Summer heat has given way to crisp air on the North Fork, that means it’s harvest time. And one of the best ways to enjoy the fresh bounty is in a glass. We’re not talking about spiced candles in a Mason jar, either.
At Southold’s North Fork Shack, owner and mixologist Samy Sabil mulls the last days of August to sow the seeds for the fall cocktail menu. Farmers and their bounty foretell the seasonal list even before autumn takes hold. “Sometimes I’ll get a text message on a Monday that one of the local farms has an abundance of something and we’ll put it on the menu by Wednesday,” Sabil explained. “Our whole restaurant is built on the concept of keeping it as local as we can. There is no set list…Sometimes it changes on a weekly or monthly basis—it depends on how the cocktails do. If it’s doing well, we can keep it as long as we can get those ingredients.”
North Fork Shack’s Breeze Hill is one cocktail that fits the bill. It’s an autumn-infused twist on a classic mimosa that trades store bought orange juice for fresh-pressed apple cider from the neighboring farm in Peconic that is the potion’s namesake. It’s this farm-to-glass freshness that makes the drink a cut above. In fact, Sabil hasn’t made a cocktail with something that comes from a bottle since opening The Shack in 2016. “There is something to be said about using fresh juices. You can get juices from any store but many times they’ve been on the shelf for too long. Breeze Hill doesn’t use any preservatives, it’s very fresh.”
Sabil paired the cider with another North Fork favorite: a dry Sparkling Pointe Brut. The effervescent wine’s bright golden color and aromas of lemon rind, delicious apple and ripe pear is a standout all its own. When paired, it elevates the cider, complementing the autumnal cocktail with crispness, complexity and toasty finish. The sweet and tart combo is the epitome of fall in a glass. “There’s something poetic about growing something five miles away, bringing it here and using it for a drink or a dish. It’s romantic.”
The Breeze Hill
4 oz Breeze Hill Farm apple cider
4 oz Sparkling Pointe Brut
House made crystalized apple wedge for garnish (optional)
Add cider to chilled Sparkling Pointe Brut in a flute glass and garnish with crystalized apple wedge.
Crystalized apple wedge: cook triangular cuts of Granny Smith apple in simple syrup on stovetop for 10 minutes. Remove from liquid, bake for 5 minutes at 325 degrees and cool.