A Margarita with Simon Cascante

Montaukila margartias being cheersed

Tequila from the End

You ever come up with something and think, “damn, that just has such a nice ring to it”? Not sure if the chicken or the egg came first on this one, but the name Montaukila is a prime example of this instance. And it just so happens to bring our preferred liquor and location together in the same bottle. We sat down with Montaukila founder Simon Cascante (who also happens to be the manager at none other than The Lobster Roll) over some Montaukila to find out more about the local brand and the man behind it. No training wheels needed.

Montaukila sprinter van parked by the water

If you had to pair your Montaukila-rita with one item from The Lobster Roll, what would it be and why?

I feel like this seems too obvious of an answer, but a classic Lobster Roll. A Montaukila-rita and a classic Lobster Roll should be the official taste of summer.

What led you to want to start your own tequila brand? 

First and foremost there were no small businesses that represented the tequila industry, especially in New York. Everyone was a big company owned by another big company or backed by a celebrity. We aren’t any of that and we pride ourselves on being able to accomplish so much and have skin in the game with a fraction of the resources that the big players have. Being in the industry all the years prior to Montaukila only gave me the confidence to know we found a gap and that we were before our times.

Your ideal summer day—how’re you having Montaukila, where are you, what are you doing, who’s around you?

man in Montaukila t shirt standing on the beach

Hmmm… on a remote island with a bottle of Montaukila? No, I’m only kidding, the summer is incredible out here. There’s this one recent summer memory in particular that I would love to recreate over and over again. A few summers ago during Covid, we were trying to figure out unique ways to get the word out about Montaukila while everyone was distancing themselves from each other. So we decided to produce a bunch of our Montaukila shirts and purchased a tee shirt cannon. It was one of those perfect summer days at the beach, glassy water, hanging out with friends, not a cloud in sight and we showed up with this cannon filled with tee shirts. I’m sure you can probably imagine how this went….you know when you’re at a sports game and they start throwing free stuff into the crowd, that’s what it felt like but we were on the beach. People absolutely loved it! Needless to say, it was a success. Any new business would be able to relate to that indescribable feeling of success. The number of hours put into developing a new brand is endless, especially in the beverage industry. It’s totally worth it though when you get to see, firsthand, people being so receptive to your ideas.

What led you to the End of the World? Favorite spot in Montauk and why?

Man shucking oysters with a bottle of Montaukila

I was raised in East Hampton, so my family has been here long before me. I have been managing at the Lobster Roll for well, long enough. The rest of the team that has helped build Montaukila has been brought on through some variation of working or frequently dining at the restaurant too. So although it’s technically Napeague, The Lobster Roll has a special place in all of our hearts. It’s where it all began. Making our way to The End we have a few other favorite spots. Driving along Old Montauk Highway always creates some sort of nostalgia. Watching the sun set or rise at the Lighthouse is epic. Our industry is built on supporting other businesses so we always make sure to stop at some of our favorite local restaurants. TT’s has been a great supporter to us this summer. Hero Beach Club is always welcoming us to mix up some delicious cocktails in their backyard. Watching local musician Nancy Atlas at The Surf Lodge (weekdays only) while sipping on one of our Surf Palomas. These are all reminders of the beauty that remains at the End of the World, and why we do what we do.  

One person, past or present, that you would love to sit down over a glass of Montaukila with and why?

George Clooney, I’m only kidding, although it would be interesting. Honestly, my late grandpa. I think he would be really proud of what Montaukila is. The brand. The product. These are the people who appreciate Montaukila most and who I want to be with.

bottle of Montaukila half submerged in water