Restaurants and liquor stores boast famous spirits from all over the world, but some of the best stuff on earth is locally inspired and distilled right here on the East End. Whether you prefer rum, whiskey, gin, or vodka, it’s likely that there’s a local brand to fulfill your desires. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a nice drink on the beach or at the bar, these East End spirits are perfect to enjoy all year long!
Long Island Spirits is the lone craft distillery on Long Island. Located in Baiting Hollow, the operation is a unique farm-to-bottle, hand-crafted distillery that is surrounded by 5,000 acres of potato farms. In addition to their own brand, LiV Vodka, Long Island Spirits also distills four other brands’ liquor: Pine Barrens, Deepwells, Rough Rider and Sorbetta.
LiV Vodka (80 proof) is Long Island Spirits’ brand name vodka. Made using local Marcy russet potatoes, LiV has a distinctive vanilla nose with a creamy texture. The Ristretto Espresso Vodka (80 proof) is made by blending LiV with natural barista selected espresso. It creates a bold dark chocolate taste with the warm decadence of coffee.
For gin and whiskey connoisseurs, Pine Barrens has an American Single Malt Whiskey and a Barrel Reserve Botanical Dry Gin. The 94-proof gin, with hints of zesty tangerine and lemon meringue, uses water from the glacial aquifer buried deep below the Long Island Pine Barrens. The 95 proof spicy, velvet smooth American Single Malt Whiskey is the first of its kind to be distilled on Long Island. The whiskey has faint notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, and caramel. Try Pine Barrens’ Cherrywood Smoked Malt whisky for a sweet aroma and smoky taste.
Another LI Spirit product is Deepwells Botanical Dry Gin. Made with locally harvested White Round Marcy potatoes, this 94 proof Botanical Dry Gin is infused with 28 fruits and botanicals.
Rough Rider Whisky and Bourbon are further spirit offerings from the folks at LI Spirits. The Happy Warrior Cask Strength Bourbon is hand bottled straight from the cask at 114 proof and then packaged into six-bottle cases. Rough Rider Straight Bourbon Whisky (90 proof) is aged bourbon with hints of fresh juice, blackberry and currant, along with caramel and burnt sugar. The Bull Moose Three Barrel Rye Whisky (90 proof) is distilled with a unique three barrel aging method, providing fruity sweetness on the nose with spice on the palate. The Big Stick is Rough Riders’ strongest rye at 121 proof. It is made from locally harvested winter rye and blends spice and malty sweetness.
Long Island Spirits’ Sorbetta line offers the first gluten-free, potato-based liqueurs to be available in the United States. The fresh taste of these liqueurs comes from hand peeled and macerated fresh fruits mixed with Ultra Premium LiV Vodka, which is used as the base. The line includes five flavors—lemon, lime, orange, raspberry and strawberry.
Inspired by tales of rum runners burying barrels of the liquor in the Montauk dunes during prohibition, the family-owned and operated Hampton Rum Company set out to bring rum back to Montauk. Their American made Montauk Rum comes in four varieties. SunBurn, a 70 proof cinnamon-flavored rum, is a warm and tangy treat for the tongue and taste buds, and is a great complement to a day at the beach. Bellamy spiced rum (70 proof) is named for the English pirate “Black Sam” Bellamy, the richest pirate in history. This rum is infused with Caribbean flavors. Silver Siren white rum (80 proof) is clear and delivers a clean flavor perfect for mixing or sipping. For those who prefer their drinks straight, there is Black Sail aged rum (80 proof), which has more character and flavor than its mixing counterpart. Montauk Rum is available at Montauk staples like Gurney’s, The Sloppy Tuna and Dock’s Bar and Grill, as well as at various liquor stores. For more information, check out hamptonrum.com.
Montauk Rumrunners is family owned and operated in Montauk by descendants of the family who ran The Roadside Restaurant in old Montauk during Prohibition. Their Coconut Flavored Rum (60 proof) has a touch of sweetness with an exceptionally smooth finish. It can be enjoyed over ice, with cola, or in cocktails. The 80 proof Honey Flavored Whiskey is hand crafted with real honey to produce a smooth flavor that’s not too strong and not too sweet. Rumrunner Citrus Flavored Gin has a refreshing taste of citrus and juniper that goes well with tonic or cranberry juice. Go to montaukrumrunners.com for more details and to find locations that sell Rumrunners liquor near you.
Handcrafted on the East End, Sag Harbor Rum (80 proof) has a distinctive taste that results from infusions of spices, fruits, and natural flavors. It’s an unusually smooth “sipping rum” for drinking neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails. This rum is widely available in East End restaurants, such as Il Capuccino in Sag Harbor and Bay Kitchen & Bar in East Hampton. Head to sagharborrum.com for to find out where you can get your own bottle.
New to the market is Wölffer Gin, now available at the celebrated Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack. Distilled onsite from Wölffer’s own rosé wine, this unique gin is flavored with juniper berries harvested from bushes right in front of the winery. After distilling and flavoring, an extract of grape skins is added to give the gin a pink tinge. Visit wolffer.com for more information.
Available in the Hamptons and on the North Fork, Keith’s Nervous Breakdown Ultra Premium Margarita Mix is made in small batches with fruit sourced from the finest local growers. Keith’s mix is sweetened with a touch of agave nectar rather than with high fructose corn syrup, which is used by most other brands. Sold at the Golden Pear Café’s many locations, Keith’s Nervous Breakdown has a unique Pomegranate Cranberry flavor that creates an extraordinary taste experience. Visit nervousbreakdown.com to discover where you can get Keith’s mix to make your own margarita, or for where you can order it at bar or restaurant.