Channing Daughters Muscat de Boom
Long Island o’OldTymer Moonshine
Sag Harbor Rum
Sagaponacka Vodka COURTESY SAGAPONACKA DISTILLERY
Sag Harbor Rum
Sparkling Pointe Blanc de Blancs 2013
Wolffer Estate Gin
If those hard-to-buy-for friends and relatives are piling up in your imagination this holiday season, just remember: You’re not alone. The perennial battle of what to buy for whom rears its ugly head every December, seemingly without warning. This year, consider spending that hard-earned cash on some cool, interesting, and imminently local libations that will impress and please everyone on your holiday to-do list. The North and South Forks are home to more than one gift-friendly this year, and I’m thrilled to report that the options for spirit lovers are growing with each passing year. So get out there and grab a bottle for a friend (or even for yourself). ’Tis the season, after all.
Aquebogue and Jamesport orchard Woodside Orchards produces delicious and crisp hard ciders on tap, which they produce from their 28 varieties of apple. With the gift-giving season in mind, Woodside bottles some of its ciders in growlers to go (a glass jug filled with 4 pints worth of liquid). Tie a bow around the handle and gift away, or, if you prefer, buy a gift certificate and send your friend or family member on his merry way.
New this year, Sagaponack’s Wölffer Estate Vineyard now produces juniper-heavy pink gin with the help of their grapes. The spirit has enjoyed insane popularity and regularly toggles between sold-out and available—so if you can get your hands on it, you can lay claim to one of the most coveted gifts of the holiday season.
Sagaponack farmer Marilee Foster has collaborated with her brother Dean to create Sagaponacka Vodka, a spirit distilled from homegrown potatoes. The resulting liquor is rich, creamy, and almost sweet, owing to the high quality produce it comes from. If you’re on the hunt for this of-the-earth vodka, liquor stores from Southampton to Montauk are carrying it now, but act fast: It’s in limited supply.
And by moon, I mean moonshine. Once the provenance of bootleggers, moonshine has enjoyed a resurgence, in keeping with the American cocktail movement. Long Island o’OldTymer Moonshine nods cheekily to the past while incorporating a contemporary ethos. Corn for the spirit’s base is grown on Long Island, as are flavoring ingredients (honey, strawberry, apple). The Riverhead tasting room, where bottles are available for purchase, is open Thursdays through Mondays.
And a bottle of Sag Harbor’s very own “sipping rum,” a dark rum that’s flavored with spices and fruits. The owners of Sag Harbor Rum suggest you enjoy it neat, sans mixers, in order to let the spirit speak for itself. It’s available at most Hamptons retail locations, and East Hampton’s Domaine Franey also sells it online.
Give the Port lover in your life something way, way cooler with the 2015 Muscat de Boom from Channing Daughters in Bridgehampton. Skin-on Muscat Ottonel grapes are fermented with their skins on and then fortified with a neutral grape spirit. The result is an unctuous, sweet, grapey wine that can hold up to cheese or dessert. Production was limited—only 126 cases were made—so you’ll want to grab a bottle (online or in person) while you can.
Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends, the saying goes. Well, Sparkling Pointe is as close as Long Island comes to Champagne—and even my realest of real friends would be thrilled to receive a bottle of it. I’m partial to the 2013 Blanc de Blancs, a brioche-laden, weighty wine that is worth the somewhat substantial price tag (it retails for about $45). It’s cellar-worthy, too, so hand off a bottle to the wine-lover in your life for holidays to come.
If you’re more frugal in your gift-giving endeavors, don’t despair; Long Island wine country still has something to offer. Duck Walk, with property on both forks, makes a fun, flirtatious, blueberry “port,” a fortified dessert wine made with wild Maine blueberries. The wine is deep purple, thick, and pretty and will pair well with everything from Long Island duck to chocolate desserts. Bottles are 375 milliliters and, at an affordable $24.95 apiece, you may be able to sock one away for yourself, too. Available both online and at Duck Walk’s two Long Island wineries.
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