If you’re a beach person living in New York or the surrounding area, then a summer trip to The Hamptons is always a wonderful way to escape the city and breathe in the fresh ocean air.
Located at the very eastern tip of Long Island, the once sleepy beach town of Montauk has become a hip destination where visitors can both relax and engage in summertime revelry. If you’re in the mood for the latter, The Surf Lodge is the place to get your fix.
The Surf Lodge opened in 2008 and has since become known for its summer concert series, which draws acts like Jaden Smith, Janelle Monáe and The Rapture. This summer, Grey Goose partnered with the hotel and venue to create a summertime spin on the classic Highball to enjoy during the shows. We had a chance to taste the refreshing cocktail—made with Grey Goose, soda, and a blend of grapefruit, pineapple and lemongrass flavor essences—while catching a couple of performances last weekend. If you happen to be out East for Labor Day, you can sip on the drink while checking out acts like DJ Cassidy and Lukas Nelson to help The Surf Lodge close out their 2019 summer season. In the meantime, check out our interview with The Surf Lodge owner Jayma Cardoso to learn about the history of the concert series and how they landed on this year’s signature Grey Goose cocktail.
The Surf Lodge Summer Concert Series has become an iconic seasonal activity for New Yorkers. What originally sparked the idea for these musical events?
My dream for The Surf Lodge has always been to curate our guests’ experience to match the rich and vibrant energy of Montauk. For years, the East End has been home to a community of artists and musicians, from the Rolling Stones to Billy Joel to Jackson Pollock. The Summer Concert Series was born out of my goal to honor the community’s history while contributing to its history as well. On any given night, we might have a Grammy award-winning performer such as Willie Nelson or Jon Bon Jovi on the stage, but we also take tremendous pride in being able to showcase up-and-comers and local artists such as Nancy Atlas and Dan Bailey. It’s an honor for me to bring The Surf Lodge into the fold of Montauk’s loud and storied history, and nothing makes me happier than bringing our guests along with us on that journey.
You had a great lineup this season. How do you and your team go about choosing musical acts for the series?
I work on the music program for The Surf Lodge all year long with our booker. Our concert lineup is a combination of our all-time favorites that perform year after year—Donovan Frankenthaller, G Love, Lukas Nelson, Bob Moses and St. Lucia—and new favorites. I am a big music person. I go to concerts, follow bands on Instagram, and have a network of friends that always suggest new and exciting acts, both famous and unknown. It is always a great thrill to welcome formerly unknown acts back once they have become established. This year we welcomed RÜFÜS DU SOL, for example, who were unknown a few years ago. And Lukas Nelson was in his father Willie’s band the first time he performed at The Surf Lodge. This year, Lukas won an Oscar. We’re looking forward to his performance as the closing act of our season this year.
The Summer Concert series launched a Brooklyn popup at the Williamsburg Hotel this year. What made you want to bring The Surf Lodge’s series cityside?
When Grey Goose told us they wanted to give NYC weekenders a chance to live like they made it out East, we knew we had to join them in bringing the Surf Lodge vibe to Brooklyn. For more than a decade now, New Yorkers have been traveling to the East End to join us for our summer concerts and bask in the Montauk rhythm. We wanted to give them with that same Surf Lodge energy, but in their own backyard for one gorgeous summer night. Grey Goose helped transform the roof of The Williamsburg Hotel into our humble seaside beach shack, complete with The Surf Lodge’s signature hanging wicker baskets, colorful stage backdrop and live music from one of our favorite bands, St. Lucia.
The Vodka Soda is a classic cocktail that everyone can appreciate, especially in the heat of summer. How did you work with Grey Goose to come up with your signature twist on the drink?
Vodka Sodas are one of The Surf Lodge’s most popular orders in the summer months. But with the growing shift towards specialty, craft cocktails, we knew that we wanted to add a fun and flavorful twist this year. We worked with Grey Goose to add a blend of handpicked, botanical flavor essences to the cocktail to keep it fresh and summery without any sugary mixers. Our house mixologist, Remi Shobitan, chose a blend of lemongrass, pineapple and grapefruit flavor essences to add a punchy tropical flavor, perfect for beating the heat. Topped with fresh fruit, the Grey Goose and soda is light, refreshing and never boring.