Archive - August 2013

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Cocktail Holidays
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A Night less Ordinary: Bubble Hotel
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A Night less Ordinary: Exploranter Overland Hotel in Sao Paulo
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7 Facts About Venice
5
Purple 10 Bucket List Ideas in the Water
6
Purple Tips: A little Romance in New York City

Cocktail Holidays

Why not book cocktail holidays for you and your other half, your bunch of girlfriends or a stag or hen party. From Cuba to Paris, in spirit (!) of cocktail holidays, Purple Travel discovers some of the world’ most famous cocktails and where they came from…

cocktail pics

The Mojito, Cuba

Traditionally made using white rum, sugar, lime, carbonated water and mint muddled together, the Mojito is generally believed to be the world’s first cocktail. Thought to have been drunk as early as the 16th century by pirates and sailors, its origins can be traced back to 16th century Cuba, where the drink was called the “El Draque”, in honour of explorer and sailor, Sir Francis Drake.

The legend goes that the drink was first created as a way of disguising the taste of tafia/aguardiente – a primitive form of rum. The modern name for the drink comes from a Cuban sauce called mojo, made from garlic, olive oil and citrus juice; the drink became known as a cocktail with “a little mojo” or, in Spanish, a “Mojito.”

The Singapore Sling, Singapore

The Singapore Sling was first concocted in – you guessed it – Singapore, made from a mixture of gin, cherry brandy and Benedictine, in equal parts, with a dash of bitters and Cointreau, finished off with pineapple, lime juice and grenadine. While the exact year it was created is not clear, most agree that the cocktail was first produced by a Hainanese-Chinese bartender named Mr. Ngiam Tong Boon at the Raffles Hotel’s Long Bar sometime between 1910 and 1915.

Today, the drink is served on all Singapore Airlines flights. You may have also seen it mentioned in many films and books, including Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, in which Raoul Duke talks about drinking “Singapore Slings with mescal on the side.” You can also order an original Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel’s Long Bar, where icons like Rudyard Kipling and others would once sip this famous, fruity cocktail.

The Sidecar, Paris

This classic cocktail that dates back around 100 years is a mix of equal parts brandy or Cognac, Cointreau and lemon juice. The Sidecar is believed to have been first created in Paris sometime during WWI. Harry’s Bar in Paris is the “little bistro” credited as the birthplace of this sweet, yet tangy cocktail, named after the motorcycle sidecar that supposedly carried an American captain to the bar one evening. The captain asked a French bartender for a pre-dinner cocktail that would help ease the chill he had caught outside. The bartender knew brandy would be the best liqueur to take off the chill, but he also refused to serve the traditional after dinner drink alone as a pre-dinner cocktail. The result was the bartender mixed the brandy with Cointreau and added fresh lemon juice to make an appropriate pre-dinner cocktail so the Sidecar was born.

The Pisco Sour, Peru or possibly Chile

The Pisco Sour is made from Pisco (a regional brandy from South America), lemon juice, bitters and egg whites. Many debate whether the origin of this drink is Peruvian or Chilean: In Peru, the creation of the Pisco Sour is attributed to American expatriate Victor “Gringo” Morris at the Morris Bar in Lima; in Chile, it is attributed to the English steward of a sailing ship, which was stopped at the then Peruvian and now Chilean port city of Iquique in 1872.

Whatever the origins of this famous drink, the Pisco Sour has become an iconic cocktail in both countries. In fact, there are even two National Pisco Sour Days (Peru’s in the first Saturday of February and Chile’s is celebrated May 15th) to celebrate this famous cocktail!

White Russian, California

Named for the vodka used in the recipe, rather than the origin, White Russians combine equal parts of cream, vodka and Kahula. In 1961, the Diner’s Club Drink Book, gave a recipe for a “Black Russian” without cream, implying that the same cocktail with cream would therefore be named a White Russian. Today White Russians have inspired a drinking game, in which party-goers try to keep up with The Dude from The Big Lebowski (whose favourtie drink was a White Russian) in their consumption of the cocktail while watching the film itself.

The Manhattan, New York

Known as both “King of Cocktails” and the “Drinking Man’s Cocktail,” The Manhattan is a very potent mix of whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters, garnished most often with a maraschino cherry.

Regarded as one of the best cocktails ever created, the Manhattan was supposedly first invented at the Manhattan Club in New York City in the early 1870s. Legend has it that the drink was invented for a banquet hosted by Lady Randolph Churchill (Winston Churchill’s mother) in honour of presidential candidate, Samuel J. Tilden. The success of the banquet prompted many people to request the drink by referring to the name of the club where it originated, calling it “the Manhattan cocktail.”

The Mai Tai, California

The tropical Mai Tai is made of a mixture of white and gold rum, pineapple juice, orange and/or lime juice and is of American origin despite its Polynesian name. First created by Victor Buergon, better known as “Trader Vic”, it was called Mai Tai as it was invented in the Polynesian-style restaurant in Oakland, California that bore his name.

Buergon created the first Mai Tai in honour of some friends who were visiting from Tahiti in 1944. As he served the new cocktail to his friends, they cried out, “Maitai roa!” (meaning “very good”), and the cocktail was born.

Tom Collins, New York

While many people assume the drink was named after a real person, there is much debate whether Tom Collins ever actually existed and whether he should be credited to this cocktail of gin, lemon and lime juice and soda water. One popular account involves a hoax that took over New York City in 1874.

A friend would tell you that he had just overheard someone named Tom Collins at a bar nearby saying terrible things about you. You would then race to that bar to confront him, only to be told that Tom Collins had just left for a bar a little further away. When you get there, the mysterious Collins would have decamped yet again for another joint across town. You would then chase him all over the city while your friends are in stictches laughing at you. According to Wall Street Journal columnist and cocktail historian Eric Felten, “It doesn’t take much to imagine how Tom Collins came to be a drink. How many times does someone have to barge into a saloon demanding a Tom Collins before the bartender takes the opportunity to offer him a cocktail so-named?”

Bloody Mary, California

Like the mixture itself, the history behind the Bloody Mary is a bit cloudy. One legend says that the original Bloody Mary, which was made using equal parts tomato juice and vodka and used as a hangover cure, was invented by comedian, songwriter and film producer George Jessel. Jessel claimed he created the drink one morning in Palm Beach during the 50s, as a way to recover from a night spent on the booze. He went as far as to appear in Smirnoff vodka ads declaring, “I, George Jessel invented the Bloody Mary.”

However, Eric Felten writes, “Given Jessel’s knack for self-promotion, many doubted his claim.” Many skeptics favoured a legend involving the head bartender at the St. Regis Hotel in New York named Fernand “Peter” Petriot. Petriot was supposedly serving up Blood Marys under the alias of “Red Snappers” at the hotel’s King Cole Bar from the ‘40s. In reality, the Bloody Mary popular today is in fact a combination of the two men’s creations; Petriot admitted that “George Jessel said he created it, but it was really nothing but vodka and tomato juice when I took it over.” While credit for the original drink goes to Jessel, Petriot wasthe one who added salt, pepper, cayenne and Worcestershire sauce to the concoction, creating the modern Bloody Mary.

 The Martini, California

The first Martini was poured sometime between 1862 and 1871 and was called a Martinez, a name to honour the town of Martinez, California, where it was supposedly first dreamed up by bartender Julio Richelieu, proprietor of the eponymous Julio Richelieu Saloon. Today, Martini has become more of a class of drinks than one drink in particular – with variations like Appletinis, Vodka martinis and others becoming popular over the years.

Although the origins of the first Martinez date back to the 1860s, the modern Martini first rose in popularity starting in 1900s during the prohibition period. The Martini then became the drink of choice (or no choice as the case was at the time!) in speakeasies across the country due to the quick accessibility of gin. The modern Vodka Martini, which James Bond enjoys shaken, not stirred, was not created until much later.

A Night less Ordinary: Bubble Hotel

We go around the world to find the most beautiful, weird and wonderful hotels. From ship-shaped hotels to underground suites, expect the unexpected. This week, we look at a night less ordinary at the Bubble Hotel, otherwise known as the Mullihotell in Saaremaa, Estonia.

bubble1

What’s the gimmick? A bubble-shaped room practically surrounded by nature. The room is partly transparent and has a curve that’s maintained by air constantly blowing towards it.

Why stay? The bubble is like a typical hotel room, apart from the fact that it’s a bubble and completely surrounded by the sights, sounds and smells of Mother Nature. Although as comfortable as any accommodation you could ask for, the bubble doesn’t actually offer a bathroom, so visitors can use the toilet and washing facilities of the neighbouring guesthouse.

The WOW Factor? Located in the magnificent fields of Aadu Touristic Farm in Saaremaa, the Bubble hotel offers its guests the chance to enjoy a night in nature, with the starry sky as their roof.

bubble2

All images via @ mullihotell.ee

The cost for an overnight in this alternative hotel is €89-€99 from Sunday to Thursday and €107-€119 from Friday to Saturday. Book now or visit Purple Travel for regular hotels all over the world!

A Night less Ordinary: Exploranter Overland Hotel in Sao Paulo

We go around the world to find the most beautiful, weird and wonderful hotels. From ship-shaped hotels to underground suites, expect the unexpected in our series: A Night Less Ordinary. This week, Exploranter Overland Hotel in Sao Paulo.

Exploranter-Overland-Hotel

What’s the gimmick? Join a tour on this, pretty incredible hotel on wheels. Inspired by the huge overland expedition trucks you see on safari trips, this one is a little bigger. With room for up to 32 people, three fully equipped bathrooms, a lounge, and kitchen it has all you could ask for from hotel, with more – it moves! It’s got huge windows to enjoy the panoramic views, a small observation deck and when the weather’s good (which is probably will be) it’s a pleasure to lunch in the great outdoors.

Inside-the-trailer-bedrooms

Why stay? Based in Sao Paulo, the Exploranter is available on routes throughout South America from northern Brazil to Patagonia, Chile. You can book the travelling hotel to suit your own schedule; trips last between three days and three weeks. There are many advantages to travelling by truck: You’ll get to rarely-seen-parts, close to nature, find out more about local cultures and enjoy some of the most beautiful parts of the world.

Exploranter-Overland-Hotel-mix-3

All images via @  localnomad

The WOW Factor? More than simply a way to get around, this is an experience. A truly different way to see the world, and maybe the start of a brand new kind of tourism all over the world.

7 Facts About Venice

The Queen of the Adriatic, La Serenissima, City of Bridges – Venice is a never-ending sea of allure. British poet Arthur Symons once said “A realist, in Venice would become a romantic, by mere faithfulness to what he saw before him.”

Dating back over 1500 years ago, Venice has a long and diverse history. From the hustle and bustle of Rialto Bridge to the weaving and winding Grand Canal, travellers find a true escape in the romantic city break destination.  Here we have gathered some interesting facts about Venice:

mosaicf776f086beaca0e9a3e18597ada69b3ee30a5b91Images via @ Paulo Bulbol, Dr. Savage

  1. Although Venice appears to be a magical floating city, it is actually a series on wood pilings built upon the 118 submerged islands in the Northern end of the Adriatic Sea. Four hundred foot bridges and 170 boat canals connect the city to make it easily accessible to the local populace.
  2. Many famous people in history were born in Venice including the playwright and famous lover Giacomo Casanova, the explorer Marco Polo, and composer Antonio Vivaldi.
  3. The traditional and symbolic boats in Venice’s canals are known as Gondolas and have been used as transport around the narrow Venetian waterways for more than 10 centuries. Failing to ride one is like going to Egypt and not seeing the pyramids.
  4. Only 3 to 4 Gondolier licenses are issued annually. To qualify, applicants must be able to finish an extensive training after passing a rigorous exam. Today, there are only 400 licensed Gondolas operating in Venice.
  5. The Ca’Dario, a Palazzo with an attractive Venetian Renaissance architecture along Grand Canal, is home to a series of inexplicable deaths. The ‘curse’ started way back when the structure was built in 1847, affecting owners of the building.
  6. Oddly, the last victim of the curse is John Entwistle, famed bass guitarist of The Who. John was leasing Ca’Dario during his untimely death in 2002.
  7. Never ever touch the produce in the Rialto Market, or in the whole of Italy for that matter. Ask the vendor of what you want and they’d be more than happy to give their best products to you, but touching them is considered extremely rude.

Purple 10 Bucket List Ideas in the Water

Give your holiday an extra edge with our top 10 bucket list ideas in the water. Swim with giant tortoises, take a dip in an infinity pool, whatever takes your fancy!

Galapagos

Image via @ Derek Keats

1. See giant tortoises and sea lions in the Galapagos Islands

soak-in-the-steamy-waters-of-the-blue-lagoon-outside-of-reykjavk-iceland

Image via @ Vesna Middelkoop

2. Soak in the steamy waters of the Blue Lagoon, outside of Reykjavík, Iceland

Cenote

Image via @ schnappi

3. Bathe in a cenote (a deep natural sinkhole) in the Yucatan, Mexico

Water-bungalows

Image via @ ciamabue

4. Stay in a water-bungalow over the clear aqua water in the Maldives

Marina

5. Swim at the edge of the world at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore

visit-each-of-the-five-villages-of-italys-cinque-terre

Image via @ BusinessInsider

6. Visit each of the five seafront villages of Italy’s Cinque Terre

play-with-sea-turtles-on-a-black-sand-beach-in-hawaii

Image via @ Scott Carpenter

7. Play with sea turtles on a black sand beach in Hawaii

relax-in-the-thermal-pools-of-ischia-an-island-off-the-coast-of-italy

Image via @ Nicolo Lazzati

8. Relax in the thermal pools of Ischia, an island off the coast of Italy

Dead-sea

Image via @ visitisrael

9. Float in the Dead Sea in Israel

great-barrier-reef

Image via Wikicommons

10. Snorkel at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

Purple Tips: A little Romance in New York City

Central Park - Horse

When you talk about romance, the cities that first come to mind are probably Paris and Venice. New York City however is a very popular destination for couples who want a romantic getaway or even to celebrate their honeymoon.

It’s no surprise though as New York has been the setting for a lot of famous love stories. Like Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan’s characters in ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ who meet each other at the top of the Empire State Building. And who doesn’t know the famous New York TV-couples like Ross and Rachel (Friends) and Carrie and Mr. Big (Sex and the City)? To top it off: New York City even has its own LOVE sculpture!

So what makes New York so romantic? What is there to do on a romantic getaway? Well the list is pretty much endless but this is our top six tips to make sure your holiday is one neither of you will ever forget.

‘Meet me at the top of the Empire State Building’

Made famous by movies like ‘An affair to remember’ and ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ as one of the romantic spots in New York City, the Empire State Building is a popular place for popping the question among couples from all over the world.

The beautiful iconic art-deco building, the amazing view from the observation deck across the entire city, it is something that just screams romance. The most romantic moment to visit the Empire State Building is late in the afternoon. You’ll get the clear day view, a beautiful sunset and shining night lights of the city.

Romance in the sky

With millions of lights shining brightly at night in the city, it’s no wonder New York City’s nickname is ‘the city that never sleeps’. The lights of New York are one of the things that make it perfect for a romantic getaway. The best way to take advantage of this is by taking a helicopter tour in New York. There are lots of day time tours but the one that tops them all is the night helicopter tour.

You’ll be picked up at the harbour by a boat have champagne on the way there and then you’ll fly above all the New York City sights which sparkle in the night.

Central Park

 Let’s take a stroll

No matter what the season is Central Park is the perfect place to take a long stroll holding hands with your other half. The park has a lot of spots that are perfect for a little romance like the Bow Bridge, Belvedere Castle, Bethesda Fountain and the Conservatory Garden. It’s even becoming popular for actual wedding ceremonies and the most beautiful photographs. If you get tired of walking, why not snuggle up in a carriage ride where you can see the Park’s famous sights, rent a boat on the lake, or relax in a quiet spot with a picnic?

A skyline dinner

New York City has a very famous skyline; it’s a mesmerizing sight to see during the day as well as at night. The best view is  by one of the many boat tours in New York around (part of) the island of Manhattan. There are scenic boat tours during the day or for something special a romantic evening dinner cruises by the light of the moon. Some boats even have a dance floor on board so the two of you can dance the night away.

Snuggle up at the movies

On a bit of a budget but still want a romantic night out? Bring a blanket and grab some snacks for a picnic at the movies. During the summer every Monday night you can watch a free film in Bryant Park. Imagine this: watching a great American Classic under the New York sky, while snuggling on a blanket and enjoying some of your favourite snacks. It’s personal, thoughtful and super romantic. Whoever said romance had to be expensive!

New York at night

The Blue Box!  

If you are planning on popping the question in New York, whether it’s at the Empire State Building, in the sky in a helicopter or at Central Park, don’t forget to pay a visit to Tiffany’s & Co. Almost every woman, New Yorker or not, dreams of one day getting that blue box with the iconic Tiffany’s engagement ring in it! No New York proposal will be complete without that little blue box!

BIO – Eric Lang

Eric Lang was born in Amsterdam but fell in love with New York at an early age. Between 2003 and 2008, he visited the Big Apple 11 times and in 2008 his dream to live in Manhattan became a reality! Because of his love for New York City he decided to start VisitNewYork.co.uk to share all his knowledge about New York City!

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