Dan’s Taste of Summer Countdown: Kimberly Sarris Royal & Kate Sarris, Montauk Rumrunners

Montauk Rumrunners
Courtesy Montauk Rumrunners

Dan’s Papers newest Taste of Summer event, ClambakeMTK at Gurney’s Montauk, premieres on Saturday, July 30. It will be the largest oceanfront food and drink fest ever to hit Montauk. Montauk Rumrunners was started by two locals, sisters Kimberly Sarris Royal and Kate Sarris, in 2014. Many of the chefs at this tasting event, including Seamore’s Michael Chernow, already have Montauk Rumrunners products on their menus. ClambakeMTK patrons will be able to sample Montauk Rumrunners popular coconut-flavored rum at the event. Their other offerings include honey whiskey and citrus gin.

What fuels your creativity as a spirits maker?
Montauk Rumrunners is a small local family business inspired by Montauk’s rich rum running history during Prohibition and our family’s participation in its distribution. Our great grandmother ran the Roadside Restaurant—which we’re told was less of a restaurant and more of a bar—in the old Montauk Fishing Village during Prohibition. This fuels our creativity as a spirits maker in so many ways, but first and foremost it fuels our desire to make really good locally produced spirits with local ingredients that we want to enjoy in our back yard with family and friends. We like to think we’re keeping the family business alive and we hope our grandparents would be proud.

What local ingredients are you using?
Our honey whiskey and gin are made from local New York corn sourced from Corwin Farms on Long Island, which is owned and operated by Timothy Corwin Jr. & Dana Behr who have their own rich family history hailing from a long line of farmers on the East End. For our honey whiskey, we’re also in the process of harvesting our own honey with the help of Deb Klughers of Bonac Bees. We’re passionate about keeping bees and inspired by Deb’s fearlessness in tending to them with no suit or gloves! Seriously, this woman is fierce! We hope to incorporate our honey for our next batch of whiskey in the fall.

Which of your products would you most like to serve to another spirits maker?
We’re really proud of all of our spirits, so it’s hard to pick one.

What is your local beverage, or cocktail, of choice this season?
There are so many! Just to name a few: we absolutely love the Southside cucumber gin that Nick at the Montauk Beach House makes with Montauk Rumrunners Citrus Gin. Sushil at the Hideaway also makes a killer watermelon gin with Montauk Rumrunners Citrus Gin. Muse makes a great rum punch with Montauk Rumrunners Coconut Rum. West Lake Fish House also makes a really refreshing strawberry mojito with Montauk Rumrunners Coconut Rum. And Almond Restaurant makes a phenomenal whiskey punch with Montauk Rumrunners Honey Whiskey.

Do you use any of your products in cooking?
Well, we’re mostly barbequing in the summer and generally enjoying a homemade cocktail with one of our spirits, so I guess you could say that we use all of our products while cooking! We’re not great cooks, but Carolyn Stec from the Mill House Inn in East Hampton has made some truly delicious concoctions with our spirits. A few of our favorites were chocolate fudge and smoked whiskey caramels with Montauk Rumrunners Honey Whiskey inside, caramel covered popcorn with Montauk Rumrunners Honey Whiskey and coconut macarons with Montauk Rumrunners Coconut Rum.

Has the gluten-free eating/drinking trend affected your product line at all?
Our spirits are made from local New York corn (whiskey & gin) and molasses (rum), so they are naturally gluten-free.

What’s your favorite pairing of local spirits and food?
I said we aren’t the best cooks, but we like a good meal that we can make simply. A favorite summer pairing would be Greenport Harbor Brewing Company’s Beehave Summer Ale and some steamed lobster from The Amagansett Seafood Shop. We love owner Mike and he recently became a fan of Montauk Rumrunners Coconut Rum!

What are some of your favorite East End restaurants?
So many we can’t choose!

What’s the next frontier in Long Island spirits making?
We think there will be a continued focus on locally made products with local ingredients. This isn’t by any means a new frontier, but we think this trend is still growing. We hope people will continue to consider where the products they purchase are being made and what they are being made with. There are a few spirits out there with “Hamptons” branding that are not made or sourced anywhere near Long Island.

What are you most looking forward to at the Montauk Dan’s Taste of Summer Event?
Free drinks! Just kidding, we’re excited to be a sponsor for Dan’s ClambakeMTK on July 30 at Gurney’s. Actually, we’ll be giving out free drinks, so make sure you come to say hello and sip our spirits. We’re most looking forward to meeting new people, snacking on clams, of course, and giving out some new swag in the VIP bags. Our new trucker hats are in the shop at montaukrumrunners.com.

What new facts have you learned about Montauk recently?
Our interest in the history of Montauk, particularly during Prohibition, is bordering on obsession. Even back then, Montauk was a summer destination for the rich and famous and our imaginations go into overdrive thinking about the extravagant parties that must have taken place at Carl Fisher’s Star Island Casino. Did you know there was a casino there? That was one of the fun facts we read about recently in Dan’s Papers and it makes us wonder whether Montauk has really changed or if the current interest in Montauk today is maybe just a resurgence of the past.

Please complete this sentence: I could survive on a desert island if I just had:
All we need is a liquid diet—“yo-ho-ho and a bottle of our rum!” Hopefully we are stuck on a desert island with chef Jeremy Blutstein, he sure knows how to harvest the bounty. Have you ever dined at East by Northeast? That actually doesn’t sound too shabby.

If I got a tattoo tomorrow, it would depict:
This is Kate. My sister Kim and I don’t currently have any tattoos (we think our dad would kill us), but I’ve actually been trying to convince Kim that we should get mermaid tattoos like the mermaids on our Montauk Rumrunners Citrus Gin logo.

What would you like to share with our readers that I have not thought to ask you about?
A huge thank you to take the time to find out more about us. We appreciate all the good vibes and support. Follow us on instagram @montaukrumrunners for photos of old and new and to stay current with our events. Cheers!

Dan’s Taste of Summer kicks off with Dan’s GrillHampton hosted by Adam Richman on Friday, July 22 and continues on Saturday, July 23, with Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company hosted by Alex Guarnaschelli and Katie Lee, both on the waterfront at Fairview Farm at Mecox in Bridgehampton. VIP tickets for GrillHampton are $185 and offer early access to the event beginning at 7 p.m. General Admission, from 8 p.m.–10:30 p.m., is $135. VIP tickets for Taste of Two Forks are $295 and offer early access beginning at 6:30 p.m. General Admission, from 7:30 p.m.–10 p.m., is $185.

The oceanfront food and drink fest ClambakeMTK at Gurney’s Montauk hosted by Marc Murphyand Eden Grinshpan premieres on Saturday, July 30. General Admission for ClambakeMTK, from 7:30 p.m.–10 p.m., is $150. VIP tickets are $250, and include access to the after-party from 10 p.m.–12 a.m.

Dan’s Harvest East End, the can’t-miss food and wine classic, hosted by Geoffrey Zakarian, is Saturday, August 20, at McCall Vineyard and Ranch in Cutchogue. VIP tickets for Harvest East End are $285 and offer early access beginning at 6:30 p.m. General Admission, from 7:30 p.m.–10 p.m., is $135.

A portion of this year’s ticket proceeds from GrillHampton and Taste of Two Forks will benefit All For The East End (AFTEE), a 501(c)(3) that showcases and provides support to the more than 1,000 charity organizations in the five East End towns. A portion of proceeds from Harvest East End benefits Long Island Farm Bureau and HRHCare.

To purchase tickets and get more info on all Dan’s Taste of Summer events, visit DansTasteofSummer.com!

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