“The idea that New York was ever dead for a second was outrageous,” says Madeleine Barry, the Director of Bars at the New York EDITION hotel. (Yes, that’s her actual title.)
“New York City was always going to bounce back. The city dealt with everything really well and how it persevered shows its strength of character.”
– Madeleine Barry
A few blocks away from the greenery of Madison Square Park and in the shadow of the Empire State Building lies the bustling hotel known for its chic ambiance, attention to detail, and serious pedigree. The New York EDITION, a flagship property of the brand, opened in 2015 and has earned a reputation as a jewel in the acclaimed hotel chain, which counts locations in Abu Dhabi, West Hollywood, California, Tokyo and nearby Times Square.
Here at its location off bustling Madison Avenue, the EDITION fits right in as its steps away from Daniel Bolud’s famed Eleven Madison Park and the high end shops along the corridor. Still, the trendy atmosphere doesn’t overpower its charm. While many similar hotels are outfitted with cramped rooms and dim lighting, the space here is brilliantly lit; whether soft lights in the rooms or an array of candles in its artful lobby. And while it’s a New York Hotel, rooms are sprawling; complete with spacious bathrooms (think: fluffy towels and Le Labo toiletries) and massive windows which overlook the city below. The minimalist design with a decor that’s either rich black or bright white offers guests an experience that is both modern yet homey; a rare trick, indeed.
It’s those same qualities which are also on full display at the EDITION’s Lobby Bar. Flanked by comfortable couches and those aforementioned flickering candles, it’s located just off the front entrance of the hotel which makes it accessible yet tucked away. The bar is a subtle gem; full of homemade concoctions, its high quality menu is the brainchild of both Barry and bartender Ian Hardie, a longtime cocktail veteran of nearby Brooklyn’s now-shuttered Huckleberry Bar.
“The menu we have now at the Lobby Bar is a hybrid of two menus developed before the pandemic.”
– Ian Hardie
It’s a disparate assortment, whether their Dill Seeker (which includes stand-out ingredients ranging from a Volcan Blanco Tequila to a Cucumber Dill Syrup and Cardamom Tincture), or the Smoke and Spice which, true to its name, boasts smoked bell pepper.
In fact, according to Barry, the spicier the cocktails, the more popular. “It’s not necessarily a seasonal thing,” she notes.”You associate spice with colder weather, but people are into those flavors year round.”
It’s a celebratory mood at the Lobby Bar these days, especially considering the location shuttered for well over a year: from March 2020 to May 2021. As a result, Hardie has had plenty of time to experiment. “I have a bookful of cocktails I was building for the next man sitting around on my couch for a year having nothing to do,” he explains.
“One of the big experiments I’ve been working on has been developing syrups, trying to use a more creative base other than water for a more complex flavor profile,” Hardie says. “It’s nothing revolutionary, just infusing flavors into one ingredient. So what I was doing on my couch was trying to take as much complexity as possible and distill it.”
These days, visitors and business are coming back to the Big Apple incrementally. “We get a good flow of people here,” Barry says. “Within days of re-opening we were flooded with familiar faces. I think this area has a solid yardstick of how things are going. The streets are getting busier and busier.”
Below, Ian Hardie shared his recipe for Cinnamon Lillet, as found in the New York EDITION Lobby Bar’s Golden Hour, which he says is a real crowd pleaser. “But the first step is knowing what Lillet Blanc is,” Hardie notes of the aromatized wine. “It’s not as shelf stable as a spirit. You have to treat it like a juice or something that could go bad.”
The New York EDITION Lobby Bar’s Cinnamon Lillet
- Place six whole cinnamon sticks into a sealable quart container or jar. According to Hardie, the cinnamon doesn’t have to be a special variation. Also, they need to be sticks. “Powdered cinnamon wouldn’t work here,” he explains.
- Pour a full 750ml bottle of Lillet Blanc into a container of the cinnamon sticks and seal.
- Place in a dark fridge. “The amount of time it takes to get flavor to get out of it takes about three days,” Hardie notes. “You can also leave it for three weeks, depending on intensity. We had one sitting in our fridge for a full year (during the time the EDITION was closed) and it was amazing. Very intense.”
- Once you reach your desired time and intensity, strain the infused Lillet Blanc out. But don’t get rid of the cinnamon. “You can add another bottle of Lillet to the same sticks and get the same infusion, repeating the process five or six more times,” Hardie says. “It’s a dense bark, after all. Your second infusion might even be better than the first one.”