by Shaun Layton | Though I’ve yet to visit the acclaimed Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog in New York City, it’s just one of those places I’m confident I’ll love. Following the leads of nearby Death & Co. and PDT, the Manhattan tavern now has its own book out. But proprietors Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry have released much more than just a tome of cocktail recipes. It’s also a tale of two childhood friends who grew up during tough times in Belfast.
The lads took to bartending as a way to survive, but after travelling to pioneering cocktail cities like London, they brought cocktail culture and proper hospitality home to the Merchant Hotel, where they established a new kind of hotel bar, one that combined the service of a 5 star hotel and the innovation of a small cocktail bar. They won “Best Bar in the World” at Tales of the Cocktail in 2010, an award usually reserved for stateside haunts. This was a major win for the two, but they felt they had more to prove. That meant a bold move, starting from scratch in a new city.
Opened in February 2013, The Dead Rabbit – named after an infamous 19th century Irish street gang – sports a tavern (with reportedly delicious food), a small cocktail bar, and room for private events. In its first year, the place earned countless accolades, including the title of World’s Best New Cocktail Bar – a remarkable achievement.
Beyond the personal stories, the book features recipes from an era largely uncharted by modern bartenders. Punches, flips, toddys, and fixes are scattered throughout, and beautifully photographed. It will seriously challenge the novice home bartender, just as it will enthusiasts and those in the trade. It will also very probably inspire your next trip to New York. It certainly has mine!