By Merle Exit
Secret Summer, billed as the country’s only farm-to-bar cocktail festival, gave a sneak peek into the party, which will be held Aug. 12 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Foundry, in Long Island City.
Farm-to-bar is similar to the farm-to-table movement used at many restaurants.
Cocktails are being prepared with raw, seasonal ingredients sourced from Queens farms and paired with spirits such as whiskey, vodka, rum, gin and even beer for a “mixology” experience.
The Foundry is a fully restored 19th century building at 42-38 9th St. with 3,000 square feet of space, a lush outdoor courtyard and great views of the Manhattan skyline. There will be three areas: a greenhouse atrium, a totally indoor space, and the huge outdoor garden. Lots of seating is available, as they expect a huge crowd of about 1,000. The indoor area has a second floor of tables and chairs.
“Man vs. Food” host Casey Webb will be judging the best cocktail at this year’s event. In addition, Ravel and the exclusive pool club Profundo will host the event’s “Official After Party,” so all attendees will be granted access with their Secret Summer wristband to dance and swim under the moonlight.
Five spirit companies were shaking up their cocktails at this preview. A heavy favorite was one from Blue Point Brewing Company with its Secret Summer Cocktail: Salted Plum Gose-arita, which consists of 1.25 oz. Tanteo jalapeño tequila, .75 oz. Umeshu Plum Wine, 0.5 oz. lemon juice, 1 tsp plum preserves, 1 pinch of salt, with Blue Point Beach Plum Gose, a lime wheel and mint leaf garnish with optional Ume served in a glass with a salted rim.
Suntory had its version of a Secret Summer Cocktail: The Toki highball — or “haibo-ru” in Japanese — is an artful blend of Suntory Whisky Toki and super sparkling water over a generous serving of crystal clear ice. A second drink, Tasogore Toki Twilight, was also served. It consists of Toki Whiskey, sparkling water, Bernard Ranches’ Sustainably Crown Grapefruit and Crystal Clear on Ice from a carved block.
The Earl of Wight is a cocktail that brings together three ingredients; a summer fruit, the unique botanicals of Brockman’s Gin and English roots. Apricot, local to both this region and to the Isle of Wight in England, plays well with the fruit and citrus notes of the gin. The Earl Grey tea brings about the floral nose in Brockman’s and Amaro Montenegro is more of a fruit punch.
Brugal Rum’s Secret Summer Cocktail is a Spicy Mai Tai of: 1.5 Brugal Extra Dry, .75 lime juice, .75 homemade almond Orgeat Syrup from the Finger Lakes, .25 Andrew’s rooftop Honey (NYC), a dash of Shaquanda Hot Sauce from Brooklyn and Honey Syrup and hot sauce cooked together. A second cocktail, Charred Cherry Highball, is offered. That consists of: 1.5 Brugal 1888 or Anejo, .25 Sour Cherry Cordial with Charred cherries, .25 cinnamon demerara, cherries and cinnamon syrup cooked together and topped with Fentiman’s cola. Alli Torres is responsible for the creations.
Hangar I Vodka features a rose spritzer and lavender lemonade. A Hanging Herb Wall will encourage guests to choose their favorite herbs to complete their cocktails.
Food vendors will be available, although not included in the price of the ticket, where you can sample tastes from exhibitors such as Areppas. Choripan will offer a classic Argentinian sandwich or handcrafted beef and pork sausage served on a club roll with chimichurri, lettuce and tomatoes. Sophie’s Cuban, and Wisefish Poke will be on hand to satisfy everyone’s appetites. Pizza from Sanmatteo Pizzeria will have a wood fire oven in the garden as proprietor Fabio Casellas offers two types of slices. Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream will offer seasonal flavors, cross pollinating a rum-flavored cream with Brugal 1888.
Entertainment will be provided by Shakespeare in the Park’s “Othello” star Chukwudi Iwuji, performers Sitar & Tabla, Hungry March Band, DJ Kieren Taylor, Kaoro Wantanabe Taiko Drums and Moon Hooch.
You will also have the opportunity to meet Secret Summer Event Producers Tyler Hollinger, Andy Maturana and Allison Du Val.
“We celebrate amazing cocktails that are locally grown, sustainable, organic, seasonal and delicious,” said Hollinger. “The ingredients are from local farms and orchards. Fresh beets will be featured in one of the drinks. This festival is a chance for the public to get tickets for what is usually a private event.”
For tickets and further information go to. www.secre