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A Christmas Story

Image credit MGM, 1983

Image credit MGM, 1983

My final film of this 2013 holiday season is an absolute classic. I’ve gotten several requests for a cocktail pairing for this movie, so I’m pleased to finally feature A Christmas Story. This got watched more than any other holiday movie in my house growing up, particularly after TBS started airing it non-stop for 24 hours. It was comforting to know that no matter what time of the day or night on December 24th, if we turned on the television, Ralphie would be there in his horn rimmed glasses and Dennis-the-Menace haircut kvetching about Ovaltine and a Red Ryder BB Gun. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the release of this film, so it’s fitting that we celebrate it with a cocktail!

A Christmas Story takes place around 1939 in a small town in Indiana. It tells the story of Ralphie and his quest for the ultimate Christmas gift- a Red Ryder BB Gun. What I love about this film is that it’s really perfect for all age groups. I loved it as a child because it was great to see someone my age on the screen facing real problems (bullies, grades, annoying siblings, etc.) but as an adult I feel like I’m just now discovering the amazing language used by the film’s narrator. For example, when Ralphie’s father wins a “major award” in the form of a glowing leg lamp, the narrator comments on the “soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window”. Pure poetry. There are so many memorable scenes in this film that have become ingrained in my Christmas memories. It just wouldn’t be the holiday if I didn’t see Ralphie in his pink bunny costume, or the department store Santa’s big black boot coming down over his face, or his brother Randy struggling for mobility in a snowsuit. It’s all just classic.

Because A Christmas Story takes place in an obviously FREEZING locale, I’m inspired to make a warm drink this week. I’m lucky that I no longer have to endure cold holidays in Pennsylvania, but I really sympathize with those who do. The snow pants, the cold runny noses, the feeling that your feet will never be warm again- this movie brings it all back for me. For my pairing, I’m making a traditional Mulled Wine. This is great in a large crockpot or pan on the stovetop, perfect for your holiday gatherings. I was going to call it something cheeky referencing “Soap Poisoning” but that didn’t sound super-appetizing. So let’s keep it simple this week.

Mulled Wine

1 bottle red wine

2 cups pomegranate juice

¼ cup honey

1 cinnamon stick

1tsp clove

Orange peel (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker or pan on your stovetop. Stir occasionally as the honey melts and the liquid warms throughout. Serve hot in mugs or insulated cups, garnish with orange peel and/or cinnamon stick.

mulled-wine

Drink this and merrily watch as Ralphie battles Scut Farkus, the Bumpuss Hounds, and Black Bart. The scene at the end where his parents finally relax with a glass of wine in front of the twinkling lights of the tree warms my heart every time. No matter how jaded I become about the Christmas holiday, this movie reminds me that there are some really simple things about this time of year that will always be magical. Hearing my mother say, “Oh, we still haven’t watched Ralphie- let’s turn it on!” is one of those things. Merry Christmas, and cheers!

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