Recipe Review

I Tried the Sarah Jessica Parker-Inspired Wine Cocktail and It’s Even Better than a Cosmo

published Mar 16, 2022
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I Tried It — The City Shandy
Credit: Daphne Youree

No matter your drink of choice, you can’t deny the eclectic list of beloved cocktails made with New York City in mind: the Manhattan, the Martini, the Penicillin, and, of course, the Cosmopolitan. With movies like Casino Royale and shows like Sex and the City popularizing the tried-and-true cocktails we know and love, it’s hard to imagine adding another to the list. There’s one beverage, however, I think we could put into consideration: “The City Shandy.”

The drink was created by renowned NYC mixologist and “Bartender of the Year” Meaghan Dorman in collaboration with Invivo X, SJP, Sarah Jessica Parker’s award-winning brand of New Zealand sauvignon blanc. Dorman was inspired to create “The City Shandy” by SJP’s home city, which also happens to be the setting that helped breathe life into drinks like the classic Cosmo.

The drink, which is topped with a splash of cranberry juice as well as a garnish of skewered fresh cranberries, is a wine-based cocktail calling for sauvignon blanc as well as other vibrant flavors like pear brandy and ginger beer. “The City Shandy” is great because it not only puts a new spin on cranberry juice in cocktails, but it’s also an homage to flavors of the season. A little bit of the pear brandy goes a long way, and the mix of cranberry and ginger feels warm, inviting, and almost reminiscent of cranberry sauce.

Dorman, who is the bar director at New York City’s Dear Irving and Dear Irving on Hudson, worked with Invivo co-founder Tim Lightbourne to create the cocktail — which will be offered on the restaurant’s menu for the entire month of March, although bartenders both amateur and seasoned are more than welcome to make the cocktail at home. The best part is, though, that for every purchase of the drink, Invivo will be donating proceeds to ROAR, a community organization that advocates for NYC’s independent restaurants and employees and works to rebuild the hospitality industry.

Credit: Cory Fernandez

How to Make “The City Shandy”

The cocktail is easy to make and even better if you have a cocktail shaker (although one isn’t required to make a great version of it). To build, add 1 ounce pear brandy and 2 1/2 ounces sauvignon blanc or rosé (both of which Invivo X, SJP sells) to a shaker with ice or an ice-filled glass. Shake (or stir, if using a glass with ice) for about 5 seconds and strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Top with about 3 ounces ginger beer and 1/2 ounce of cranberry juice. Garnish the drink with a lime wheel and a few fresh cranberries skewered onto a cocktail pick. 

My Honest Review of “The City Shandy”

As someone who advocates for drinks with the perfect balance of fruity, sweet, and bitter, this drink was truly top-tier! Even with the addition of ginger beer, sauvignon blanc, and cranberry juice, the drink wasn’t too sweet. I think a large part of this is due to the punch of the pear brandy – which I actually found added a lovely bitterness that lets you know you’re getting a drink with true strength. I’m also more creative when it comes to drinks rather than someone who favors simplicity — while a glass of straight bourbon with a glacier of ice might be great for some, I champion mixing things up! This is another reason why I think this cocktail is great; there isn’t one ingredient that’s too prominent or too quiet. 

Tips for Making the “The City Shandy” Cocktail

  1. Try making the cocktail with rosé. While rosé is great any time of the year, it’s also just another reason to break open a bottle in the summertime if you’re in the mood. The addition of the rosé will likely add a more noticeable hint of stone fruit, reminiscent of peaches and plums. Plus, it’ll make for a cocktail with a nice rosy hue.
  2. Use a cocktail stirrer. This drink is great shaken or stirred, but if you prefer the texture of stirred drinks to that of shaken ones, you should look into stirrers specifically meant to reach through the ice in your glass and make for a wonderfully chilled cocktail. A soup spoon gets the job done, but just doesn’t function the same.