Moving on from the hijinks of the Griswolds, this week’s holiday movie is my personal favorite, Love Actually. It’s the movie I always watch while wrapping gifts, and if it takes me longer than the film’s running time, I know I’m being very generous with the presents this year. To me, it’s not Christmas yet until I’ve seen Bill Nighy butcher the song ‘Love is All Around’, or Hugh Grant shaking his hips to the Pointer Sisters’ ‘Jump For My Love’. There are so many great things about this movie that it’s impossible to list them all. I love every single one of the actors and actresses, the stories are both hilarious and heartbreaking, and it truly illustrates the many kinds of love that a person will experience in their lifetime.
Love Actually crisscrosses back and forth among the stories of over a dozen or so Londoners during the month of December. We see unrequited love, forbidden love, love’s betrayal, new love, the love between siblings, between a father and a son, and between longtime friends. A lot for one movie! Director Richard Curtis manages to make it all come together seamlessly, and he’s done an absolutely brilliant job of casting. Remember when I said I wanted to cut Cameron Diaz out of The Holiday? Well, there are no Cameron Diaz’s in this movie. It’s difficult to pinpoint which of the stories are my favorite, but the girlie girl in me has to go with Colin Firth falling in love with his Portuguese cleaning lady, even though neither of them speak the same language. He learns Portuguese so he can talk to her, while she learns English so she can talk to him- talk about a meet cute!
For my cocktail this week, I’m utilizing a liqueur that I didn’t have in my bar already, but I thought it was a worthwhile purchase for the holidays- Sloe Gin. This is a traditional British liqueur that is made with sloe berries that grow wild throughout England. The berries are soaked in high-proof gin, along with a little bit of sugar, resulting in a tart liqueur. I’m told that it does make a difference which brand you buy, as the less expensive varieties have a tendency to taste like cough syrup. I suggest Plymouth, if you can find it. I’m mixing it with a few other simple ingredients to make a Sloe Dance, in reference to Laura Linney’s sweetly hopeful dance scene with her hot Brazilian co-worker midway through the movie.
2oz sloe gin
1oz lemon juice
½ oz simple syrup
Mix together sloe gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake until cold, then strain into a glass. Top with club soda, and enjoy!
This drink is sweet and bitter at the same time, which could also be said about love. Emma Thompson proves this toward the end of the movie when she realizes her husband bought a gold locket for another woman. Her private tears as she listens to the smoke-addled voice of Joni Mitchell just breaks my heart every time. I think that’s what makes this movie so great- it doesn’t sugar-coat things. Yes, there are wonderful, uplifting, magical love stories, but there are also sad love stories too. Love Actually really reminds me to appreciate the many kinds of love I have in my life, because at Christmas it really is all around. Cheers!