I was in the mood for some vintage Peter O’Toole this week, so I went into my DVD vault to find one of my favorite capers. How to Steal a Million (DVD/Download) is everything one could want in a heist film- sparkling dialogue, stylish clothes and cars, a clever plan, and cheeky romance. For any classic film buff that thinks of O’Toole only as Lawrence of Arabia, prepare to meet funny James Bond.
In recent decades, art heist films have experienced enormous popularity, ie. The Thomas Crown Affair, Entrapment, and Ocean’s Twelve. But surpassing them all in style and originality is How to Steal a Million. In this film, Audrey Hepburn is forced to steal her father’s forged sculpture from a Parisian museum before anybody realizes it’s actually a fake. She enlists the help of an art thief, played by Peter O’Toole, who devises a ridiculously clever scheme involving boomerangs, alarms, and Audrey minus her Givenchy couture. Along the way she’s courted by a creepy American businessman played by Eli Wallach, who wants the sculpture for his own unexplained, presumably perverse reasons. Aside from the wonderful script, this film features beautiful shots of 1960’s Paris, as well as maybe the cutest automobile in cinema. Always stylish, Audrey drives around in a little Autobianchi Bianchina sports car (a fancy Fiat 500), and I coveted it so much that when Fiat came out with the 500 Pop, I was first in line to buy one. Sadly, my closet is still missing some Givenchy.
For a classic heist film like this one, the cocktail has to be sophisticated and timeless. One of the most clever parts of the plot involves a boomerang, and without giving anything away, let’s just say the whole operation hinges on it. While watching How to Steal a Million, I recommend drinking a Boomerang.
1.5 oz gin
1oz dry vermouth
1tsp Luxardo maraschino liqueur
1 dash angostura bitters
Garnish: Lemon twist
Stir ingredients together over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add a lemon twist.
The Boomerang cocktail first appeared in the Savoy Cocktail book as a whiskey-based drink, however bartenders are still making it today under a different iteration. I happen to like the gin version better myself, and I’ll take any excuse to use Luxardo maraschino liqueur (a new favorite- sorry St. Germain). If you’re looking for a great date night, this movie and this cocktail are it. Being trapped in a closet with cleaning supplies never looked so sexy. Cheers!