Ninety-nine percent of the time, if you see me with a drink in my hand, it’s either a hard-to-find craft beer or a delicious glass of red wine. For better or for worse, I am a creature of habit when it comes to alcohol. But recently, I’ve been stepping outside of my comfort zone and trying out various alcohol-based cocktails that scream, “Summer’s Here!”
With so many deliciously sweet drinks to choose from on cocktail menus everywhere, I started to wonder what everyone else was drinking this summer. So, I reached out to some well-known bartenders over on Fire Island to see what they’ve been serving up all season long.
1. Bloody Marys
The Kismet Inn, Kismet
Erin Whalberg, a long-time bartender at The Inn, says that she gets asked for Bloody Marys more than anything else. “We’ve been making them forever and people say that ours are the best they’ve ever had,” she laughs. The recipe is pretty straightforward, but the amounts aren’t really measurable. “It’s just one of those things that you have to feel as you’re making it,” she says.
- A shot of vodka
- Lemon juice
- Add ice
- Celery salt and pepper
- Fill glass with Sacramento tomato juice
Pour vodka, lemon juice, and Worcestershire into a tall glass. Add ice. Sprinkle with some celery salt and pepper. Fill glass with tomato juice. Spoon in a very generous amount of horseradish and vigorously mix everything together with a bar spoon.
Maguire’s Bayfront Restaurant, Ocean Beach
Over at Maguire’s, the most popular drink to enjoy out on the deck as the sun sets is The Sundowner. Dave L., the Bar Manager, says it’s been on the menu for two years now and it has quickly become a favorite among their customers. Using fresh basil from their garden, this light, refreshing cocktail is a great alternative to heavier, sweeter drinks.
- A handful of basil leaves
- ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Splash of simple syrup
- 1 ½ ounces Grapefruit Vodka
- Soda water
Place basil leaves in the glass and lightly muddle them. Toss ice on top. Then add lemon juice, a splash of simple syrup, and grapefruit vodka. Top with soda water.
3. Rum Punch
Castaway Bar & Grill, Ocean Beach
Katherine “Kat” Peters, a Fire Island resident and local bartender, says that “although we didn’t make up the recipe, we serve a ton of Rum Punches.” Visitors to the island enjoy the icy cold treat that’s made with a series of five different rums. This summery drink is “heavy on the alcohol” and packs quite a punch. No pun intended.
- 1 part Malibu Rum
- 1 part Captain Morgan Rum
- 1 part Mount Gay Rum
- 1 part Bacardi Limon Rum
- 1 part cranberry juice
- 1 part pineapple juice
- 1 part orange juice
- 1 part Myer’s Rum
Using a 1:1 ratio, pour the first seven ingredients over ice and stir well. Top with a floater of Myer’s Rum.
4. Loaded Coronas
Flynn’s, Ocean Bay Park
At Flynn’s, fun frozen drinks “like margaritas, mojitos, and rocket fuels” rule the roost. But, Luke LaPenna, a seasoned employee and Fire Island local, says that in addition to those fan favorites, two newer ones have recently caught on: “The Loaded Corona,” which is a fast take on a beer cocktail, and the more elegant, rum-based “Flynntini” made with honey and coconut.
A Loaded Corona
- 1 bottle of Corona
- 1 shot of Bacardi Limon
Crack open a cold Corona. Drop a shot of Bacardi Limon into it. Serve ice cold.
Flynn’s, Ocean Bay Park
- 2 ounces Malibu Coconut Rum
- 1 ounce Cruzan Pineapple Rum
- 1 ounce Pineapple Juice
Shake ingredients hard over ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass with a honeyed rim dipped in toasted coconut. Garnish with a slice of pineapple.