Taste testing the new 'Gossip Girl' cocktail menu at The Empire Hotel

Last night, we attended a coming-out party for the new Gossip Girl-themed cocktail menu at the Empire Hotel in New York City. In case you're not up on the show's developments (or haven't been reading New York Magazine's brilliant episode recaps), the hotel has become something of a character itself on GG since the dapper rich-kid Chuck Bass "purchased" the property sometime during the current season. Yes, he was apparently capable of purchasing a Manhattan hotel just after high school. Right then.

But don't get caught up in details; let's talk booze. The Empire lobby bar's Gossip Girl menu features $15 cocktails based on each of the show's primary characters: Serena, Blair, Jenny, Chuck, Dan, Georgina, Nate, and Vanessa -- plus a special "XOXO" cocktail whose components are kept a secret (kinda like Gossip Girl herself. Get it?)

The new 'Gossip Girl' cocktail menu, Empire Hotel
The new 'Gossip Girl' cocktail menu, Empire Hotel

We taste tested a few of them. Our impressions:

  • The "S" (Serena) is light, tangy, and easy to knock back. Don't be fooled by the champagne glass, though -- the honey water and champagne is topped with plenty of Zyr vodka.
  • The "B" (Blair) -- a gin martini with orange bitters -- is strong. Very strong. It's served with a stick of crystal candy, so it seems to get sweeter as you drink it. But be careful; you might end up in the back of a limo doing something irresponsible with Chuck Bass after two of these.
  • The "I'm Chuck Bass" is a tad on the small and weak side for $15, but for those who like sweeter fruity drinks, this scotch, apple, and ginger concoction is the way to go.
  • Georgina's Mind Eraser is a mix of Vieux Carré Absinthe Wash, tequila, and pomegranate (with an Atomic Fireball at the bottom). Approach this one with caution, though: the black sugar on the rim of the martini glass will stain your lips black for a hot minute.
  • The XOXO seems to be a chocolate martini of sorts with a cute "XOXO" written in chocolate syrup on the bottom of the glass. It was less creamy and heavy than most chocolate martinis we've had -- pleasantly light on the creamy liqueur.
The scene at the Empire Hotel's Lobby Bar
The scene at the Empire Hotel's Lobby Bar

The GG cocktail menu is only available in the lobby bar, but we think the GG-cocktail-free rooftop bar is worth checking out, too.

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