When Tommy Tardie opened Fine & Rare in Manhattan’s Murray Hill in 2017, he deliberately resisted the urge to re-create the speakeasy-style vibe he’d given his first venture, the Flatiron Room. There’s something to be said, though, for the speakeasy’s secretive, insiders-only nature, which Tardie appreciates—as do his customers. As a perk of sorts to those in the know, Fine & Rare is rolling out a small but potent new private menu. Available by request only, the menu offers opulent, eye-catching cocktails and food, along with a selection of rare vintage spirits.
The most exciting of the three private-menu cocktails is the White Star Line ($80). Named after the shipping company that operated the Titanic, it’s only fitting that the drink sports a Champagne meringue “iceberg” in its center, along with a dusting of gold flakes—perhaps a tribute to the well-heeled passengers on the ill-fated cruise. Made with Appleton 21 Year Old rum and 25 Year Old Delord Bas-Armagnac—along with fresh-squeezed grapefruit and lemon juice and a house-made cinnamon, orange, and lemon oleosaccharum—it’s a fascinating take on a tropical cocktail that mixes summer and winter flavors.
The Light as a Feather ($110) is a combination whisky flight/small dish, featuring a trio of Glenfiddich whiskies—the 15-, 18-, and 21-year-old expressions. Each whisky is paired with a pickled quail egg highlighting the flavor of the dram. To complete the journey to Speyside, a bowl of cock-a-leekie soup fortified with Glenfiddich is prepared tableside, as well.
Perhaps the most surprising drink of the trio is a vodka martini called From Russia With Love ($70). Vodka is not beloved among many spirits snobs nowadays, but this version—made with Siberian vodka distilled from malted barley and Lillet Blanc in place of vermouth—is well-nigh perfect. It’s garnished with a spoonful of Beluga caviar; the briny notes play beautifully off the crispness of the vodka and the light sweetness of the Lillet. It’s a martini that should convert, for one cocktail at least, even die-hard gin lovers.
For fans of vintage spirits, a quartet of rare American whiskeys, distilled from the 1940s to the ’60s, will be available by the pour. The roster will change as new bottles become available and others get drained, but the current lineup is Old Grand Dad 6-year-old bourbon bottled in 1963 ($76/ounce); I.W. Harper 7-year-old bourbon bottled in 1968 ($55); Kentucky Tavern 6-year-old bourbon bottled in 1953 ($76); and, most intriguingly, a rye from the famed bourbon distillery Four Roses, bottled in the 1940s ($131). These whiskeys may not match the sophistication of today’s extra-aged small-batch fare, but they’re delicious in their own right—and it’s a rare opportunity to drink the actual booze our grandparents may have had 50, 60, or even 70 years ago.
A meal to go with all the drinks can be assembled from the secret menu, as well, including a burrata ravioli cooked in parchment paper with truffle oil and served in a mushroom broth ($33); an extravagant, truffle-laden surf-and-turf pairing called Land and Sea ($250), featuring a Wagyu beef filet and poached lobster claws, each cooked in a truffle sauce, along with a crispy potato dipped in edible gold; and a stunning chocolate dessert designed to look like a porcini mushroom ($30), right down to the chocolate soil and spun-sugar grass on which it rests.
Fine & Rare’s secret menu is available starting March 5. No code words or elaborate hand signals are required—simply asking for it will do the trick.