Enhancing Your Game Night

At Puzzling Pursuits, we create exciting, immersive puzzle adventures. Our games transport you into the midst of a compelling story, during a specific time period, and make you the protagonist. In an effort to create an even more immersive and exciting experience, we created Enhance Your Game Night, a curated list of recipe, costume, and music recommendations that are custom tailored to the settings and events within our games. Whether you're just interested in adding a fun drink to your solo evening, or you want to cook a full-blown meal, dress-up, and have themed music for a multi-member adventure, you can pick and choose elements to suit your interests. We sincerely hope you enjoy! 

Step Into 1940s Manhattan

Life in the United States during the 1940s was deeply influenced by World War II. The country rallied for the war effort, resulting in substantial sacrifices. Rationing of essentials such as gasoline, food, and clothing became the norm, challenging daily life. Women entered the workforce in unprecedented numbers. Despite the hardships, however, entertainment thrived with the Golden Age of Hollywood, while swing music dominated the airwaves. Manhattan was a dynamic and bustling hub of culture and commerce. The city's jazz clubs and nightlife were legendary.  It was a decade marked by hardship and resilience, laying the foundation for post-war prosperity and the baby boom. This is the setting in which The Fifth Column takes place.

The following set of recommendations are custom picked to immerse you, the puzzler, in this world, while providing some fun facts along the way. You will find recommendations for:







Oppenheimer's Martini

J. Robert Oppenheimer was an extremely prominent figure during World War II, leading the Manhattan Project. During its creation, Oppenheimer hosted nightly martini parties and was said to have existed on “martinis, coffee, and cigarettes”. He even created his own recipe, which you can enjoy here, though fair warning, it is quite alcoholic! If you would prefer a classic Martini recipe, give this one a shot.

Manhattan Cocktail

This cocktail was believed to have originated around the late 19th century and gets its name from The Manhattan Club, where it was born. You can find a recipe here for this cocktail and 19 others that were popular during this time. These recipes are from the Stork Club, which was a well-known location for famous stars and businessmen during the era.

Betsy Ross Cocktail

The Betsy Ross cocktail, also known as the Imperial, appears in multiple recipe books and menus dating back to the 1930s and 40s, such as Crosby Gaige’s Cocktail Guide and Sloppy Joe’s Cocktail Manual. Featuring port wine, Angostura bitters, curacao, and brandy, this delicious drink can be made using this recipe.

Other Alcoholic Drink Ideas

If the cocktails above aren’t to your taste or you’d like to explore some more, here are 13 more recipes from 1935-1945 for you to try. Also check out the 19 additional drinks first mentioned in the Manhattan Cocktail article.

Egg Cream

Egg creams were generally served at soda fountains and were a popular sweet drink, made with chocolate syrup, milk, and seltzer water. Did you notice we didn't say eggs? Regardless of its lack of actual eggs, it's an easy and delicious option that you can try for yourself by following the directions here.

Shirley Temple

An ever-popular favorite, this drink was invented in the 1930s for Shirley Temple and is still well-known to this day as a delicious non-alcoholic drink. Try this recipe here.

Roy Rogers

This drink originated during the 1940s and was named after actor and singer Roy Rogers, who didn’t drink alcohol. It is almost identical to a Shirley Temple but uses cola instead of lemon-lime soda in the recipe. You can try it yourself here.


Due to wartime rationing, coffee became incredibly popular during the 1940s due to its affordability and continued to be a common beverage afterwards. If you enjoy coffee, this may be the perfect time to brew some!


Steak Dinner

Seared New York strip steak served in garlic butter.
Steakhouses were quintessential dining places for many New Yorkers, with places like Keens, Old Homestead, and Peter Luger still operating to this day. An example of a steak dinner from one of these today is a strip steak with mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. You can recreate this dinner with these recipes or make your own twist on it!

Reuben Sandwich

reuben sandwich
This widely-known sandwich with rye bread, corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and dressing first came to be in the early 1920s. Though the origin is contested, one claim is that it was invented by Arnold Reuben, a New York delicatessen owner, in the early 1920s. Regardless of the true source, the Reuben quickly became popular, and is still known as one of the best sandwich recipes. Here’s a recipe for this iconic sandwich!

Coney Island-Style Hot Dogs

looking at a bunch of Coney Island hot dogs on a tray.
Although the exact origin is unknown, Coney Island hot dogs gained popularity throughout the early 1900s in New York. These hot dogs featured chili, onions, and mustard, and are still known throughout the area. If you’ve never tried this classic take on the hot-dog, try making it yourself here!


Most people already know this familiar snack cake, but did you know that World War II actually had a hand in its success? Twinkies were originally banana cream flavored, but food shortages during the war pushed Hostess to change it to the vanilla filling that we know today. You can make your own DIY recipe here, or pick it up at a local store.

Black and White Cookies

Overhead view of multiple black and white cookies with one in a plate beside a glass of milk.
This half-chocolate, half-vanilla cookie is believed to have first come from a Bavarian bakery opened in Manhattan during the early 1900s. They became increasingly popular during the 1940s and 50s and have many different names, such as “half-moons” or “harlequins”. You can try making your own today with this simple recipe!


The signature “New York Style” cheesecake became very popular during this time. Arnold Reuben, also the creator of the classic Reuben sandwich, is said to have created the recipe in the 1920s. Try your hand at cheesecake, New York-style, with this simple recipe.

Banana Split

Soda fountains were a very popular place to dine at during this time period. New Yorkers often got banana splits or ice cream sundaes from for dessert. If you like dessert, try making your own banana split at home with just a couple ingredients using this recipe.


Stetson hats for men and women

The effects of WWII upon clothing and style shaped fashion during this decade. If you’d like to dress the part, we suggest these wonderful guides to both men’s and women’s fashion in the 1940s and how you can recreate the look today.



If you’re looking to completely set the scene, try putting on some music from the era! In the 1940s, swing and jazz were very prominent, and singers like Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby were very popular. Try listening to this 4-hour playlist crammed with 1940s tunes while you puzzle, and add an extra hour with this one if needed.