Six Ways to Sip Your Way to the Tropics
Take a page out of Mary Poppins’ book: there’s no better medicine than a good rum punch, especially
on a sunny summer afternoon when an impulsive jet to a palm- fringed heaven is on the mind. Well, the Hamptons may not have coconut trees, but what it lacks in tropical foliage it makes up for in drinks galore. Throw a few back, and you’ll be in the southern reaches of the Pacific in no time.
Nick & Toni’s (136 North Main St., East Hampton)
Tuscan restaurant Nick & Toni’s may be East Hampton’s beacon of off-duty celebrity culture, with movie stars and business behemoths coming for chardonnay and seared scallops in the front dining room, where reservations are all near impossible if you don’t have at least a few public figures in your phone book.
But never mind all the hoo-ha about its clientele. Nick & Toni’s attracts stars for a reason: its fare is simple yet unsurpassable in quality (true to Tuscan form), and it’s discreet. If you find yourself ordering a second Meyer lemon cosmopolitan before you even make it through your zucchini chips, the service won’t blink an eye. There may be Prince Edward Island mussels and crab bucatini with fennel pollen, but there are also spicy margaritas and the Campari-mixed pineapple rum punch, the Jungle Bird. The finest of fare, the most fun of drinks – is it any wonder why Martha Stewart loves this place?
Lynn’s Hula Hut (426 West Lake Dr., Montauk)
Formerly a tiki cocktail caterer in the East End, pulling up in a mobile thatched- roof drink truck to enliven parties and events around the Hamptons, Lynn Calvo is something of a local legend when it comes to summer drinking culture. But after years of traveling the world and the Hamptons both, she finally settled down to open Montauk’s first tiki bar in 2012 on the shores of Lake Montauk, and it has remained something of a best-kept-secret since.
Depending on the time of day, Lynn’s Hula Hut will have you relaxing in a hammock with comrades of Buddha statues in the garden, throwing back oysters at the evening raw bar, building your own bagel sandwiches and Bloody Marys, or shimmying to live music under the stars. Flower-adorned cocktails make good use of organic herbs from the on-site garden, local fruits and vegetables, and premium liquors, lessening the hangover of when you’ve had one to many Hula Juices or Brazilian Breezers.
Rhum (13 East Main St., Patchogue)
Any time of year, sun or snow, Carribbean culture can be found alive and well in Patchogue at Rhum, where bright tropical colors, jerk spices, and not an ounce of pretense are sure to put you in an island frame of mind no matter what the time of year. In summer, take to the rooftop, where a bar serves up tiki drinks galore and seating comes as photogenic swings.
With the laid-back tunes and positive vibes, it’s an easy place to while the hours away, but luckily, there’s everything from ginger- glazed steaks and Cajun-grilled fish to fried plantains and award-winning key lime pie to provide a much-needed interlude between happy hour – which gets you a glass of the generously-poured Rum Punch for $5 – and nighttime, when the dance parties get going under the stars.
Beach Club at Gurney’s Montauk (290 Old Montuak Hwy., Montauk)
Ffteen minutes east down the Montuak shoreline is the Beach Club at Gurney’s Montauk, where the whitewashed villas and yacht-filled docks of the Club are swapped out for curtained cabanas, umbrella-shaded daybeds, and clientele that’s more apt to day drink than fare the high seas. Book in advance to make sure you have a spot with your name on it (the cabanas are coveted), then post up to spend a day on the 2,000-foot-long stretch of private white sands.
Gurney’s Punch may be the namesake tipple, rich with rum and coconut cream, but if you’d rather have a dose of vitamin C to go with the sea, choose instead the easy-to-sip pineapple mojito, then kick back and people watch the day away.
Gurney’s Montauk Yacht Club & Resort (32 Star Island Rd., Montauk)
will give you a sweet stomach- full and a buzz, making it the ideal sunset drink to tide you over to dinner. Formerly the iconic concoction of Cyril’s Fish House, a plastic-chair Montauk institution that closed in 2016, it was resurrected by Gurney’s Montauk Yacht Club & Resort, where it now lives on in tall glasses topped with whipped cream and sipped in front of unfettered Montauk Lake views from the club’s private waterfront bar.Whether you’re extending the relaxation of a spa treatment at the resort, or you’re popping by for a classy end to a day at the beach, this frozen concoction will serve as the smooth snack you’re after.
The Montauk Beach House (55 South Elmwood Ave., Montuak)
Last but not least, there’s the Pain Killer – the classic rum concoction that serves equally well as a way to get a night going and as a hair-of-the-dog from too much booze the night before. While this combo of rum, pineapple and orange juices, and cream of coconut doesn’t even warrant a menu listing at most spots for its unspoken inclusion on the list, you will find it at The Montuak Beach House, where it’s done up with the freshest juices and a spiced rum that adds a kick to all the saccharine citrus.
Sip it poolside at this staple summer spot, where DJs, art and fashion pop- ups, and consistently good times hold court throughout the season.