The upcoming David Bowie tribute concert at Carnegie Hall has me waxing nostalgic about the Starman’s long and eclectic career. While he’s more often associated with the fantasy classic Labyrinth, for me one of his best roles was Nikola Tesla in this week’s film The Prestige (DVD/Download). With this character, Bowie manages to blend science, magic, and faith in a commanding performance that makes us wonder- Edison who?
Tesla is actually a minor part in this fantastic Christopher Nolan film about turn of the century illusionists. Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman play rival magicians who go to extreme lengths to outdo one another with their Disappearing Man acts. Christian Bale’s character Alfred seems to possess a true magic, while Hugh Jackman’s character Angier follows a path of science, eventually leading him to Tesla’s lab in Colorado Springs. This film demands repeat viewings in order to fully understand all the plot twists and turns. Truly, the script itself is a work of magic, making us feel like we’re participating in a grand act of illusion.
One of the more popular magic tricks of the Victorian era was the Bullet Catch (the magician appears to catch a bullet out of thin air). As with any magic trick, it’s quite interesting once you understand the science behind it, and Angier uses it for devious purposes. While watching The Prestige, I recommend drinking a Bulleit Catch.
1.5 oz Bulleit™ Bourbon
Dash of bitters
1 teaspoon sugar
Splash of water
1 lemon slice
1 orange twist
1 maraschino cherry
In a rocks glass, muddle sugar and bitters. Add the bourbon, splash of water and a large ice cube. Twist the lemon slice over the glass, then drop in the orange twist and maraschino cherry.
Like the art of illusion, mixology is heavily based on science. I love knowing that I can add seemingly random ingredients together and somehow, due to flavor profiles and molecular structures and all the things I stopped paying attention to halfway through chemistry class, the drink just works. Is it magic? No. Is there even such a thing as magic? After watching this film, I still don’t have the answer. But I’m inclined to say yes. Cheers!