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(Photo credit: Doug Young)

Have you ever heard of “Open That Bottle Night”? It was tarted by wine writers Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher, who created it while penning the weekly “Tastings” column for the Wall Street Journal. The idea was en masse to address the most common question they used to receive from readers: When do you open that special bottle of wine you’ve been saving? Their answer: This weekend.

The point being that special occasions aren’t just anniversaries or birthdays. Or, truthfully, even when a wine critic tells you it’s okay to open that bottle you’ve been saving, no matter how sound the advice. While yes, you should give some thought to how you store your wine. And it’s true that some wines really do not merely improve, but evolve in fascinating ways, with some age; it’s not an exact science. And, if you wait too long, you may miss its beauty entirely. 

With this Drinks issue of Northforker, we encourage you to seize the moment. It might be a milestone, like Brix & Rye’s 10th anniversary (can you believe it?). Greenport’s convivial cocktail den has been serving smiles and stellar drinks for a decade, and we were very happy to have veteran drinks writer Brett Moskowitz give us a glimpse into the magic of this special Greenport spot. Or it might be about celebrating the notion of starting over, like Charity Robey’s piece on the new lease on life recently given to Shelter Island Brewery, which softly re-launched with its former talented brewer, islander Billy Martin, at the helm. 

There’s a lot of talk in these pages (and, well, everywhere) about focusing on what’s local. It’s especially true in a community like ours where the history, present day and, hopefully, future affords us so many natural gifts. With an abundance of conveniences available to us these days, it’s even more important to support the businesses that build our communities. We don’t say that to wag a finger (hey, we all order stuff from Amazon) — we say it because there’s so much here that’s unique to the East End. With that in mind, we put together a loca-pour bar cart full of everything you could ever need to make a multitude of cocktails with spirits made right here in your own backyard — most with ingredients grown here, too. From single-malt whiskies, to mezcal-like mixables, our writer Sal Vaglica found gems that are sure to become your sipping staples. 

Staffers Chris Francescani and Nicholas Grasso did the hard work of finding great happy hours and breweries to hit up, and Long Island wine expert Lenn Thompson offers up a cache of crushable new-to-you wine grapes being grown here to give a swirl. We also have a great sit-down with winemaker Alie Shaper on her favorite things here on the North Fork. (Hot tip: if you need a fishmonger, she’s got a guy!)

We hope your cup will runneth over with this April issue of Northforker. We sure had a lot of fun putting it together. Pull up a chair and pop the cork on this, our annual Drinks issue, and hey, maybe grab that bottle of special stout or wine or whiskey you’ve been wondering when to open, find your favorite imbibing companion and raise a glass — to each other, to everything around us we’re so lucky to live near and to the perfect moment being now.

Cheers, North Forkers!