prohibition, Montauk was a hotbed of “rum runners”: local fishermen who dodged the Coast Guard by night to meet up with Caribbean rum ships and sneak their bounty back through the deep woods of the North Shore. Montauk Rum Runners is a tribute to their ingenuity and boldness, offering a crisp citrus gin, smooth coconut rum, and supple honey whiskey. And it’s not just their fun backstory; one sip of these artful infused spirits, and you’ll swear off the big national brands forever. Montauk Mai Tais, anyone??