I can’t believe it’s been seven months of Cinema Sips greatness, and I have yet to discuss the ultimate cocktail movie, the one that made me want to do this blog in the first place. This week, I am beyond excited to feature one of my top favorites, and certainly my absolute favorite film to screen during any cocktail-fueled gathering– The Party (DVD).
This 1968 Blake Edwards classic stars comedy genius Peter Sellers as the bumbling Hrundi V. Bakshi, an Indian actor who accidentally gets invited to a dinner party at a Hollywood producer’s home. He arrives, loses his shoe, mingles with movie stars, spills birdseed everywhere, sticks his hand in caviar, and gets a chicken caught on a woman’s tiara. And that’s just in the first half! There are a lot of sight gags involving the ultra-modern home set, such as people falling in the water that runs through the house, guests getting burned by the indoor fire pit, and floors and walls disappearing at the flick of a switch. It’s a ridiculously impractical home, but if I had a million dollars I would build it for myself in a second. The sets and costumes truly capture that ’60s Mod era in a way that Mad Men could only dream of. The real elephant in the room (pun intended) which must be addressed is the fact that Peter Sellers plays a character of a different race. Of course I wish they would have hired an actor of South-Asian descent, and if this movie ever gets remade, I sincerely hope this mistake gets corrected. It’s interesting to watch this and realize how far diversity in Hollywood has come since the 1960s, but of course we’ve still got a long way to go.
What really makes this movie such a great fit for Cinema Sips is the plentiful alcohol that is poured and consumed on-screen for a solid hour and a half. A drunken waiter offering vodka and scotch; Peter Sellers refusing alcohol then getting wine poured all over his hand anyway; Hollywood power players sipping cocktails at the retro bar- it’s a classic cocktail lover’s paradise. While watching The Party, I recommend drinking a Brunette in Yellow.
Brunette in Yellow
2.5 oz lemon vodka
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz simple syrup
3 drops rosewater
Mix all ingredients in a shaker over ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass, and enjoy!
Once Hrundi gives in and actually has a drink, The Party becomes a wild, nutty ride featuring a gorgeous French ingenue, a Russian ballet troupe, and a house full of bubbles. Perhaps you’ve thrown a party or attended one that evolved into something crazier and crazier as the night went on, ending only when the sun comes up. If not, watching this movie makes you feel like you have. I’m sure in real life I would be the neurotic hostess fretting about her hair getting wet while her house is being destroyed, but when I watch this I like to pretend I’m the loopy, drunk actress who sees imaginary things in the bottom of her cocktail glass. After a couple of these vodka concoctions, I might not be too far off. Cheers!