Ever wondered about the secret to summer? According to Secret Summer, which was a whimsical event held this year at The Foundry in Long Island City, it’s a combination of sun, sips, snacks, and some fabulous entertainment. The event took place August 14th and was a most welcome reprieve from the major heatwave we’ve had.
When you first arrive, you are greeted by sheer curtains that bring you into a garden of food trucks, ping pong tables, photo booths, and early sips including sparkling water and Rekorderling Ciders. Oh yeah, and did I mention the draft lattes? You heard me, lattes on tap! The food trucks, which are quickly becoming the best form of food service, were so tempting that I had to pull my friend away to focus on the cocktails, which were the main draw of the event.
Each booth in the indoor space included a specialty cocktail which was made-to-order right in front of you by some equally eye-catching bartenders. The catch is that all of these cocktails are also “Farm to Bar,” meaning the plants utilized in the cocktails are fresh as can be.
When you enter The Foundry’s indoor space, you’re immediately greeted by forest greens splattered with cute nooks that give a the place a fantasy vibe. The first room was home to Finlandia. Finlandia’s deep purple cocktail, The Beetnik, was served in a mini martini glass and garnished with fresh sorrel. The flavor was pure beet, as the name suggested, and my friend, a beet-lover, could barely stop sipping enough for me to get a picture.
Next to Finlandia was a smaller booth with gin cocktails made with either Ginger Beer or Rose Lemonade. The Lemonade intrigued me, but when I tasted it with the gin, it struck me as a little too dry.
The second room had more of a “head in the clouds” vibe. There were clouds hanging throughout the rooms and towards the back there was a mini-farm from “Farm One” housing the garnishes for the cocktails. It was incredibly cool, and I kind of wanted to take it home with me.
The first cocktail we tried in here was the Doc Hollywood, made with butter-washed Old Forester Bourbon. I wasn’t sure what that meant even after it was explained it to me, but anything with additional butter can’t be all that bad. My sweet tooth was pretty happy with this one.
On the other side of the room, we tasted The Shoemaker, made with Gentleman Jack. I actually found this one to be even tastier. It was a little fruity and very strong, which is also never a bad attribute.
We then walked into the Herradura Tequila room, and I have to admit I had high expectations, mostly because I love tequila so I wanted it to be good. The Hart’s Desire cocktail did not disappoint. Not only was it fruity and delicious, but it had shades. And I’m not talking Fifty Shades. That’s right, ground hibiscus was showered on top of the foamy drink to look like sunglasses.
And then there was whiskey. We actually had to venture back outside for this one because it had its own room. It was too cool for the main hall.
In a semi-hidden room, we were served the Churchill Downs, made with Woodford Reserve Straight Bourbon, but we didn’t just throw this one back like the rest. This was made to taste at the tasting station. We were given different bites of cheese, berries, nuts, and chocolate to pair with the whiskey drink and bring out its flavors. If nothing else, I felt super classy.
Once we were done imbibing, it was time to scope out the food situation. They offered selections from Van Leeuwen, Eddie’s Pizza, La Pulperia, A Lil’ Bit of Fun, and Big D’s Grub Truck. Van Leeuwen was nice enough to provide their tasty treats for free as a much-needed reprieve from the heat, but other trucks had a small fee.
The ice cream came in some different flavors including matcha and honeycomb, and classic favorites like vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. They also had some vegan options. I went with a honeycomb-chocolate combo, which was a perfect blend of sweet and savory.
A Lil’ Bit of Fun rounded out the sweet options with mini funnel cakes in a variety of flavors, including red velvet, apple pie, and even maple bacon.
Eddie’s Pizza gave a little Italian flare, and La Pulperia’s grillmasters braved the intense heat to bring some killer tacos and sandwiches to the game. And then there was Big D’s Grub Truck with a very different option of rice bowls in case you wanted a more filling fix.
Rounding out the event was the incredible entertainment, from ballerinas to trapeze artists and even a mentalist, who was truly impressive to the point of being scary. He could read minds and put ideas and numbers into your head.
The secret is out, and next summer you won’t want to miss it. Make sure to keep an eye out for Secret Summer next year.