Hidden History: The Rum House brings class from the past to Times Square

18 Apr

I rarely find myself trekking to Times Square for anything other than to fight the Christmas crowds at Toys R Us. However, my husband and I decided to head uptown to The Rum House at the Hotel Edison for a couple drinks after a dinner of shellfish and Champagne at The John Dory in Flatiron. Newly reopened by the gentlemen behind Ward III in Tribeca—a sultry den of bespoke cocktails that are created according to the customer’s tastes—the revamped lounge puts a strong emphasis on the spirit distilled from molasses or sugarcane.

The cocktail menu is divided into three sections: “Rum,” “Classics” and “House Originals.” The first category includes rum-based beverages like the Mojito and the Rum Old Fashioned. I started off with a refreshing drink called the Tortuga, which mixes Pampero aged rum, citrus, fresh ginger and cinnamon ($12), garnished with candied ginger.

My husband’s usual Manhattan fell under the “Classics” heading, which also lists standards like a traditional Bourbon Old Fashioned and a French 75/76 made with gin or vodka. The Rum House’s take on the Manhattan uses spicy Templeton rye whiskey ($14) for an extra kick.

The “House Originals” features more adventurous libations with names that evoke famous figures from old Hollywood and early-20th century artists. The Barrymore comprises Bruichladdich Scotch, Ramazzotti amaro and Yellow Chartreuse ($15), and the Diego Rivera combines Corazón Tequila, Meletti amaro, Bonal Gentiane-Quina aperitif, citrus and egg white ($11). For my second drink, I instead opted for one of my favorites—the Dark & Stormy—from the “Rum” section. The rich, gingery concoction offered an effervescent zing.

On a Saturday evening between 7 and 8 p.m., The Rum House was surprisingly quiet. There were a few other patrons, who seemed to be out-of-towners staying at the Hotel Edison. The vintage décor, including an upright piano, leather banquettes and a wagon wheel chandelier, enhanced the vintage vibe, and the quality of the drinks far outweighed the relatively low prices—especially for a tourist trap like Time Square. It’s a perfect pocket of solace surrounded by chaos, and you’d be hard-pressed to find better drinks in even the hippest New York City neighborhood.

© Amber Drea and New York Drinkie, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of images and text without express and written permission is strictly prohibited. Excerpts may be used, provided that clear credit is given to Amber Drea and New York Drinkie with links directing to the original content.

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