Cocktail Island: ‘On The Rocks’ at Vine Street Café

Bartender Clint Skeen and two drinks at Vine Street Café. (Credit: Annette Hinkle)

Bartender Clint Skeen and two drinks from Vine Street Café. (Credit: Annette Hinkle)

Shelter Island’s Vine Street Café has long been known for its amazing cuisine and well-curated wine list. But thanks to Clint Skeen, the man behind the bar, Vine Street is branching out this summer with “On The Rocks,” a late-night craft cocktail hour. 

The Vine Street bar is open every Friday and Saturday night from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., with Mr. Skeen, who comes to the Island with six years of experience as a mixologist on the West Coast, creating a full line-up of eclectically creative cocktails, many of them new to the menu this year.

“We’re working on creating a nostalgic kind of late night experience,” explains Mr. Skeen. “We’ll turn down the lights and make it like a speakeasy.”

And speaking of easy, that’s how many of Mr. Skeen’s cocktail creations go down. Among them is the signature “V.S.C.” — vodka, watermelon, St. Germaine and Aperol — served in a hurricane glass. Another newcomer to the Vine Street lineup is the curiously named “Offices of Berry, Plum and Sloe,” an intriguing combination of beach plum gin liqueur (made with Long Island beach plums by Brooklyn-based Greenhook Ginsmiths), strawberry and Prosecco.

“Coming up with names for drinks is the hardest part of it,” admits Mr. Skeen who credits a friend for inventing the moniker of this drink.

Other offerings on the cocktail card include the “American Jackalope” (Laird’s Applejack, house made ginger beer and peach bitters), and the very tasty “Vine Street Machete,” which is made with blanco tequila, pamplemousse rose and ancho chili liqueur.

“It’s light and a step up from the margarita,” says Mr. Skeen.

Craft cocktails in a speakeasy setting? Not a bad way to kick off summer, to our way of drinking.

Vine Street Café, 41 South Ferry Road, Shelter Island. (631) 749-3210 www.vinestreetcafe.com.