How’s this for a no fail icebreaker: A tasting of local handcrafted IPAs, hard ciders, and/or small-batch spirits?

Westchester County is well-known as a pioneer in farm-to-table dining, but drinks served here can be as locally sourced as the food.

More and more people are foodies these days, educated about the benefits of consuming food and beverages that didn’t have to travel far to get to their tables. In Westchester County, your group of locavores will be impressed by the freshness of not only their salads, fruit, and cheese but also their apple cider, hard cider, wine, beer, and even spirits that are produced right down the road. A fun tasting of local, artisan beverages lead by a vintner or brew master is a great icebreaker!

Hotels, restaurants, caterers, and event venues are thrilled to have high-quality food and beverages at their fingertips. Chefs from restaurants such as Equus Restaurant  in the Castle Hotel & Spa in Tarrytown and hotels like the Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester can be spotted at the crack of dawn examining produce at the many area farmers’ markets, becoming inspired to create dishes around what’s fresh that day.

Some of the barrels and barrels of apples picked from area orchards are turned into hard cider at places like Hardscrabble Cider in North Salem on the site of Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard. On the grounds of a nursery, the nearby South Salem Winery is a micro-winery that produces small batches of five handcrafted wines. The Winery at St. George, a stunning century-old former church with a soaring ceiling and open floor plan, produces limited edition, high-quality wines from grapes grown at Hilltop Hanover Farm in Yorktown Heights.

IPAs have soared in popularity and your group will not be hard pressed to find a standout local brew. For example, the Westchester Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton both serve an IPA from the Captain Lawrence Brewing Company in Elmsford, NY; and the popular waterfront restaurant Xaviar’s X20 on the Hudson offers both the “Palate Shifter” Captain’s Reserve IPA from Captain Lawrence and the Hudson Yonkers Lager brewed by the Yonkers Brewing Co. in Yonkers, NY.

As for spirits, how about honey vodka courtesy of Still the One, Neversink Spirits’ gin, or rye whiskey from Nahmias et Fils? Cheers to a locavore-themed tasting event!