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Sip These Hudson Valley Drinks for Memorial Day Weekend

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Adobe Stock | Photo by tab62

Embrace the summer holiday vibes with these Hudson Valley brews, ciders, bottled cocktails, and other refreshing Memorial Day drinks.

By Raphael Beretta and Matt Moment

The unofficial start of summer is officially here! As the amuse bouche of the upcoming season, Memorial Day weekend brings with it all the sweet signs of the warm weather to come in the Hudson Valley.

From barbecues and baseball games with the kids to dripping ice cream cones and lazy afternoons outdoors, there are so many excuses to celebrate over the (much needed) long weekend. While you relax over the next few days, make sure to include a few sips from these superb breweries, orchards, and distilleries in our area.

 

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Chatham Brewing Tropical PFIZZ Hard Seltzer

Hard seltzer is here to stay in the Hudson Valley. Chatham Brewing uses real tropical fruit puree to produce PFIZZ. These bubbly beverages are a great change of pace from the beers and ciders that dominate Hudson Valley coolers. Summer fruits add a subtle sweetness and only bring 5g of carbs to the party. Wash down backyard barbecue with the deliciously crisp PFIZZ, a winner among Memorial Day drinks.

 

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Graft Cider Salt & Sand

Newburgh’s Graft Cider always features bright and bold notes in its ciders. “Salt & Sand” is one of the ultimate summer ciders. This seasonal release welcomes the warm weather as a part of the Green Earth series, which donates 10 percent to nonprofits that protect the environment. This refreshing “cocktail-in-a-can” channels a smoky mezcal margarita. Big lemon and lime zest notes make this easily crushable, but be careful: real agave sweetness masks a hefty 6.9 percent ABV.

Hudson Valley Distillers Basil Crush

This scenic Germantown distillery goes beyond crafting spirits for the perfect cocktails; it bottles its own mixed drinks! Hudson Valley Distillers introduces even the pickiest palates to the world of gin. Its Fellows Gin swaps out juniper berries for 100-percent New York grapes and subtle botanicals. The aptly named “Basil Crush” combines Fellows Gin with refreshing lemon juice and basil. Fresh, floral, and approachable, this bottled cocktail has broad appeal when it comes to Memorial Day weekend drinks.

Mill House Light

Every Memorial Day weekend get-together needs a light beer. Why not go local? Mill House Brewing Co. offers Mill House Light as the ideal summer session. This thirst-quenching lager brings together locally sourced six-row barley and crystal hops, which deliver a hint of woodsy spice. Crisp and clean, this 3.5-percent ABV beer is best when ice cold. (Alternatively, Cucumber Blessings ushers in the summer produce season expertly.)

The Drowned Lands Strawberry Basil Sour IPA

Another basil-infused beverage? Don’t mind if we do! The Drowned Lands brewery popped up in Warwick in the fall of 2020 and has remained consistent in releasing quality brews. Its motto is “dirt rich,” and it aims to make beer that expresses the “seasonality of our local agriculture.” The strawberry basil sour is no exception. It is fruited with a ton of berries and hopped with Azacca and Strata for a tart, juicy, and refreshing taste. If sours aren’t your thing, don’t fret—the brewery is also releasing its first-ever West Coast IPA this weekend, complete with a dry juiciness and a bit of a bite.

 

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Angry Orchard’s Tropical Cider

For a light, sweet, and adventurous sipping experience, give the tropical fruit hard cider from Angry Orchard a try. This ambitious flavor blend—a mixture of apple and pineapple—is perfect for a sweltering holiday weekend celebration. The “hard fruit cider” line also includes strawberry and peach mango ciders. If you want to make believe that your Hudson Valley backyard is an island in the sun, snag a pack of these ciders for your holiday weekend.

 

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Rip Van Winkle Hibiscus Blonde Ale

Memorial Day weekend bridges spring colors and May flowers with summer barbecues and pool season. Rip Van Winkle Brewing Co. makes a beer that embodies the changing of seasons. Oobie Hibiscus Blonde Ale brings sweet, floral notes and a delightfully pink hue. The Catskill brewery steeps this ale with hibiscus for wonderfully jammy flavor. Rip Van Winkle produces Oobie in honor of a family member, and donates $2 of every pint sold to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Join the fight when you sip this unique Hudson Valley brew.

 

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Sloop Brewing Co.’s Pixie Dust Special Pride Edition

Celebrate the arrival of Pride Month a little early with this light and clean IPA. The brewers at Sloop began with a simple grain bill as their “canvas,” adding fruity flavor notes like peach and papaya for a unique, yet balanced drinking experience. If glitter in a can sounds like your idea of a good time, pick up a pack of Pixie Dust. And don’t worry, you won’t be able to miss it on the shelf; it’ll be the brew with rainbow-wrapped packaging.

 

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Tin Barn’s Spring Fever Triple IPA

Chester’s beloved Tin Barn Brewery swings for the fences this summer with this incredibly hoppy triple IPA. The brewers have taken a warm Hudson Valley evening and bottled it up in this delicious brew, loaded with Citra, Simcoe, and Nelson hops, making for a flavor profile that is citrusy and refreshing while simultaneously warming—and it isn’t just the 9.6 percent ABV. For onsite drinks, check out Tin Barn’s outdoor patio, open all Memorial Day weekend with live music.

Italian 75 Cocktail / Photo courtesy Essie’s Restaurant

Essie’s Italian 75 Cocktail

“Memorial Day is where we pay homage to all the servicemen and women who put their lives on the line,” says Brandon Walker, chef and owner at Essie’s Restaurant in Poughkeepsie. To honor the occasion, he recommends an Italian 75, made with “navy strength” gin, Aperol, lemon juice, simple syrup, and prosecco. This Italian 75 brings tons of class to Memorial Day drinks.

Italian 75 Recipe

Courtesy of Essie’s Restaurant

1 oz Gustaf Navy Strength gin
¼ oz Aperol
¼ oz lemon juice
½ oz simple syrup
Prosecco to top it off

Put all ingredients in a shaker, except for the prosecco. Shake and double strain into a flute. Top it off with prosecco and garnish with an orange peel.

Related: 3 OG Hudson Valley Brewers on the Past and Future of the Industry

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