- One of the most anticipated cocktail bars to open in NYC, The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog recently flung open the doors of its landmark building to much acclaim. Founders Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry of the award-winning beverage program at Belfast’s Merchant Hotel have done their homework to create a cocktail menu that honors the mid-19th century drinking scene in gangland New York. On the first level, a pub-style bar room complete with sawdust on the floor serves up classic cocktails, bottled punch, draft beer and Irish whiskey, while upstairs a more refined lounge serves an expansive menu of meticulously crafted drinks. On a recent visit, I sipped the Automobile (Marie Brizard Parfait Amour, Pernod Absinthe, celery cordial, Piper Heidsieck Cuvee Brut Champagne and Bittermens Orchard Street Celery Shrub), the Ale Flip (Sixpoint Cask Conditioned “Dead Rabbit” Ale, Jameson 12 Year Irish Whiskey, spiced egg batter, muscovado sugar and nutmeg), the Bankers Punch (Redbreast 12 Year Cask Strength Irish Whiskey, Dead Rabbit Jamaican Rum Mix, fresh lime juice, raspberry cordial, Dead Rabbit Orinoco Bitters and dashes Graham’s LBV Port Wine), and a complimentary teacup of Grandieur Punch (Bols Genever, Varnelli Anis, lemon sherbert, lemon juice, orange flower water and peppermint tea). Everything was incredibly tasty, and the wait time for drinks was not long at all, a stunning feat considering there were only two barmen behind the bar and the room was full on a Saturday night. This Monday, Feb. 25, mixology master Gaz Regan will serve as guest bartender from 7 p.m. onward–so don’t bloody miss that. The Dead Rabbit, 30 Water Street.
- Speaking of new bars, Dipsology has a nice list of recently-opened and soon-to-open cocktail bars in NYC, including Attaboy, taking over the Milk & Honey space. Time Out New York interviewed Sam Ross and Michael McIlroy and rumor is they will open their doors later this month.
- Beefeater Gin recently got the green light to open London’s first gin distillery visitor center, expected to be completed later this year. As someone who has been fortunate enough to visit Beefeater’s headquarters in Kennington, I am thrilled for Master Distiller Desmond Payne and his team. Desmond is profoundly passionate about the making of gin and will do a great service to the public by showcasing the distillery’s process. (Check out the video announcement here.)
Get ready to kick your winter cocktail game up a notch with Beefeater London Dry’s Winter Edition, coming to the U.S. in late November-early December, with an official launch in NYC on Dec. 6. Following the success of Beefeater’s Summer Edition, Master Distiller Desmond Payne created this holiday-inspired gin featuring notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and pine shoots. Although I haven’t tried it yet, if it’s anything like Beefeater Summer, I know I’m in for a treat.
From the press release, Desmond says, “I wanted to create a gin that would enhance the traditional Beefeater recipe and make it even more suitable for hot punches and cocktails that are popular during the winter months. Beefeater Winter captures the familiar aromas of the season using a balanced combination of botanicals that are synonymous with that particular time of year.”
To get you in the holiday mood, here’s a recipe for Winter Punch:
50ml Beefeater Winter Gin
10ml lemon juice
1 tsp honey
1 tsp brown sugar
1 pinch cinnamon (ground)
1 pinch nutmeg (ground)
In a saucepan, gently heat all ingredients—do not let the mixture boil. Decant into teacups or toddy cups and serve.
With 80-degree weather coming our way for Derby Day tomorrow, everyone’s thinking about seersucker suits and mint juleps served over crushed ice. As summer nears, I also start to dream of crisp, refreshing gin. And wouldn’t you know it, Beefeater London Dry Gin is launching a limited-edition Summer Gin on June 2. Following the success of Beefeater 24, Master Distiller Desmond Payne created Beefeater Summer Gin to celebrate the season with prominent floral notes including elderflower, blackcurrant, and hibiscus.
“It has a slightly lighter characteristic,” said Payne, who took a moment to speak with me by phone recently. “Beefeater 24 is aimed more at bartenders and for mixing in more high-end cocktails, while the Summer Gin is more for the consumer. Think summer parties and BBQs, and with pomegranate or cranberry juice, it makes a lovely long drink.”
Payne, who has been making gin for 42 years, said he is “having a great time” experimenting with new varieties of Beefeater while upholding the classic method of distilling. “It’s a chance to spread out a little bit, but very much in the Beefeater way,” he said. “This is an interesting and exciting time for gin.”