CEO of Pinhook Bourbon—and the East End's very own—Alice Peterson dishes on her latest business ventures, favorite ways to serve a drink and the best Hampton happy hours.
What is new for Pinhook Bourbon this season? Unlike most American whiskey brands, Pinhook releases a new vintage of bourbons and ryes each year, like a winemaker would. So there’s always something new. Our most recent release is our High Proof Bourbon, which is hand-dipped in this gorgeous color of magenta wax.
This vintage is dedicated to Bourbon Heist, which—like all of the horses on our labels—is an up-and-coming thoroughbred, who raced for the very first time in June at Churchill Downs—the racetrack where the Kentucky Derby is run. We set a proof for each expression of Pinhook that we believe brings out the very best of that particular vintage and, for our 2021 High Proof Bourbon, found that it drank best at cask strength, which is 119.9. It is so smooth that people find it hard to believe it’s anything close to that.
How do you like to enjoy Pinhook in the summer? I love to drink Pinhook over a single, square ice cube year-round, but cocktails feel especially appropriate for summertime. I’ve been working on perfecting a pineapple Sazerac this summer and am getting close—we’ve been keeping a Pinhook bottle full of my latest batch in the fridge. And a Pinhook classic is the Kenny Perry, which is simply iced tea, fresh squeezed lemon juice, simple syrup and our flagship bourbon. Essentially a boozy Arnold Palmer, renamed for Kentucky’s most illustrious professional golfer.
What do you like to serve with Pinhook when entertaining? Our favorite thing to do is to order several dozen Lazy Point Oysters from our friend Adam Younes. They keep in the refrigerator under a damp towel, and, for some reason, I love shucking them. They are terrific on the grill, just warm, with a little bit of butter and hot sauce brushed on top, but they are also perfect raw with a little squeeze of lemon. Any sort of salty charcuterie is also pretty hard to beat.
At home in East Hampton with Alice Peterson, Pinhook Bourbon CEO, making a brand-favorite Hound Dog cocktail
And I challenge you to find a dessert more delicious than a Pinhook affogato, which is simply Pinhook poured over vanilla bean ice cream. For a little extra flair, crush Tate’s cookies and sprinkle them over the top, and go to the trouble to source the ice cream from Carissa’s on Pantigo Road. I like to place the Pinhook bottle on the table, as it’s beautiful to look at and, invariably, guests will want a repour before their ice cream is gone. If you want to put more elbow grease into a bourbonworthy dessert, go for a strawberry cream pie in crust made from pretzels instead of graham crackers.
What is your go-to happy hour spot? Happy hour is usually in our backyard or on the boat. But we love to have a late lunch with lots of cocktails at Morty’s Oyster Stand, just past the Clam Bar on the way to Montauk. The team there this summer is so much fun—particularly this summer. I’m working on getting them to add a whiskey-based drink to their frozen cocktail lineup!
What other projects or news can we buzz for the year ahead? We have started to do a couple of very limited special releases every year that are primarily available via our text-to-shop service, called Breeze, which will find and ship you any bottle of Pinhook you desire. All you have to do is text the word ‘Pinhook’ to 926-848, and off you go. Our most recent was the first of our Collaboration Series, in which our master blender, Sean Josephs, worked with his pal, André Mack, a celebrated winemaker. It sold out in seconds—literally—so we are working on sourcing the barrels (more than the 10 we did this time), and deciding with whom we’ll blend them for our next go-around.
Peterson and her beloved family dog, Rizzo.
“A newer favorite, inspired by one of the liqueurs discovered at Carissa’s, is the Rye Renewal, which I’ve had on replay and continue to tinker with. It was originally a bourbon cocktail, but I am partial to rye so almost always like to switch it up. I particularly like how the spice of our rye complements the fruity sweetness of the cassis.”
750 ml bottle of Pinhook Rye (I’d recommend our flagship expression, dipped in green wax)
1 ½ cup fresh lemon juice, plus wedges for garnish
¾ cup cassis liqueur (I like Current brand, which is another women-led New York company)
¾ cup simple syrup
1 ½ tsp. angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a pitcher and stir well. When ready to serve, pour into a cocktail shaker, fill with ice and shake until cold. Strain over fresh ice into an Old-Fashioned glass and garnish with a lemon wedge.
Photography by: PHOTOS BY ERIC STRIFFLER