There’s no escaping the palpable buzz surrounding director Baz Luhrmann’s 3-D adaptation of The Great Gatsby, which debuts in theaters today. In preparation, New York City has been revving up its jazz nights, prohibition cocktails, and a 1920s panache that we can really get behind. While traveling back in time is pretty much out of the question, here are five ways to channel Jay Gatsby’s lavish lifestyle:
Drink Like Gatsby. To tap into Jay Gatsby’s bootlegging, party-throwing mindset, head to the famous 21 Club in Midtown, which not only holds a rich history of housing important men in the city, but the club also contained a secret room used for drinking during Prohibition. In honor of the movie, 21 Club added special cocktails including the Beautiful Fool (made with St. Germain, chamomile infused syrup, lemon and grapefruit juices), which was inspired by Daisy Buchanan’s character. (Want to recreate this libation and more at home? See below for a couple of make-your-own Gatsby-esq cocktail recipes.)
Another speakeasy option is The Vault at Pfaff’s, a swank, vintage lounge in SoHo. Back in the day, artists, writers, and the people who loved them used to congregate to sip Champagne and wax poetically about the world. Though we don’t know if Fitzgerald was a regular, based on the clientele (Edgar Allen Poe, Mark Twain) and history, he would have loved it, especially cocktails such as the Bohemian, with bourbon, raspberry purée and triple sec, or the Ada Clare, with rye, amaretto and cinnamon.
Stay Like Gatsby. If Gatsby made a trip to New York City today, he would probably stay at The Jade Hotel in Greenwich Village, which boasts an Art Deco interior modeled after the speakeasies and literary salons of the prohibition era. Each room tips a hat to the 1920s with rich velvet fabrics and leather furniture, and at Grape & Vine restaurant, time-traveling guests are plied with classic cocktails such as The Bee’s Knees and The Prankster. Right now, the hotel is offering a special “Gatsby Package,” starting at $350, where guests get one of the aforementioned drinks, tickets to see the movie, and a copy of the book to read.
Travel Like Gatsby. There’s no better way to see the city right now than on a 1920s-style boat like the Yacht Manhattan. The vessel is styled after the commuter yachts of the era that business tycoons, oil barons and handsome bootleggers used to ride into the city. Luckily, you don’t have to go to work to enjoy this ride, and there are plenty of excursions to choose from, including a Champagne sunset cruise, a wine tasting cruise and a buildings tour hosted by the American Institute of Architects. Who knows? You may even see a shimmering green light if you look hard enough.
Dress Like Gatsby. Any modern-day Gatsby can find fitting threads at Brooks Brothers, a place Fitzgerald himself mentioned in his writings. In fact, Brooks Brothers’ vintage rags inspired the clothes in the movie, which production designer Catherine Martin researched for the film. If you really feel like channeling Jay, the company launched a new Gatsby-inspired collection featuring striped regatta blazers, straw boater hats and leather wingtip shoes. All you have to do is ask yourself, “What would Gatsby wear?”
Live Like Gatsby. Nothing in New York City screams Gatsby more than The Plaza Hotel, and it’s a Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star property to boot. The hotel’s grand and historic reputation comes in part from the devoted patronage of Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda. The writer would often come here to eat, drink and play, and many of his exploits showed up in his books, including The Great Gatsby. The present-day Plaza Hotel was used in scenes for the new movie, and it’s celebrating the film launch with a slew of offerings. Enjoy a Gatsby-inspired brunch at The Plaza Food Hall with dishes such as Toulouse cassoulet or a baked egg flatbread, or imbibe in a tasty libation at The Rose Club with the Hemingway Daiquiri (10 cane rum, maraschino cherry liqueur, fresh grapefruit and lime juices). Other Gatsby-themed specials include Fitzgerald Tea at The Palm Court, speakeasy spa treatments, and a brand new suite designed by Catherine Martin. If you stop in through May, you’ll spot costumes from the movie on display in the hotel, too.
Make your own Gatsby-esq drink with these recipes:
1 ½ ounce Aviation American Gin
¾ ounce fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon simple syrup
Top with soda water
In a Collins glass, add ice, spirits and mixers.
Top with seltzer water and stir.
Garnish with a lime wedge.
The Beautiful Fool
Courtesy of the 21 Club
1 ½ ounce Greenhook Gin
¾ ounce St. Germain
¾ ounce chamomile simple syrup
¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
½ ounce grapefruit juice
Place all ingredients and ice in a shaker and stir.
Strain into a chilled Coupe glass. Serve up.
Garnish with a piece of rosemary
Photos courtesy of The Jade Hotel, Brooks Brothers, Orient-Express Hotles Ltd, Gairmont Hotels and Resorts