There are a lot of ways to drop serious coin at a bar: spend $500 on some Grey Goose and a carafe of OJ at a random club and call it “bottle service,”get arrested and fined for causing a public disturbance, or buy a round of shots for the house. Or you can make that investment worthwhile, with booze that provides a one-of-a-kind experience — like ordering bourbon made 70 years ago.
Fine & Rare, a stylish whisky and jazz joint in Midtown Manhattan, recently launched a secret menu featuring even finer and rarer offerings than you can normally find at the year-old spot. Think whiskey distilled while World War II raged on and wagyu beef medallions and crispy potatoes covered in gold foil. Even though the menu’s a “secret,” it’s available to anyone who asks. For a price.
This is the menu to ask for when you’re impressing The Perfect Date. Or closing a business deal. Or you know, screw it — whenever you deserve it.
Expect the lineup to evolve, but when we visited during the launch, you could find “Rare Drams,” like 2-oz pours of Old Grand Dad Bourbon (distilled in 1957, bottled in 1963, $76) and a Four Roses Rye from the 1940s ($131), which head bartender Joe Bennett says is really all it’s cracked up to be. Pappy Van Winkle fans will relish the chance to sip from a 1960 bottle of Old Fitzgerald made in the shuttered Stitzel-Weller distillery (the source of some of the most coveted components found in Pappy Van Winkle’s older expressions) for $164 a pour.
A smattering of creative dishes from chef David Arias accompany the booze, including a delicious large ravioli stuffed with truffled burrata soft cheese ($33) and a wildly elevated “surf and turf” featuring pan-seared wagyu beef medallions, Maine lobster poached in truffled butter, and the aforementioned crispy potato bits covered in edible gold ($250).
And finally, there are unusual cocktails highlighting similar exclusivity. The Light as a Feather ($110; pictured left) is could clearly count as dinner: a flight of three extra-aged Glenfiddich single malts, a cooked-at-your-table riff on the Scottish Cock-a-Leekie chicken soup, and three different pickled quail eggs designed to pair with the whiskies.
Or navigate towards the White Star Line ($80; pictured right) named for the historic cruise line whose flagship Titanic is best known. The drink features a complex blend of 21-year Appleton rum, 25-year Delord Bas-Armagnac (similar to Cognac), fresh grapefruit and lemon juice, a lemon oleo saccharum, absinthe, a foamy meringue made out of Champagne, and, of course, edible gold. Oh yeah, and the large frozen cube is cut to look like an iceberg. Too soon?
And of course there’s a $70 martini featuring fancy Beluga Gold vodka, Lillet Blanc, and a spoonful of caviar (“The really good stuff,” says co-owner Tommy Tardie).
Sure. these drinks cost an arm and a leg, but if you’re going to indulge, do it for real. I mean, what were you going to use that money for anyway? Health insurance?