This journey is magnificent any time of the year, but in Autumn the North Fork of Long Island comes alive. Harvest season has a magic all its own – the changing of the colors and the flavors of the fall farmers markets.
For the longest time, pun intended, the East End of Long Island has been establishing its status as a globally significant wine region. It’s been 45 years since the Hargraves planted their first vines and it goes without saying that the current roster of 60 vineyards has earned its place in the world of viniculture. But that is a story for another day, now it’s time to talk spirits.
Spirits make amazing Holiday gifts!
Build a gift that will create lasting memories and always say The East End with every taste. The options are amazing:
- Beautiful bottles of specially crafted spirits, Cherrywood Smoked Malt, Rough Rider Straight Bourbon, Botanical Dry Gin
- Hard Apple Cider blended from jonagold, fuji, cameo, pink lady, elstar, granny smith, mutsu, pippin, rome or empire apples
- Specialty beers brewed by a husband and wife who share a labor of love and passion
- Moonshine that harkens back to prohibitions days; Apple Pie and Honey Infused
- Grappa and brandy from the couple who define sustainable farm to table
- Membership in a Brewery or Distillery Club
- A bookshelf of our favorite cocktail encyclopedias
- Create a custom spirit at a bespoke distillery and incubator
Read on to learn about all of these and more!
Prohibition Era Cocktails
The terroir that benefits our unique wine region has also given birth to a wide variety of beverages. Maybe the beginnings of today’s craft cocktails originated in the area’s bootleggers, smugglers and the up-island speakeasies they supplied.
During the 1920s, the high cost of imported alcohol limited its availability to the high society set and with that came a new class of mixed drinks including:
- Old Fashioned – here’s a short, sweet history of one of the world’s greatest cocktails
- Highball – simply half soda and half scotch, a tall glass and lots of semi-crushed ice
- Sazerac – It’s a New Orleans staple, a personal favorite and worthy of its own story . . .
- Sidecar – Harry’s Bar Paris called for Cognac, fresh lemon juice, crushed ice and a sugared rim
- Southside – Gin, lime juice, simple syrup and mint possibly from the Southside Sportsmen’s Club on Long Island
In December of 1933, the 21st Amendment repealed Prohibition. If not for the 21st Amendment, ‘moonshine’ and ’bathtub gin’ might be our only cocktail alternatives, although I have heard tales that cases of Canadian Club, sans any tax seals, found their way onto my grandfather’s Elco just off Great Kills in the Sandy Hook Bay.
Long Island Spirits
Located on the edge of the Long Island Sound, legend has it that the barn’s cupolas at Baiting Hollow were used to hang a lantern to signal if the coast was clear for rum runners to smuggle in their illicit hooch.
Three generations later the East End of Long Island would begin its own revolution. The complete restoration of the twin cupolas and the barn at Baiting Hollow’s Long Island Spirits would create a farm to bottle distiller tapping into the aquifer beneath the LI Pine Barren’s 100,000 acres.
A dedication to superior filtration and distillation – plus 5,000 acres of potato farms – will yield a super smooth and subtle vodka. LiV Vodka is delicious alone and equally at home with vermouth and olives, stirred never shaken! Your thoughts? Wonder why? Just ask . . .
East End Ciders
Rumor Mill Hard Cider
The Rumor Mill Tasting Rooms are at Bridge Lane in Mattituck & Lieb Cellars in Cutchogue. The cider is:
- A carefully selected blend of jonagold, fuji, cameo, pink lady, elstar, granny smith, mutsu, pippin, snow sweet, rome, and empire varieties all sourced from prominent orchards on the east end of Long Island.
- Pale lemon in color, this cider shows aromas of honey, baking dough, and cinnamon. The palate is light in body, crisp and tart with notes of citrus, green apple and touch of minerality.
Don’t skip the Brewery!
Moustache Brewing Co. in Riverhead was founded in 2012 by husband and wife team, Matthew and Lauri Spitz. With a beer portfolio that is constantly changing, they produce dozens of beer styles every year. Moustache Brewing independently produces quality beer brewed with love and ingenuity. The Long Island Press talks about MBC.
Moustache’s year-round beers are like your best friend – always there for you!
- Franco ‘Murica Saison Farmhouse Ale
- Milk + Honey Brown Ale
- DJ Night IPA
- Life of Leisure Pale Ale
- Lawn Cream Ale
- Everyman’s Porter Porter
Long Island Moonshine
Twin Stills Moonshine Distillery
Twin Stills is a 90 year tradition. Since 1926, it has been a fascinating story with roots in Portugal. It was a spirit like I have never tasted before, a spirit that would appeal to the mainstream of people who wanted a smooth drinkable shot, but wouldn’t send their taste pallets to another zip code.
Moonshine available in Riverhead:
- 100 Proof Moonshine
- OldTymer Whiskey – LI Corn Aged in American White Oak
- Apple Pie Moonshine
- Honey Moonshine – infused with LI Honey
Join The Shine Club, and help Twin Stills Moonshine Distillery perfect their seasonal batch.
Shinn Estate VineyardsShinn Estate Vineyards in Mattituck features:
- Eau de Vie – Double distilled brandy, copper alembic still, aged in Cabernet Franc barrels. Aromas of sweet red cherry blossoms, honeysuckle, and fresh mint.
- Shinn Shine – Shine is our grappa produced from Chardonnay and distilled in our copper alembic still. It shows intense varietal character, concentrated apples, pears, and anise.
Barbara Shinn and David Page arrived on the North Fork with a farm-to-table sensibility, a talent for marketing, and a desire to push Long Island wine production in a new direction. Shinn Estate succeeded in making excellent wine, putting Long Island on the map as a destination for sustainable wine. But they didn’t just succeed at making wine. Their oasis of sustainability has bled out into the culture more generally. Today, after 17 years in the business, their methods have become mainstream. Ideas like organic growing, biodynamics and a focus on terroir are now everyday concepts.
Barbara Shinn is the founder of the Long Island Sustainable Wine.
Matchbook Distilling Company
Located in Greenport, Matchbook Distilling Company is a full-scale, at-your-service, bespoke distillery and incubator. We work with our clients to create the custom spirits they dream up, always prioritizing the science, tradition, anthropology and agriculture that make the art of alcohol so special.
Whether you’re a chef or restauranteur, bartender or retailer, farmer or entrepreneur — or simply an enthusiast with a cool idea — we can create a customized option especially for you.
Lagniappe [lan-yap]: Cajun for a little something extra
Some of our favorite Cocktail Books!
- Mix Shake Stir
- The Art of The Bar
- Schillers Liquor Bar
- Ultimate Bar Book
- The PDT
- Liquid Intelligence
- Waldorf Astoria Bar Book
- The Savoy Cocktail Book
- Harrys Bar
- The Stork Club Bar Book
- Hollywood Cocktails
- Meet Me at The Bar
See you at the bar and let’s compare notes on our favorite spirits! Call us or email us to book your stay.