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North by Northwest

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Image credit: North by Northwest, 1959

Image credit: North by Northwest, 1959

As families across the US make their way to top summer tourist destinations, I got to thinking about a place that’s certainly on my bucket list of attractions to visit- Mount Rushmore. However, I’m terrified that my trip would be a letdown because I’ve already visited this engineering marvel through the eyes of Alfred Hitchcock in the film North by Northwest (DVD/Download) many, many times. Truly, without Cary Grant scaling Thomas Jefferson’s forehead, is there even a point to seeing it in person?

North by Northwest is one of my favorite Hitchcock films, full of twisty plot developments, nail-biting suspense, and chic mid-century style. Cary Grant’s iconic grey suit is perfect for his portrayal of a Mad Men-era advertising exec, who through a case of mistaken identity, becomes involved in a secret spy mission to recover government documents from villains played by James Mason and a very young Martin Landau. Along the way Grant meets Eva Marie Saint, and they share a risqué rendezvous on the 20th Century Limited train. Can I just say, if train travel were as glamorous as it appears in North by Northwest, summer journeys would become a whole lot more appealing to me. Just imagine- craft cocktails, white linen tablecloths, en suite bathrooms, and Cary Grant waiting for you on a comfy bed in your cabin- what could be better?

It was INCREDIBLY difficult to pick just one cocktail pairing for this movie because there are so many great beverage moments. First there’s bourbon, Martin Landau’s murder weapon of choice (see above photo). Then there’s the fabulous train that Cary Grant stows away on, the 20th Century, which incidentally has a cocktail named after it. But if I have to pick just one drink, I have to go with the beverage Grant orders in the dining car- The Gibson. It’s classic, it’s timeless, and sophisticated- just like this film. While watching North by Northwest, I recommend drinking a Gibson.

Gibson

2 oz Gin

1/3 oz Dry Vermouth

Pickled Cocktail Onion

Fill a shaker with ice, then add gin and vermouth. Stir well, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with an onion.

gibson

There are several famous moments in North by Northwest, such as the big scene where Cary Grant is chased through a corn field by a crop dusting plane, and the climax on Mount Rushmore, but my favorite part is when he tosses his monogrammed matchbook to Eva Marie Saint as she sits in James Mason’s Frank Lloyd Wright-esque lair. Walking around with your own personalized matches- now that’s about as classy as it gets. Cheers!

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