Monday, March 03, 2008

Drinks for Your Inner (or Outer) Snob

Rhum Cure at Madeline Mae, Upper West Side

Way back in 2001 when I was an eager just-out-of-college Hill staffer, I attended a party celebrating the passage of campaign finance reform. "Oooh, " my friend Sherry exclaimed as we walked in, "Free apple martinis." I distinctly remember the thrill of imbibing such a "fancy" cocktail, gratis.

These days my astronomical liquor snob level means I wouldn't touch a neon green syrupy vodka concoctions with a ten-foot pole. Even if I had an Apple Pucker craving, it'd be difficult to satisfy, as many bars have moved on to more obscure, artisanal booze and beers.

J and I have hita sample of such barslately, enjoying some of the snobbiest (dare I say trendiest?) drinks New York has to offer. First we sampled homemade rhum cures at the new Madeline Mae on the Upper West Side. These infused rhums are made for sippin', and run from the wintery, savory types, full of vanilla and cinnamon, to the fruity, tropical ones. At $10 a pop, they're a nice way to end the evening in lieu of port or coffee.

Scenes from Gramercy Park HotelGramercy Park Hotel: Lightbulb ceiling; atmosphere; my friend Ben checks out Damien Hirst's medicine cabinet.

Further downtown, J and I had the dumb luck to end up on the guests-only rooftop patio bar at The Gramercy Park Hotel (If you don't have any friends that are fancy-pants lawyers, try to acquire some--trust me, it's worth it). The amazing city views and the Warhol, Hirst and Schnabel pieces on display made $18 for our Elderflower Smashes seem almost (but not quite) reasonable. If you aren't a guest/with a guest, you can drink the same beverage in the lobby-level Jade Bar, a cozy if slightly intimidating spot. Through the Jade Bar you can also visit the Rose Bar, though I understand reservations are advised and you may want to call RIGHT NOW to secure your space for July--because paying through the nose for a drink is a privilege, not a right.

Finally, this past weekend J and I trekked to Williamsburg for a friend's concert. Pre-show, we slipped into Spuyten Duyvil, a bar that takes it's beer very seriously. Even if you're a certified beer expert, these guys will have something you've never heard of before. I loved the old-school maps and diagrams on the wall nearly as much as my Defiant Tripel. Prices run the gamut, but there are many cheap ($5ish) options. As soon as the weather warms up, I'm planning a return trip for a brew in their back patio followed by a meal across the street at BBQ joint, Fette Sau.

Madeline Mae
461 Columbus Ave (at 82nd)
New York, NY

Gramercy Park Hotel
2 Lexington Ave (at Gramercy Park)
New York, NY 10010

Spuyten Duyvil
359 Metropolitan Ave (at Union)
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

*Really, ask anyone, and I'm a snob about nearly everything. Except Legally Blonde: The Musical. Best. Broadway Show. EVER.

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