While some are embracing the idea of this decade become a new Roaring ’20s, others are looking back even further for inspiration—all the way to the Gilded Age.
The Gold Room at the Lotte New York Palace is hoping to conjure that era with its new “Art of the Martini” menu, whose star is the $250 Reserve Martini. That might seem like a high price to pay for a drink that’s simply made of gin and vermouth, but it makes a bit more sense when you realize that the gin you’ll be sipping is Nolet’s Reserve version, which sells for $700 a bottle. The small-batch gin is infused with botanicals including saffron—which can retail for as much as $5,000 a pound—lending the spirit a beautiful light-gold color.
The opulence of the menu is meant to harken back to a time when New York was the center of luxury. During the Gilded Age, which spanned from 1870 to 1900, New York experienced rapid growth, with people using their money to enjoy the city’s nightlife and luxury spaces. Now, with the city experiencing a revitalization of sorts after two-plus years of pandemic restrictions, the Gold Room is hoping that New Yorkers take inspiration from that time and indulge in what the bar has to offer.
And what it has to offer is eight unique martinis, made with premium spirits not typically associated with the martini. Along with the Reserve, the Master Distiller Martini ($125) is made with Harlen D. Wheatley CLIX vodka, a spirit produced by the same distiller behind Pappy Van Winkle and retails for about $300 a bottle. Elsewhere on the menu, you’ll find Martinis made with tequila (the Clasé, priced at $65) and even soju (the Seoul-ful, priced at $25).
Besides the drinks themselves, the vibe of the bar will also transport you back to the New York of Edith Wharton and John D. Rockefeller. The Gold Room’s suspended balcony and gilt ceilings, walls and wainscoting live up to the bar’s name, and provide an apt location for imbibing in such top-shelf drinks.
So, shaken or stirred? Seems like that decision might be best left to the bartender serving up your $250 martini.