New York – Five Boroughs Cocktails

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Today, we hit the bigtime, New York. There’s so much going on in the Empire State that a lot of categories will be filled with options. So, let’s take a bite out of the Big Apple and see how it tastes:

Motto: “Excelsior (Ever upward)” – And spinning… constantly spinning!

Food: As far as the Sip Advisor is concerned, the complete meal of New York-created foods is a Club Sandwich with side Potato Chips, finished with a slice of New York Cheesecake for dessert. Other creations worth mentioning include Buffalo Wings, Eggs Benedict, Chicken and Waffles, Waldorf Salad, Red Velvet Cake, and even Jell-O.

Drink: There is a cocktail for each of the five boroughs that make up New York City. This includes The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island Ferry drinks. New York can also be credited with the Long Island Iced Tea, Penicillin, Cosmopolitan, Martini, Appletini, Bloody Mary, Tom Collins, and New York Sour beverages.

Club Sandwich

Site to See: When Mrs. Sip and I were in New York City for far too short of a visit, we tried to see as much as we could. Our stops included Times Square, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Madison Square Garden, Central Park, and Grand Central Station. Outside of New York City, Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in the country.

Street: Three industry hubs (financial, advertising, theatrical) can be found along New York City streets. First, Wall Street is home to the New York Stock Exchange, the largest in the world. Second, numerous ad agencies call Madison Avenue home, used as the setting for TV show Mad Men. Finally, Broadway is the epicenter of American theatre, with playhouses lining the route.

TV Show: The next time I’m in New York, I plan to take a TV show tour, given all the great shows that have been set in the state. These include Seinfeld, Friends, How I Met Your Mother, 30 Rock, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, All in the Family, The King of Queens, Taxi, Law & Order, Sex and the City, and I Love Lucy.  Shows that can’t be toured, but deserve mention, include Futurama, Saturday Night Live, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Sesame Street.

Movie: Another tough category to narrow down, I have to go with one of my all-time favourites, It’s a Wonderful Life. Starring Jimmy Stewart, this story of truly appreciating what you have, has become a Christmas classic, shown every holiday season. Honourable mentions include the Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchises, as well as The Warriors.

Wonderful Life

Book/Author: So many comic books are set in New York, including the likes of Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, and Dr. Strange. All of these entries share the common thread that each was created or co-created by New Yorker Stan Lee. Lee is also responsible for other popular characters, such as the X-Men, Thor, Hulk, Black Panther, and Ant-Man.

Fictional Character: As a child, the Sip Advisor loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon and movies. The heroes in a half shell dwelled in the sewers of the New York City, being trained in martial arts by Splinter, before being required to save the city and world from evildoers. Associates of the Turtles, such as reporter April O’Neil and vigilante Casey Jones are also New Yorkers.

Fictional City: Riverdale, setting of the Archie Comics universe, is generally thought to be located in New York. This means the nearby towns of Greendale (Sabrina the Teenage Witch) and Midvale (Josie and the Pussycats) are also likely in the state. The earliest Archie Comics reference the real-life Bronx neighbourhood Riverdale, but this changed as the series progressed.

Actor/Actress: A number of today’s A-list stars were born in New York. Among them, are Tom Cruise, Robert De Niro, Robert Downey Jr., Anne Hathaway, Scarlet Johansson, Al Pacino, and Denzel Washington. A couple legends of the big and small screen also called the state home, including Lucille Ball, Humphrey Bogart, Kirk Douglas and Mickey Rooney.

Stan Lee

Song: This category is down to two choices: New York, New York by Frank Sinatra and Empire State of Mind by Jay Z and Alicia Keys. Both are fitting anthems for New York City, as well as the rest of the state. I guess it all depends on your preferred style of music. If you don’t like either, artists such as Billy Joel and The Beastie Boys also have New York-based tracks.

Band/Musician: Another category filled with great options. I’ll go with The Ramones, as one of the first punk rock groups and revolutionaries for that style. Although not related, band members all adopted the last name Ramone. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.

People: Women’s rights icon, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was born in Brooklyn. After a lengthy legal career, she was appointed to U.S. Supreme Court, in 1993. Nicknamed The Notorious R.B.G., Ginsburg was the subject of the 2018 biographical film, On the Basis of Sex, starring Felicity Jones. There’s even been a Sam Adams beer released in her honour.

Animal: After a history of incidents, including killing a circus spectator, Topsy the Elephant was sentenced to death by hanging, as part of a publicity stunt. The ASPCA objected to the public event (with admission to be charged), but eventually allowed for Topsy to be hung, poisoned and electrocuted. Footage of the 1903 execution exists, recorded by the Thomas Edison’s film company.

RBG

Invention: George Eastman, founder of the Eastman Kodak Company, patented the first film roll in 1884, which was eventually used with his Kodak Black camera, developed in 1888. His film also became the standard used for early motion pictures. The George Eastman Museum, in Rochester, is the oldest photography museum in the world, with an extensive film archive.

Crime: A few significant assassinations have taken place in New York, including the murders of U.S. President William McKinley, civil rights activist Malcolm X and musician John Lennon. McKinley was shot as he appeared at the 1901 Pan-American Expo. Malcolm X was swarmed by three members of the Nation of Islam, wounded 21 times. Lennon was killed outside his home by a man he had earlier signed an autograph for.

Law: In New York, it’s illegal to talk to a stranger in an elevator. There goes all that awkward small talk with people. I kind of hope this law has legs and spread outside the state.

Sports Team: New York City is a busy sporting hub with teams such as the Yankees and Mets (MLB), Knicks and Nets (NBA) and Islanders and Rangers (NHL). Buffalo also has a couple teams in the Bills (NFL) and Sabres (NHL). Although named New York, both the Jets and Giants (NFL) play in New Jersey. There’s also a ton of NCAA sports going on across the state.

Film

Athlete: Two of basketballs greatest players of all-time were born in New York City boroughs. Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were dominant athletes, winning six NBA Championships each. There’s also controversial boxer and ‘Baddest Man on the Planet’, Mike Tyson, the youngest fighter to ever win a heavyweight title.

Famous Home: There are a number of New York landmarks related to former U.S. Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and his cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Teddy Roosevelt Birthplace and Sagamore Hill estate were homes to Teddy at opposite ends of his life. Meanwhile, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, in Hyde Park, is where FDR hosted his famous fireside chats.

Urban Legend: In 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered six of his family members, in their Amityville home. A year later, the Lutz family moved into the home and began experiencing paranormal activity. These events inspired The Amity Horror franchise, with much debate over the authenticity of the Lutz’s accounts. The home still stands, although the address was changed to discourage visitors.

Museum: The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, in Cooperstown, is a mecca for baseball lovers. Built in 1939, by the heir to the Singer Sewing Machine fortune, exhibits today include Baseball at the Movies, One for the Books (about records set by players and teams), a walkthrough history of the sport, the Hall of Fame plaque gallery, and many others.

Mike Tyson

Firsts: The first pizzeria in the U.S. opened in New York City, in 1905. Lombardi’s Pizza still operates today, but was closed at one point for 10 years, before moving a block away from the original location. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the pizzeria first opening, pizzas were sold for only 5 cents, the price of a pie (they don’t sell slices) in 1905.

Company: All the major TV networks are headquartered in New York City, including ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox. Top cable channels, such as HBO and Comedy Central also call NYC home. This, along with the city having some of the top newspapers, publishing houses and record companies, has led to it being called the media capital of the world.

Events: When two planes were flown into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the world stood still. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for what was later dubbed the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which also included a plane crashing into the Pentagon and another into a field in Pennsylvania. All tolled, 2,977 people were killed, with a further 25,000 injured.

Miscellaneous: The ‘I Love New York’ (I ❤ NY) campaign, was launched in 1977, to bring attention to the state’s tourism industry. It included the famous slogan, logo and a song. ‘I Love New York’ has become the State Slogan and the logo – created by graphic designed, Milton Glaser, using a red crayon, while riding in a taxi – can be seen on all matters of souvenirs.

Five Boroughs 2

The Bronx

  • 2 oz Gin
  • 0.25 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.25 oz Dry Vermouth
  • Top with Orange Juice
  • Garnish with an Orange Twist

Brooklyn

  • 1 oz Whiskey
  • 0.5 oz Dry Vermouth
  • 0.25 oz Maraschino Liqueur
  • Dash of Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Manhattan

  • 2 oz Whiskey
  • 0.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Queens

  • 1 oz Gin
  • 1 oz Dry Vermouth
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Top with Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

Staten Island Ferry

  • 2 oz Coconut Rum
  • Top with Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish with a Pineapple Wedge/Coconut Shavings

There are so many cocktail options from the state of New York and I felt doing all five New York City boroughs cocktails was the best solution. For those keeping track, that meant 12 ounces of booze needed to be consumed, so you can bet the Sip Advisor enjoyed the experiment.

Sip Trips #4 – Wild Weekend

As we continued the celebration of Mrs. Sip’s birthday, the weekend got off on the right note with a fantastic meal at The Keg in Yaletown. We got a table on their beautiful rooftop patio, which even in January is the place to be for a fun night out.

As per usual, I ordered the Prime Rib Burger, which is routinely one of the finest meals I’ve ever enjoyed. It will forever perplex me that it’s also one of the cheapest items (only $12) on the restaurant’s menu, but let’s keep that our little secret!

Well-Rounded Diet

With the meal, I enjoyed a Kentucky Buck cocktail (Keg-Sized, of course!), which combines bourbon, muddled strawberries, lemon juice and ginger beer, followed by a Manhattan, complete with three ounces of booze! Both drinks were very good and I’d recommend them to anyone, but particularly fans of bourbon.

The next night, we hit one of Vancouver’s newest craft breweries, Steel Toad. The facility is one of the nicest in town, with a top-notch staff of bartenders and servers. While I haven’t found a beer on their menu that blows my mind, they have a growing repertoire of solid choices. The beers I did try this time around, included the Saison Sauvignon, Double Hop Pale Ale, and Berliner Weisse.

While the beer is coming along, I can say without any doubt that they’ve got their food menu nailed down. I really enjoyed the Hawaiian pizza I ordered, while Mrs. Sip swears by the cauliflower beignet, complete with curry mayonnaise that I swiped for my pizza! The hot sauce chicken wings were also pretty good, with the burn subdued by shots of Jameson Irish Whiskey, shaken with ice. One member of the Sip Syndicate is a major proponent of drinking Jameson shots this way and I think he might be onto something.

Whiskey Doctor

Mrs. Sip was working hard last week to provide content for the Out and About articles. She picked up the Steel & Oak/Four Winds collaboration brew, which I’m really looking forward to trying and I’m surprised it has survived this long in our fridge. I’ll have more on the Gratzer, when we finally crack it open.

She also booked us on the Vancouver Brewery Tours Beer, Chocolate and Spirits Tour for Valentine’s Day. With stops at a few places we’ve been meaning to visit, such as Strange Fellowes Brewing, Odd Society Spirits, and Storm Brewing, this excursion will provide a wonderful way to spend the big day with the one I love… oh, and Mrs. Sip will be there too!

In pseudo-alcohol news, it was recently reported that a high speed rail line connecting Vancouver and Portland may be in the works, proposed by Cascadia High Speed Rail company. The train would connect the two cities in under two hours and would be a craft beer lovers dream. It would cost billions of dollars to construct and is many years away from ever being realized, but we can hope, right!

February 3 – Bill Murray

On the Rocks

Groundhog

As a bit of a carryover from yesterday’s post, in the movie Groundhog Day, Phil Connors (Bill Murray) orders “sweet vermouth on the rocks, with a twist,” his producer Rita’s (Andie MacDowell) favourite drink, in a bid to get closer to her. He learns this on the first day of his Groundhog Day loop and tries to exploit it on subsequent repeated days. Apparently this is the actual favourite drink of director Harold Ramis’ wife. So, given that I’m doing this challenge and I’m always open to new recipes, I thought I’d give it a shot. First though, here are some other drinks that are enjoyed on the rocks:

Scotch

I’ve only got into Scotch over the last few years, but I really enjoy it. In that time, I’ve been lucky to sample some really good stuff (thanks to some very generous friends and family) and most recently I met the pinnacle of drinking when I was able to have a glass of Ron Swanson’s (Parks and Recreation) favourite libation Lagavulin 16 Year Old. Imagine me, a mild-mannered drink jockey getting to enjoy this fine substance… let the good times roll! (See January 8 – Scotch on the Rocks for further reading)

Disaronno (Amaretto)

This is one of my favourite end-of-night, unwinding drinks. A couple cubes and a splash of Disaronno is all I need before bedtime. Call it nappy time juice! It used to be that cookies and milk were all I needed but then I entered my 30’s! Okay, I’m not there yet, but cookies and milk have been pushed aside for liqueurs and whatever is lying around the house that resembles food. It doesn’t really matter, I’ll eat anything.

Southern Comfort

I first tried Southern Comfort on the rocks on my honeymoon cruise and enjoyed it enough to buy a bottle. I’m curious to try some of the other Southern Comfort flavours out there, such as Fiery Pepper, Bold Black Cherry, plus one mama Sip Advisor told me about (this drinking is a family thing, after all), Lime. So, I have the perfect evening planned: southern BBQ, washed down by SoCo!

Southern Comfort

Courvoisier (Cognac)

Now, I’ve only had this once before, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. Perhaps it holds a place in my heart because it helped me fall asleep on a flight, which I’m rarely able to do. I also love how it was regularly featured in the Ladies Man skits on Saturday Night Live. Great choice, Leon!

Ladies Man

Bailey’s Irish Crème

This last one is geared a little more towards the ladies, I suppose. I personally like drinks that have a little bit more of an edge, but I know there are a lot of folks out there that love their Irish Crèmes and anything that’s easier to down. It’s a smooth ride for these alcohols and there’s also an array of intriguing flavours (mint chocolate, crème caramel, hazelnut, biscotti) coming out from the Bailey’s people and other similar companies.

Drink #34: Bill Murray

Sweet Vermouth with Twist Drink

  • 2 oz Sweet Vermouth (I used Martini brand)
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with lemon twist

In honour of the legendary Bill Murray, I’ve gone ahead and named this concoction after him. I mean, Andie MacDowell is okay, but Bill Murray is Dr. Peter Venkman… groundskeeper Carl Spackler… hell, he’s even Garfield! This was the first time I ever had sweet vermouth on the rocks, as I usually only use it when making Manhattans. This is the type of experimenting I enjoy best and I thought the drink was great, especially with the addition of lemon.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Shockingly, no one has ever given this drink a name before, which is a shame because I believe that we should salute Bill Murray whenever the opportunity arises. I thought Sweet Vermouth on the rocks was actually a tasty drink and something you might have when unwinding after dinner, as a dessert aperitif.

January 3 – Manhattan

The Rat Pack enjoy a drink and a laugh together.

The Rat Pack enjoy a drink and a laugh together. Not a rare sight.

The Manhattan is one of my favourite cocktails. It makes me think about the glory days of The Rat Pack – it was among their preferred drink of choice, after all – and the sort of Golden Age they lived through. Back when you had to have some level of talent to be a star, instead of a boob job, hit YouTube video or trashy reality show. A time of fedora hats, pin-striped suits and crazy, yet mysteriously classy parties. I love the stories of Frank, Dean, Sammy and the gang working long hours filming their movies and partying through the night before heading back to work the next day. These guys oozed swagger and machismo and made it look easy. If these originators of cool loved the Manhattan, that’s good enough for me.

Near the top on my growing bucket list, liquor edition, is have a Manhattan, while in Manhattan. If I happen to be donning a fedora and be decked out in a pin-striped suit, that would be the icing on the cake. Not that I’m saying that I own a fedora and pin-striped suit (but I do). I like to think that I’d be making the boys proud.

The Manhattan recipe is fairly simple, but one of the beauties of it is the interchangeable parts. I like trying different whiskies and bourbons to achieve a different taste. Some of my preferred alcohols to use include Jim Beam Black Cherry Bourbon (suggested to me by an instructor at Fine Art Bartending), Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey (suggested by me to that very same instructor) and for the Canadian in all of us, Crown Royal. The Sweet Vermouth can also be subbed out for a variety of different results. Dry Vermouth can be used instead, as can other liqueurs like Maraschino Cherry flavoured, Grand Marnier and many other options. Be playful with your own recipe and see what you come up with.

There are two ways that I like to present the Manhattan. The first is in a martini glass (the traditional way) and the second is on ice in a rocks glass. Both drinks use the same proportions, with the only difference being that for the Manhattan martini, you stir (don’t shake) all the ingredients with ice and strain from a mixer. Both drinks I’ve garnished with a Maraschino cherry, although the cherry in the martini glass just sunk to the bottom to make nice bourbon-soaked treat waiting for you at the finish line!

Drink #3: The Manhattan

Manhattan Cocktail

  • 3 oz Whiskey or Bourbon of your choice (I used Jim Beam Black Cherry Bourbon)
  • 2 oz Sweet Vemouth
  • Dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Let me know if you have any whiskey suggestions or any other tweaks to the Manhattan recipe. Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I love Manhattans so much that I made two different versions! I’ve always been more of an ‘on the rocks’ type guy, but the Martini version of the cocktail was good, too. I have to give a super thumbs up to my decision to use Black Cherry Bourbon in these recipes and suggest you do, as well.