We’re not sure why, but we know you’re not supposed to wear white after Labor Day. Best guess? If they’re anything like us too many cookouts ended with early era fashionistas dumping beer, barbecue sauce, and Kahlua all over their precious pantaloons. That’s why we’re so excited this year to leave the club soda at home and show up to the party with some pre-made cocktails straight from one of the area’s favorite breweries — no muddling or messy mixing required!
While Southern Tier Brewing Co. (STB) isn’t a Hudson Valley exclusive, it is very well received here, in no small part to its quality but also likely receiving a healthy boost from local graduates’ familiarity with the region. You can find the brewery’s suds on tap in craft beer halls throughout Westchester, and its variety packs are hot commodities at many local grocery stores and beer distributers. You’ve probably tried their IPAs, and STB’s Pumking Imperial Ale is the Pumpkin Spice Latte of the beer-drinking world. In 2015, the company branched out and created Southern Tier Distilling Co., a farm-to-glass distillery where 90% of the ingredients are sourced directly from local farmers
The company has produced their own lines of whiskeys, vodkas, gins, and even rum, but the big draw is pre-mixed canned cocktails that are perfect for the beach, backyard, or even just a particularly difficult Tuesday. Coming in between 8% and 10% ABV, each can is refreshing and with just a little more kick than your average American beer.
Bourbon Smash weighs in the heaviest at 10% ABV — about one 1.5 oz shot per 12oz can — but certainly doesn’t taste it. Southern Tier’s straight bourbon whiskey (well, bourbon–style) is blended with ginger, mint, and lemon and lightly carbonated seltzer. Think of it like a very light, easily down-able whiskey-ginger.
Clocking in at 8% ABV is the classic Gin & Tonic. The standard G&T is augmented with hints of cucumber and elderflower for a fruity, floral finish that pairs well with light foods like sandwiches or snacks, but we could easily have a pitcher of this over some ribs and not bat an eye.
Our office favorite, however, was hands-down STDC’s Vodka Madras, also 8% by volume. We’re not going to lie, this can drinks like a delicious fruit punch. The distillery’s small batch vodka is mixed with cranberry juice, orange juice, lime, and touches of both chamomile and cardamom. Lightly carbonated, it’s fantastic over ice. We poured ours into a large wine glass like sangria and tossed a couple slices of lemon and lime as a garnish.
All three cocktails officially hit the market in July, and retail for about $14.99 per four-pack. If you’re looking to score some yourself, Tarrytown’s Destination Wine & Liquor and Westchester Wine Warehouse in White Plains are among the first retailers in the state who will be carrying them. Snag a few today and you’ll be sitting pretty and clean over the holiday weekend. (Still might want to pack a stain stick just in case. We make no promises as to condiments.)