Just in case any of you failed to notice my shameless bragging and photo tagging, last month Hubby and I spent a week in New York. It was an insanely amazing holiday and despite how busy we were and how full on it was, I did actually come back home feeling relaxed!
Whilst there we went to some awesome bars and I had some cracking cocktails so I figured I should share my secrets with you all just in case you are heading that way, because I’d hate for you to miss out!
Firstly I have to mention Breuckelen Distilling, who began crafting gin and whiskey in 2010. We spent a fab afternoon at the distillery with Master Distiller Brad and if you get the opportunity to try this gin then you simply must. Breuckelen Distilling’s Glorious Gin most certainly lives up to it’s name, sweet, creamy and smooth, with herbaceous tones, a hint of grapefruit and a subtle edge of ginger. To find out more about Brad and his distillery you can read my previous article “Breukelen Distilling and their Glorious Gin.”
Now onto the bars…
Drinking gin in NYC was an interesting experience, which made me realise just how much of a
drinking problem passion we have in the UK for our top tipple. We are utterly spoilt with literally hundreds of different flavours of tonics and mixers. It wasn’t until I visited New York that I realised just how spoilt we are. Fever-Tree famously say…
…and this is where I feel New York hasn’t quite caught up on the gin craze. For example, we ordered two Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gins at a bar, great gin! Gunpowder is one of my absolute favourites, I love it with Franklin and Sons Natural Light Tonic or Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic. It tastes to me like refreshers, the pink grapefruit is amazing and these tonics do everything to really show off the botanicals. However, Hubby and I took one sip…gave each other that look…”This isn’t nice. How can this not be nice?” I honestly felt my heart fall into my shoes and am pretty sure I could see the bottle looking at me from it’s shelf and crying. If I could have adopted that poor, poor bottle of gin right there and then I would have, it’s life would have been so happy with me. Frolicking in fridges filled with deliciously, delectable, delightful mixers. So this, my lovelies, is my warning to you for New York gin drinking.
Check the mixer or stick to the cocktails!!!
Lesson learned, we switched to cocktails and proceeded to have a very merry time. So here are some of my favourite gin treats from our week in New York…we only just scraped the surface though and are already planning our next trip!
Friend of a Farmer
Our first morning in New York was spent with my wonderful cousin, who took us out to see some sights, and insisted that we go for brunch. Brunch to me means food and booze, what’s not to love about that suggestion. After a little walk we found ourselves at Friend of a Farmer in Gramercy Park. Friend of a Farmer has been a family owned business since 1986 and prides itself in being “a pioneer in the farm-to-table movement.” The restaurant itself is reminiscent of a rabbit warren, with narrow winding corridors leading to pockets of space filled with country kitchen furniture and decor. Holiday rules stipulate that morning drinking is not only completely acceptable, but is in fact a necessity, so I started with a cocktail, The Farmer’s Daughter. A tasty mix of Warwick gin, fresh cranberry & muddled basil, rosemary infused simple syrup and sparkling wine, which I must confess, went down a little too easily. Their brunch menu was mouthwateringly magnificent and our eyes were possibly bigger than our bellies when ordering, thankfully we have the whole of New York available to us to walk off the calories later.
On our first full on out and about walking day in New York, we headed to the High Line, which from 1934 to 1980 was an elevated railway line that connected the rail yards of mid-town Manhattan to an industrial district along the lower West Side of Manhattan. It has now been converted to an elevated park. A definite must see if you’re visiting. After walking the full length, we were rather chilly and had worked up a bit of a thirst. We stumbled upon this little place called Bubby’s, which caught our eye because bubby is our cutsie couple, sickeningly sweet, pet name for each other, (permission to vomit granted.) I was thrilled to find some delicious looking cocktails and The Honey Bizz definitely hit the spot for me, ESP Noho Gin, lemon and honey garnished with a cinnamon stick. Although we didn’t eat there, the menu looked great and the food being brought out smelt delicious.
PDT stands for Please Don’t Tell, (so ssshhhhhh) and is incredible. A secret little speakeasy accessed via Crif Dogs in the East Village. Arriving at the hotdog joint you would be none the wiser. There is a small phone booth located on the left hand side, pop in, dial a number on the pay phone and an unseen door suddenly opens to reveal a concealed gem. Please Don’t Tell is quite remarkable, with a fantastic range of spirits including a brilliant selection of gin. We started off with a couple of Four Pillars, which were thankfully made with decent tonic, and threw us back to our honeymoon a couple of years ago. We then moved onto the cocktails. The bartenders here were completely on point, and exceptionally attentive. There was a great selection of drinks on the menu, but we went a little off piste, told them the type of drinks we enjoyed, the flavours we liked and they created the most delicious cocktails for us. Don’t ask me what our cocktails were called, because I don’t have a clue…but my oh my, they were stunning! I would highly recommend booking if you fancy visiting PDT, apparently we were very lucky to get a walk-in. Oh, and if you fancy some food…you can just order at the bar and have food popped through from Crif’s next door.
Accessed through the back wall of the Stone Street Coffee Company shop, Bathtub Gin is located at 132 9th Ave between 18th St and 19th St. We were really confused when we arrived here and it took us a while to figure out how to get into the place, but once in, oh my days this place was utterly jaw dropping. A well stocked bar area with some stools and small booths as you enter, followed by a dining area a little further back. Dimly lit and amazingly furnished, this place really does throw you straight back to the 1920s. As we went on Valentines day, and once again hadn’t booked, we were pretty lucky to get in and get seats. (This was more because of two lovely chaps who offered us theirs as it was valentines day!) So, the drinks were insane and the barmen just wonderful. I started off with an El Goucho, which was created, so he told me, by the Argentinian bartender who was serving us. A combination of Aviation gin, yellow chartreuse, house made mate syrup, fresh lemon, grapefruit bitters and fresh mint, shaken and served in a tall glass. I then moved on to The Musket followed by a couple of Negronis, then who knows…I lost track, but I did get to lounge in a beautiful copper bathtub while I was having a drink. Bathtub Gin is definitely a place you have to visit and I would absolutely advise making a reservation. Particularly if you want to go to one of their Burlesque Shows, which happen on a Tuesday and Sunday…gutted that we missed out on that.
Rainbow Room Bar 65
For our final night in New York Hubby and I headed to see a show on Broadway, then acted on a top tip from one of our friends back home. Already adorned in our best dress, we headed to the Rockefeller Centre and up, up UP to Rainbow Room Bar 65. We were shown to our little table for two, handed our menus and left to take it all in. The bar has three windowed walls which allows an unspoilt view of the Empire State Building and the rest Manhattan sprawled and illuminated below. The sight is breathtaking and quite humbling, a sudden realisation of just how small we really are. Filled with awe it was time for our final New York drinks. Hubby went for the Brooklyn while I chose the Astoria; Queen’s Courage Gin, Carpano Bianco and orange bitters, stirred with ice, then strained into a martini glass and garnished with a thin slice of lemon peel. The perfect end to an amazing getaway.
…and now I promise I’m done with my holiday gloating, well, until next time that is!