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Photo credit: Doug Young)

In February, when we were shooting the photos for this issue’s Southside Sips story with cocktail guru Jarhn Blutstein, photographer Doug Young showed up with a sprig of green that he’d plucked from the ground outside his house. “Anyone know what this is?” he asked, holding the frondy little sprig in the air. “I thought it was cool and maybe might work as a garnish. But is it edible?”

It was. The piece of greenery that caught his attention is called purslane, a sharp, sour-ish (but not unpleasantly so!) wild succulent that I’d become familiar with while writing a book called Forager’s Cocktails. How it managed to stay alive in the cold and snow, I can’t say because typically this plant grows in the spring and summer. But there it was, alive and well and saying, “Hey guys! Spring is just around the corner!”

The cocktail Blutstein made — the Snap Pea Gin Sour on p. 94 — is the most beautiful green color and, had it vocal abilities, would be hollering, “Hey, hey! Warm weather on the way!” It was so green, that our awesome art director Wendy Scofield (who, along with Courtney Eckersley, make these pages so damn beautiful every time) said to me one day: Is it too green?!

My birthday is the first day of spring. Green is my favorite color. There is no version of too green in my world. In fact, there is no occasion when there’s too much color, certainly not if you’re Sag Harbor designer Shea Keating (p. 32). Looking at her life-seizing, happy-making, disco-ball visions for color-saturated interiors feel like that moment when Dorothy lands in Oz (or maybe when Bella Baxter wakes up with a new brain?) and which are captured in amazing technicolor-kapow detail by photographer Doug Young and writer Lauren Parker. It’s just so cool to see somebody bucking the everyone-in-driftwood-gray color scheme that’s been foisted upon these parts, but in the friendliest kind of way. 

And speaking of living large, sometime last year these videos of an ever-smiling, shaggy-haired Dead Head looking kinda guy shouting, “HI!” started popping up on my Insta feed. All but impossible to ignore, I started looking forward to his rants on ice — yup, ice! — in which it quickly became obvious that this world of frozen water had become a calling for Al Vigneau, and I felt his pain. The cocktail renaissance has been alive and well for nearly 20 years, and while many spots on the South Fork make gorgeous drinks, few and far between care about the most important ingredient in the glass. Emily Toy learned all about Vigneau’s nascent company, Hampton Ice (p. 44), and how this former finance guy kicked it all to the curb for cubes (and I hope you dig how photographer Jeremy Garretson captured a bit of Vigneau’s mad scientist vibe — I know I do!). 

(Photo credit: Eleanor P. Labrozzi)

There’s so much spring saturation on these pages — a trek to Madoo (p. 25), some lingering in LongHouse Reserve (p. 87) and an intimate chat with landscape color-grabbing designer Frederico Azevedo (p. 28) — not to mention the launch of our new food column, Eat Local (p. 22 — thanks for letting us take over a corner of your dining room, Captain Jack’s!), all of us at Southforker are feeling a little extra revved up about the changing of the seasons. We hope these pages get you there, too.

Get out there and smell the flowers, people!

Amy Zavatto, Editor-in-Chief, Southforker 

P.S. About that cover: It doesn’t always happen this way with covers when an image hits you and you say, “That’s the one!” Sometimes it’s clear, sometimes you need to think on it (and, honestly, our photogs here are so damn talented, they really do make this decision hard sometimes!). But when I saw this inspired shot of Shea Keating on her rainbow-runner steps, disco balls in the background and all, I had my heart set on it. Thanks, Doug Young! This picture just makes me smile.