Dead Rabbit NYC
[Originally Posted August 2014] A business associate and friend were looking at office space in Manhattan which led us to Water Street. Its already 2pm so barely anyone is in there. It would have been helpful for me to know the upstairs Parlor does not open until 5pm with its award-winning list of cocktails, so we wound up downstairs at the Tap Room where an abbreviated list of cocktails were served. The reality is, I was not going to have more than two of them anyway.
So, what better on a hot august day than a cocktail with watermelon in it? Well the American Hustle really didn’t cut it for me. The drink combined everything I love, Bulleit Rye, watermelon, lime, pomegrante, rosehip, and Bittermens Burlesque Bitters, but the only thing I can keep thinking is that the watermelon upstaged everything else and really did no justice to the other ingredients. I drank it. At $14 per drink I wasn’t going to turn it back or push itaside. But here is the thing. The menu reads one way but the bartender makes it a different way. For example, how did this lemon wedge end up in the drink? If its just a garnish, I don’t have a problem with it, however I can’t help but wonder if the bartender deviated from the menu and therefore taking away from a cocktail that must have been agonized over to create. I don’t think these drinks are haphazardly created, especially if they have won the awards for best new cocktail lounge. In any case, I had a friendly conversation with the bartender, and we had to agree to disagree on this one. The watermelon did not compliment the other ingredients, but only dominated and all but eliminated them.
But now it was on to lunch. We ordered. and while the wait was a bit long, there was plenty to keep us occupied. The sawdust on the floor, old photos and miniature bottles hanging from the ceiling, and of course music playing from what sounded like the turn of the century. I am going to guess late 1800s over early 1900s. Definitely pre-prohibition.
My friend ordered Fish & Chips. He said its the best he’d ever had. I decided on the oyster sliders. Three of them were $12, and so I ordered some chips on the side. I know its Manhattan, but $9 is a lot for a side of french fries. They were good nonetheless, and served with 3 different dipping condiments: ketchup, curry sauce, mayonnaise, but not your typical squeeze-bottle type, these were all homemade and/or small batch creations. The sliders, well, not really sure why they took 20 minutes to prepare and I can’t really say they were the best fried oysters I ever had. In fact, I couldn’t really taste them beneath the “Sesame Seed Profiteroles”, Cucumber Slaw, and Tartar Sauce.
So now that the food has finally arrived, I am ready for a 2nd cocktail. I opted for the Old Mule Skinner with Old Forester Bourbon, Yellow Chartreuse, lime, papaya, honey and Bittermens Tiki Bitters. This one really hit the spot and was exactly what I was looking for. I know the bitters quite well, they are actually named Elemakule Tiki Bitters, but that was one note that stood out quite well. The top was garnished with fresh grated nutmeg. This is my kind of drink. Now we are talking a perfect cocktail.
This was an interesting experience. I will definitely give it another try, but definitely after 5pm up in The Parlor when the real deal begins which they are noted for. If all else fails, this is the place to come to have a good beer in a non-cliche atmosphere.