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The Deli is an ode to the artisanal makers of New York. In the spirit of the upcoming long weekend, we’ve curated an edit of beverages from some of our favorite makers. From Unified Ferments’ elevated, refined alcohol-free kombuchas and MABÏ’s modern take on the Caribbean staple Mauby to Hana Makgeolli’s boozy and beautiful Omija Makgeolli, there’s something everyone will love. Cheers!

Enlightenment Wines' Night Eyes Mead

Ever since launching in 2009, Enlightenment Wines has been creating natural mead, a traditional style of honey wine, out of locally sourced and sometimes foraged ingredients. Night Eyes, one of the newest flavors, is a dry, naturally sparkling, wild fermented botanical mead, made out of apple, cherry, rosehip, and foraged sumac. “There is nothing better than sharing bubbles with friends, especially outside,” says co-founder Raphael Lyon.

How to buy: Enlightenment Wines’ tasting room Honey’s in Bushwick, Brooklyn, is open for indoor, rooftop and outdoor walk-in seating everyday. Nationwide shipping is also available through Enlightenment Wines. $30.

Tart Vinegar's Celery Vinegar

We love how Tart Vinegar’s small batch, raw vinegars add brightness and mineralality to a meal. But we also love their products as a beverage. “One interesting way to use Tart in a festive group situation is to add it to sparkling wine,” recommends founder Christina Crawford. “Chill it and use 1-2 ounces per glass to add a fun flavor profile and extend how many glasses of bubbles you can take in as well. Any Tart Vinegar flavor, like lavender and rose, work, but celery makes a fun mineral and salty one as well.” 

How to buy: Shop online at tartvinegar.com or at Dimes, Thank You Have A Good Day, &Sons, and The Meathook. $24.

Masha Teas' Holy Basil Tea

Founder Maria Geyman sources thoughtful herbs and teas for her brand, creating rich and unusual flavors with health properties. We especially love the Holy Basil tea for a hot summer day. “Cold-brewed tea is really nice in the summer,” explains Geyman. “With hot water, overbrewing can release some bitter notes but those generally don't come out with a cold brew infusion.” To make the perfect iced tea, she recommends putting 3 tablespoons of tea in a 64-ounce jar, adding room temperature water, and then either putting the concoction in the fridge or leaving it out for 8-12 hours. Once it’s steeped, strain out the tea and serve over ice. 

How to buy: Shop online or find a retailer near you on mashatea.com. $24.

MABÏ'S Childhood Bliss Tree Bark Brew

Born in New York to a Dominican father and Dominican-Chinese mother, Ana Bautista’s brand is an homage to her culture. MABÏ draws inspiration from Mauby, a tree bark-based spiced herbal drink widely consumed in the Caribbean. Her take is a remix of the classic: unlike Mauby, MABÏ is not fermented, uses a monk fruit sweetener instead of sugar, and comes in playful flavors like Morning Wood and Childhood Bliss. “It’s a simple, refreshing, non alcoholic herbal drink. Each flavor is perfect on its own,” Bautista says. “But MABÏ can also be used as a mixer to create a clean, earthy and floral cocktail.” One of her favorites is the MABÏ Cosmo, comprised of three parts MABÏ Childhood Bliss and one part white tequila. Just shake in a mixer with ice, garnish with lemon or lime, and serve in a martini glass. Salud!  

How to buy: Order online (the brand ships every Saturday) or a selection of retailers including O CAFE and Muz Muz CBD Shop & Café. $6.

Current Cassis

If you haven’t tried Current Cassis yet, now is the perfect time. The all-natural 16% ABV beverage is made by hand from lightly fermented New York State blackcurrants, whole green cardamom, bay leaf, citrus rind, lemon verbena, wild honey, and clean distilled spirits. “It’s great as a substitute for sweet vermouth,” says founder Rachael Petach. “It gives classic cocktails like negronis or manhattans a lush twist, or you can make a spritz with sparkling water or natural sparkling wines and citrus!” The more advanced recommendation, however, is the Current Cassis summer swan song, Ice Beer. Petach’s recipe includes 2 ounces of Current Cassis on lots of ice, 3 ounces of beer, a squeeze of fresh lime, and a pinch of Maldon salt.” Delicious!

How to buy: Nationwide shipping available through retail partners or at a retailer near you. $27.

Hana Makgeolli's Omija Makgeolli

Since we featured Hana Makgeolli’s founder Alice Jun in The Deli in June, the Greenpoint-based rice wine brand has been busy. Jun and her business partner recently opened their tasting room, and also launched Omija Makgeolli. “It is made with the sediment from our Yakju, which was fermented for 100 days before adding in a concentrated omija tea we made with the berries, and additional berries added in for the last week of fermentation,” explains Jun. “It has a beautiful soft pink color, is 9.5% ABV, and drinks like a sour beer that’s extra refreshing due to the saltiness of the berry.” With its lower alcohol content and cute packaging (it comes in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles), Omija Makgeolli is the perfect thing to bring to a Labor Day picnic. “Shake gently to incorporate the sediment and enjoy cold,” Jun adds.

How to buy: Omija Makgeolli is only available at the brand’s tasting room and for local pickup or delivery from the brewery. $36.

Unified Ferments' Snow Chrysanthemum Jun 

If you’re looking for a non-alcoholic option, Unified Ferments makes several fermented beverages produced from single-origin tea (also known as kombucha or jun). For Labor Day, try the Snow Chrysanthemum, a hardy, high-altitude, nutritionally rich varietal of the Chrysanthemum flower that grows in the Kunlun Mountain area of China. It’s floral with notes of starfruit, shaved asparagus, and sugar ham. ”Treat it as a juicy orange/skin-contact wine in terms of pairings,” recommends co-founder Young Stowe. “It works beautifully with fatty or doughy foods, sharp greens, or as a cool-down from spice. Enjoy chilled at your favorite white-wine temperature, or we add equal parts seltzer and a handful of ice for a summer spritz - no judgement.”

How to buy: Order online at unifiedferments.com or shop from a store near you. Mix and match a two-pack for $35.

Greenpoint Cidery's We're Laughing Cider

Greenpoint Cidery’s newest release We're Laughing is a dry sparkling cider with notes of cranberries and raspberries. “I make it with a blend of New York-grown apples and wild grapes that grow up the back of a barn on the cidery property,” explains founder Nika Carlson. “The ingredients I use other than apples -- from fruit to herbs to flowers -- are locally foraged, usually on the cidery property itself. [To make the cider,] I press the grapes whole cluster, and let them natively ferment on the skin, with seeds and stems for two weeks before adding them to an aged cider to slowly finish fermenting. They get a secondary fermentation in the bottle to give them easy going bubbles, and age 6 months before they're released.” The end result is It's bright and tart and fun, and perfect for a late summer picnic.  

How to buy: Find it at a retailer near you or shop online (they ship to 41 states and offer free home delivery in the NYC and Hudson areas). $21.

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An enthusiastic selection of stories about food makers, founded by Anna Polonsky from Polonsky & Friends and Teddy Wolff.
All photos by Teddy Wolff for The Deli.
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