Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Barfly's Beat: The RYE House

A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of attending the Dining & Libation Society's Fat Tuesday celebration at the Flatiron neighborhood's newest addition, Rye House. It was our first DLS event and what sold us was the venue and the gang behind the dark wood oak bar.

The Ringers: The top shelf talent behind the bar included Lynette Marrero and Jim Kearns (previously of Freemans and Woodson & Ford) rolling vintage New Orleans cocktails that included the Vieux Carre (pronouced Voh Cah-ray), The Sazarac, French 75, and an original recipe called the Baton Rouge.

The Party: Brooklyn’s premiere Dixie Land Band, the  Red Hook Ramblers set the tempo with some hot New Orleans jazz in the back room. Meanwhile, the bar was packed like Bourbon Street and I mean that literally. They had to begin bring the passed hors d'ourves through the front door because revelers in the front of the house were getting nothing. When the food started flowing, it was well worth the wait. Macaroni and cheese balls. Jambalaya. Turducken. Crayfish Po Boys. Oysters on the half shell. And so much more.

Best part of the evening was when Lynnette and Jim prepared the quintessential New Orleans cocktail - The Ramos Gin Fizz - and then handed the shakers to the crowd gathered around the bar. The task -  to shake - Huey Long style  for 12 MINUTES! Lynnette was timing it too and enjoying the break from the non-stop service.

The Regulars: We want to add that Rye House is a great place to get a cocktail any day during the week. So don't give it up for Lent. Besides the outstanding barkeepers, 50 types of whiskey, artisanal cocktails, and oh so bad for you comfort food, it is come as you are. The mission statement does not include trying to be a speak easy but it is not a typical New York watering hole. True, the barkeepers wear vest, shirts, and ties, but in my view, that is proper attire for a craftsman or craftswoman. Save the ironic t-shirts for after hours at the dive bars and flat screens for the sports bar.

One of my favorite poisons at this House of Whiskey has no whiskey at all! May we indulge you with the Creole Daiquiri.  They had me at Chorizo infused mezcal but this potable hits a home run because it is so well balanced.
Creole Daiquiri
1 oz New Orleans 3-year aged rum
1 oz Sombra mezcal infused with chorizo
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
3/4 oz sugarcane syrup
1 barspoon pomegranate molasses
3 dashes of Regan’s Orange Bitters

Combine ingredients in mixing glass, add ice, shake rigorously and serve up in a coupe.
Some other favorites include:
Fleur de Lis (Aviation gin, St-Germain, lemon, orange bitters, champagne)
Rye House Punch (Chai-infused Rittenhouse Rye, Batavia Arrack, lemon, grapefruit, angostura bitters, soda)
American  Highball (Buffalo Trace, Averna, soda, orange slice)
and the Clara Bow (Bulleit Bourbon, St.-Germain, house made grenadine, lemon, mint)
The Inside Scoop: After trying all of the above go "off the menu" with this winter cocktail perfected:
Lion's Tail
2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon
1/4 oz St Elizabeth Allspice Dram
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2oz Simple Syrup
Dash of Angostura bitters

Shake with ice and serve up in a coupe.
Please check out Rye House. Sample their whiskey selection or original cocktails. You will not be disappointed.

11 W 17th St (btw 5th & 6th Ave)

- Fredo

(photo courtesy of Kathleen "K-Rey"Reynolds)

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