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Dirty Dancing

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Image credit Dirty Dancing 1987

Image credit Dirty Dancing 1987

This week on Cinema Sips, I’m featuring a great summertime classic movie that pairs oh so well with a seasonal fruity cocktail. Dirty Dancing (DVD/Download) was a movie that I was forbidden to watch as a child, so of course my desire to see it grew to epic proportions until I finally watched it at a friend’s house around age fourteen and thought, “That’s IT??” I’d seen more scandal on All My Children on pretty much a daily basis by then, so what my mother’s reasoning was for keeping me in the dark, I still don’t know. But I will say, once I got over the disappointment that my world was not indeed rocked by this movie, I wanted to watch it again and again for the magic that is Patrick Swayze.

Dirty Dancing is the coming-of-age story of a young woman, Baby Houseman, who goes to a resort in the Catskills with her family over the summer, and falls in love with her dance instructor. Jennifer Grey was cast as Baby (despite that nose and badly permed hair), and Patrick Swayze plays bad-boy dancer Johnny Castle (what a name!!!). He teaches her the merengue; she teaches him that rich people are capable of kindness. They make love in his cabin and wear the latest 80’s fashions (despite this film taking place during 1963). Pretty much everybody in this movie is forgettable, with the exception of Mr. Swayze. He’s sexy, funny, vulnerable, and man- can he move! I love it when tough guys can also dance, and in his case, sing too. “She’s Like the Wind” is SOOOOOO 80’s, so again, why is it in this 60’s set film? Who knows. Dirty Dancing veers so close to being a terrible movie we love to make fun of, and of course I do mock parts of it relentlessly, but when it comes down to it, I could watch Baby and Johnny in the lake every day and still swoon every time.

My drink this week is inspired by Baby’s famous line when she first meets Johnny. “I carried a watermelon.” Yes Baby, you successfully brought fruit to a sexy dance party. Well done. I enjoyed this particular cocktail at San Antonio’s Hotel Havana last summer, and I was really excited to find a recipe for it in my favorite cocktail bible, Tipsy Texan. While watching Dirty Dancing, I recommend drinking a Watermelon Sandia.

Watermelon Sandia

2 oz Vodka

¾ oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur

1 ½ oz watermelon water (see note)

¾ oz fresh lime juice

¼ oz simple syrup

Watermelon wedge for garnish


Combine all the ingredients, except the watermelon wedge, in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously to chill. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the watermelon wedge.

Note: I made my watermelon water by muddling chunks of watermelon into a strainer placed over a small bowl. The solids will collect in the strainer, and the water will flow into the bowl.


Nothing says summertime like watermelon and a passionate fling, though of course we all hope that Johnny and Baby live happily ever after (until he most likely gets drafted and sent to Vietnam). My favorite part is when Johnny punches through the window in his car, causing Baby to shriek “You’re Wild!!” about 5 miles down the road. To which my husband always shouts, “He just made that poor girl sit on broken glass!” So crank up the air conditioning, sip your Sandia, and remember- nobody puts Baby in a corner. Cheers!



3 responses »

  1. Melinda Marley

    From the Mother……
    She turned out ok, so must have done something right!

  2. Dirty Dancing is the best!

  3. Pingback: Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights | Cinema Sips

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