My final stop in New York was at a Manhattan landmark—The Carlyle Hotel. My guests and I were greeted at the door by white-gloved men in impeccable uniforms who showed us the way to the bar. Bemelmans Bar is so-named because its walls are decorated with artist Ludwig Bemelmans’ mural “Central Park,” featuring the much-loved Madeline and her classmates. The room centers around a grand piano, which was played by Chris Gillespie on this particular evening, and the staff is attentive and informed.
My waiter explained the cocktail menu in great detail before suggesting their famous Carlyle Punch. When I inquired as to the drink’s ingredients, he said it is made different nightly and its exact contents could not be shared, though he did point out it featured several fresh-squeezed fruit juices.
There is certainly an emphasis on fresh ingredients and craft bartending at Bemelmans. Don’t expect the bartender to fix you a drink in seconds—they will not be rushed. Instead, sit back and enjoy the show, as the skilled craftsmen work their magic.
Not surprisingly, the Carlyle Punch was delicious. It was superbly flavorful and tropical with Rum, fresh-squeezed fruit juices, bitters, triple sec (which always pairs well with fresh juice), grenadine and many more ingredients I couldn’t quite determine. Refreshing, crisp, and a little bit sweet, it was the perfect drink to end a wonderful day in New York. Hopefully it will not be long before I visit once again.