4th of July Cocktail

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4th of July Cocktail

After berry picking last week, we were faced with the task of using up the massive pile of raspberries we brought home with us. There's nothing like a cocktail with fresh fruit in the summer, and for me one of the first things that came to mind was a Clover Club - a gin sour that incorporates raspberry syrup. Our version uses fresh raspberries as well. You can definitely make it a 4th of July cocktail by garnishing it with some blueberries!

Here's what you'll need:

2 oz gin
3/4 oz lemon juice
1 tsp raspberry syrup
1 fresh, raw egg white
3-4 raspberries for muddling
ice                                                                                                                                              
raspberries and blueberries for garnish, optional

[To make the raspberry syrup, combine 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of water, and 1 cup of raspberries in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes, then pour through a fine mesh strainer. Let cool.]

Step 1: Muddle the raspberries in the bottom of a shaker
Step 2: Add all remaining ingredients except the garnish
Step 3: Shake vigorously to emulsify the egg white
Step 4: Strain into a pretty cocktail glass; don't worry if some raspberry bits come through!
Step 5: Stick a raspberry or two on the rim of the glass and/or let a few blueberries plop right in
Step 6: Enjoy!

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Berry Picking!

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Berry Picking!

Patty's Berries and Bunches Farm Stand

Patty's Berries and Bunches Farm Stand

We love living in NYC during a time when farmers markets are immensely popular and we have easy access to delicious, fresh and local produce. But it's even more fun to get closer to the source of your produce and pick your own right at the farm! Why?

Yummy juicy blueberries!

Yummy juicy blueberries!

1. You can't get any fresher than that
2. You make sure you're getting the most delicious fruit/veggies available if you know which ones to pick
3. P.Y.O. is often cheaper
4. Farms often have other fun activities available or other goods to check out

Big, plump blues and purple blushes

Big, plump blues and purple blushes

Our favourite place for berry-picking is Patty's Berries and Bunches in Mattituck, NY - about an hour and a half outside Queens. For $5 you're given a pint-sized container (quart-sized for strawberries) and sent on your way through rows upon rows of yummy berries. We got there in time for raspberries and blueberries this year. Make sure you go for the darkest red raspberries for the sweetest flavour! If they don't pop off easily, they're not ripe yet.

Raspberries, please!

Raspberries, please!

We like Patty's for the wide variety of berries they grow and their minimal use of pesticides and other chemicals. And did we mention their farm fresh ice cream? Definitely don't miss that, and be on the lookout for intriguing flavours like lavender, sugar snap pea, and corn in the cone! Also be sure to check out their little vintage shop full of pyrex and old school coffee grinders, as well as homemade candles. 

Go for those wee dark red ones!

Go for those wee dark red ones!

At their farm stand, you'll also find honey made by the busy bees that buzz through the berry patches and flower beds, as well as some veggies and potted herbs and fig trees. For more veggies and perhaps some roasted sweet corn, head right across the road to Harbes Family Farm. Here you'll also find a tasting room where you can sample wines from Harbes Vineyard, and a Barnyard Adventure for kids.

Flowers for sale

Flowers for sale

Just remember sunscreen, sunglasses, and a big floppy hat.

 

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Summer Outings

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Summer Outings

Port Jefferson marina

Port Jefferson marina

Let's face it - one of the best things about living in New York City is getting away from it once in a while. The question once you get that nagging case of wanderlust is, where do I even go??
During our ultra-busy, day-to-day, get-out-of-my-way New Yorker existence, it's sometimes hard to remember that nature is just a short drive away. The Easternmost tip of Long Island, Montauk Point Lighthouse, is only two and a half hours from Queens, and there's plenty to see in between. While for most people, the first Long Island vacation spot that comes to mind is the Hamptons, the North Fork is also completely worth the excursion.

Waterside restaurants, Greenport

Waterside restaurants, Greenport

Take for example the picturesque, historic harbour villages of Port Jefferson and Greenport. 
Port Jefferson, a former shipbuilding center, is now a popular destination for boaters in the Northeast and offers many great restaurants and unique shops to explore. If you're just passing through, we'd definitely suggest the Steam Room for some stellar seafood with a view of the harbour. For dessert, head right next door and choose from 40+ different flavours of ice cream to enjoy as you cross the street and stroll along the Harborfront park. If you're staying longer, be sure to check out their calendar of cultural activities, such as historical exhibits and outdoor movies and concerts. And heads up - they're also well known for their Charles Dickens Festival every December.

Greenport marina

Greenport marina

Further along the North Fork, Greenport was once a whaling village as well as a shipbuilding center, and even had a reputation during Prohibition for its rum runners and speakeasies. Claudio's Restaurant, established in 1845 according to a plaque beside the front door, famously served the illegal booze and still has a Prohibition trap door to show for it. For something more casual, check out Claudio's Clam Bar where you'll find a mouth-watering outdoor raw bar under a waterside tented canopy, and some refreshing drink specials. (In spite of our cocktail snobbery, we will readily admit that the pina colada was actually quite good.) Get there on a weekend afternoon for some live music into the evening. Besides some great antique shops and galleries, this village also boasts an Antique Carousel right by the water, a local brewery, a painstakingly reconstructed blacksmith's shop, and the East End Seaport Museum which offers historic cruises to the historic lighthouses in the area. And don't forget that you're in wine country! Why not check out some of the many tasting rooms along the famed North Fork Wine Trail?

Mitchell Park, Greenport

Mitchell Park, Greenport

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Photo Tour of the Week 6/9

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Photo Tour of the Week 6/9

Curious to see what our virtual tours look like? Every Thursday we'll be posting a sample slideshow of one of our favourite tours. This week's sample is from a house we photographed up in the Berkshires this spring. It certainly shows that you don't need a perfect, sunny day for some great exterior shots!

Have a look at the full tour here to see everything we offer!

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Summertime!

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Summertime!

Summer's officially here! Time for hiking, swimming, ice cream, and getting drunk on patios ;) Here's a few decks, patios, rooftops and porches we wouldn't mind getting our drink on:

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