Farm-to-cocktail: The latest way to enjoy local bounty

The bloody Mary at LIV is made with local horseradish. (Credit: David Benthal)

It’s no secret that locally sourced farm-to-table food defines the culinary scene on the North Fork. 

With dozens of farms growing diverse and delicious produce it makes sense that chefs have embraced all the area has to offer in the dishes they prepare at their restaurants. Farm-to-glass is also an important part of the North Fork experience — and not just in the grapes pressed into wine or the hops harvested into beer. Farm-fresh cocktails are also on the rise.

Mixologists are taking cues from farm stands when shaping seasonal drink menus, using everything from horseradish to lavender to peaches to make their recipes stand out from the pre-mixed, run-of-the-mill cocktails you can find just about anywhere. 

“Our menu and our cocktails are seasonally inspired by what’s going on in the ground,” said Paul Mejia, beverage manager at Bruce & Son in Greenport. “It is important to have wholesome ingredients. It adds an extra level of care and tastes better, while providing a connection to the land that enhances the food.” 

Here are three farm-to-cocktails to check out before the season fades.

Sparkling Peach Sangria at Bruce & Son 

• 2015 Sparkling Pointe Brut 

• Fresh peach juice 

• Freshly squeezed lemon juice 

• Local honey 

• Local ginger 

• Elderflower liquor 

Bruce & Son is known for its farm-to-table menu, which includes suggested pairings with the craft drink selections Mejia curates for the changing seasons. He takes a holistic approach to his made-to-order cocktails, ensuring they are free from artificial preservatives and stabilizers. 

“August is all about refreshing drinks,” he said. “It is hot and humid, so people want something that is not so heavy. The peach sangria is balanced in flavor, with tartness from the lemon juice and a natural, refined sweetness from the peaches and a touch of floral with the elderflower. The ginger gives the right amount of spice … And the brut provides effervescence. It is bright.”

Bruce & Son is located at 208 Main St., Greenport; bruceandsongreenport.com

The Lavender Fields at Anker 

• Gin 

• Freshly squeezed lemon juice 

• Lavender syrup (house-made with flowers from Lavender by the Bay in East Marion)

• Egg white

• Angostura bitters

• Club soda

Greenport’s recently opened Anker is rooted in an appreciation for exceptional ingredients and clean, bright flavors. Chef Wolfgang Ban’s menu emphasizes North Fork farms, fisheries and provisions in everything from its desserts to its cocktails. 

“We wanted a refreshing, effervescent gin cocktail and landed on a Silver Fizz — a classic Gin Fizz with egg white,” said lead bartender Alfie Ong. “The floral notes in the fresh lavender play nicely with the botanical distinction of the gin. The fresh-squeezed lemon juice adds a good balance, while the egg white and seltzer make it lively and refreshing. Just right for a summer day on the Peconic Bay.”

Anker is located at 47 Front St., Greenport; anker47.com

Bloody Mary at Long Island Spirits

• LIV potato vodka

• House-made spice blend 

• Freshly squeezed lemon juice 

• Worcestershire sauce

• Backyard Brine pickle juice 

• Holy Schmitt’s Horseradish 

• Tomato juice 

The Bloody Mary at Long Island Spirits starts with locally produced potato vodka. The Marcy Round white potatoes at the base of the spirit are sourced from the Lewin and Rottkamp farms, both located within five miles of the distillery. Long Island Spirits offers many seasonal cocktails at its Baiting Hollow tasting room, but the Bloody Mary, made with horseradish from Schmitt’s Farm in Riverhead and pickle juice from Backyard Brine in Cutchogue, is a year-round staple. 

“The pickle juice gives a little extra depth to the flavor,” said tasting room manager Alicia Miller, who helped develop the recipe. “It is so important that the lemon juice is freshly squeezed. The pre-bottled ones in the store don’t cut it because it’s too acidic. Combined with the Holy Schmitt’s Horseradish, it is the perfect blend of not-too-spicy. It is all about balance between tartness, spiciness and briny/peppery flavors. We always make a lot Sunday mornings, but people drink it throughout the day.” 

Long Island Spirits is located at 2182 Sound Ave., Baiting Hollow; lispirits.com