Today in my house we’re celebrating the birthday of my furry kiddo, Miss Pickles Marie Hasselhoff. She is our beloved border collie, and she’s turning 5 today. I thought, what better way to celebrate than to put on her favorite movie, Best in Show. It’s one of my favorites too- how convenient! This is one of those films I never get tired of seeing, no matter how many times I’ve watched it. Really, what is funnier than a mockumentary about fancy schmancy dog shows and the people that frequent them? Nothing. We like to throw a birthday party for Pickles each year to let her know how special she is to us, so while she and her furry friends are playing, the humans can enjoy this movie with the accompanying cocktail. A win-win for everyone!
Now, Miss Pickles is of questionable lineage, despite what her very formal name suggests. I don’t think she’d make it into the Mayflower Dog Show, though she would have fun being pampered like these dogs. Sadly, she shares the personality of Weimaraner Beatrice- very neurotic, but we love her anyway. It’s hard to even pinpoint who my favorite character is in this film. Christopher Guest has assembled the funniest improve actors out there to tell this story, and they all make me convulse with insane amounts of laughter. I love Parker Posey and Michael Hitchcock as the catalog-obsessed, neurotic married couple, almost as much as I love Michael McKean and John Michael Higgins as the gay couple who name their shih tzu’s after 1950’s movie stars and travel with a suitcase full of kimonos. And let’s not forget nut-namin’ dark horse contender Harlan Pepper, played by Guest himself, or the closeted lesbian couple played by Jane Lynch and the brilliant Jennifer Coolidge. In short, the actors are hilarious, the dogs are adorable- it’s no wonder this is such a great film.
For my cocktail pairing, I’m serving up an obvious choice- a Salty Dog. However, in keeping with the spirit of pedigreed, high-class dogs (now keep in mind, I’m in no way talking about their owners) I’m using only the finest ingredients. Fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, top shelf vodka, and Himalayan pink salt for rimming. But if you want to be all Cookie and Gerry Fleck about it, the cheap vodka you drank in college and Tropicana will do just fine.
The Salty Dog
2 oz vodka
4 oz fresh grapefruit juice
Salt and lime for rimming
Moisten the rim of a highball glass with lime juice, rim with salt. Pour the vodka and grapefruit juice over ice in the glass, and stir.
*Note, this drink can also be made with gin, but I prefer to use vodka.
I’m looking forward to gathering with friends as my four-legged little girl basks in attention, and laughing very, very hard every time Fred Willard is onscreen. What Best in Show does such a good job of satirizing is the phenomenon of dogowners who slowly start to resemble their pets. I have to say in my case, it’s kind of true. My hair has slowly lightened over the years to match Pickles’, and I too get grumpy if strangers try to touch me. So I encourage you to watch this film, drink up, and be amazed at how many times you find yourself saying, “It’s funny because it’s TRUE!” Cheers!