So many things in 2011 have been cheers-worthy; I’ve had a major (excellent) career change and began working on a new blog professionally (you can still find my resto reccos here). While I know it’s been a spell since I’ve had time to visit with you all, my recent trip to Lantern’s Keep gave me a reason to come out of retirement. This classy little Midtown speakeasy is giving the cocktail shops Downtown a run for their money and giving me another reason to cheers.
On this particular cold and rainy evening, stepping inside the Iroquois Hotel (W 44th St btwn 5th/6th Aves) was a thoroughly welcomed escape. Through the lobby, I spotted the lavish digs Lantern’s Keep calls home – the rich chocolate woods are complemented with plush blue Venetian-style seating and a fireplace nestled in the back corner will warm the crowd of cocktail enthusiasts during winter months. The menu, which features selections crafted by head bar keep Theo Lieberman, stays true to the classics while infusing its spirits with creativity as much as the ingredients themselves.
My standout cocktail of the evening (like I was really stopping at one!) had to be the Wildest Redhead ($14). Served in a lowball glass with a glacial-sized rock of ice, this scotch-based concoction plays on the warm aromas of all-spice with the belly-heating effects of its spirit base. The drink is best when consumed through a chilled metal stirrer-straw, as provided by the Keep’s tender. Another favorite was the Mexican Bouquet ($14), which leans heavily on blanco tequila while letting the St Germain Elderflower liquor and rose syrup whisper a lovely floral perfume.
The charcuterie plate featured an array of cheeses, meats, fruit and warm fresh bread served on a slate and smartly labeled so I’d never confuse my Vermont Shepherd with the Tickler Cheddar (as if!) This and other petite plates prepared by The Iroquois’ Executive Chef Jason Tillman are portioned perfectly to keep your worst hungers at bay. And no, I’m not talking about that hankering for your next cocktail, there’s no helping that desire. Not that there’s anything wrong with having another one when the drinks are flowing at the Lantern’s Keep – and to that, let’s cheers.