RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Bill Murray

Moonrise Kingdom

Posted on
Moonrise Kingdom

Image credit: Moonrise Kingdom, 2012

There’s nothing like young lovers and a vintage New England setting to get me excited for summer. Of course my all-time favorite example of this is A Summer Place, but with his 2012 film Moonrise Kingdom (DVD/Download), Wes Anderson created a modern summertime masterpiece. It may not have Troy Donahue in short-shorts, but Bill Murray does sport some nifty madras pants.

Set in the fictional town of New Penzance, Moonrise Kingdom features wainscotted homes full of sturdy antiques, a picturesque lighthouse, rocky beach coves, and pine forests. I can almost smell the salt air, and the vintage postcard-style cinematography is truly transporting. Like any Anderson film this one is full of bizarrely perfect casting, like Bruce Willis as a lovelorn sheriff, Edward Norton as an Eagle Scout troop leader, and Tilda Swinton as a comically severe social worker. The pre-teen lovers are both disaffected to the outside world yet earnest with one another, and as they dance in their underwear to the music coming from a portable record player, I find myself longing to be even half as cool.

There’s nothing like a freshly pressed scout uniform to make you think of summertime cookouts, the open air, and wilderness lodges. This film deserves a drink that’s crisp, refreshing, and easy to make indoors as well as out. While watching Moonrise Kingdom, I recommend drinking a Khaki Scout Cooler.

Khaki Scout Cooler

1 ½ oz Gin

2-3 dashes celery bitters

½ oz Maraschino liqueur

4-5 mint leaves

1 slice of cucumber

1 lime wedge

Topo Chico sparkling water

Muddle mint leaves and cucumber with the maraschino liqueur at the bottom of a Collins glass. Add gin, bitters, and ice. Top with Topo Chico (or sparkling water) and squeeze the lime wedge, dropping into the glass.

Khaki Scout Cooler

photo by @pop_up_cobra

I may be stuck in the fiery pit of hell that is Texas in the summer, but this movie just begs to be watched outdoors. Luckily I’ve got a refreshing cocktail on tap, a pair of madras shorts, and a portable fan. Record player optional. Cheers!

Advertisements

The Royal Tenenbaums

Posted on
Image Credit Touchtone Pictures 2001, The Royal Tenenbaums

Image Credit Touchtone Pictures 2001, The Royal Tenenbaums

A recent screening of The Grand Budapest Hotel has inspired me this week to revisit my favorite Wes Anderson film, The Royal Tenenbaums (DVD/Download). Of course I love any film by this director who has such a keen eye for style, but my personal favorite is still this 2001 ode to dysfunctional families and Nico. It’s quirky, it’s stylish, and it’s heartfelt (I dare anyone not to feel saddened to their core as Elliott Smith’s ‘Needle in the Hay’ frames a character’s suicide attempt), but it’s also delightfully funny in other moments. With The Royal Tenenbaums, Wes Anderson has created a world that seems so real that I feel like I could just put on a Lacoste polo dress and aviator sunglasses and step right in.

This film tells the story of the wealthy Tenenbaum family and the struggle of the patriarch Royal to bring them back together. Gene Hackman does a phenomenal job of playing the hilarious and conniving Royal, and Anjelica Houston brings an unexpected softness to the part of his estranged wife Etheline. Their three children are played by Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson, and Ben Stiller, and all three are former child prodigies who have grown up to be adult messes. Anderson regulars Bill Murray and Owen Wilson round out the cast, along with the sadly now-deceased Kumar Pallana (or Pagoda as I’ll always think of him). Of course the sets and costumes are phenomenal, like a 1970’s dollhouse come to life. There are the typical Wes Anderson quirks, like a pet hawk named Mordecai, and Dalmatian mice, and of course the soundtrack is perfect in every way. A mix of The Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground, Paul Simon, and a plucky orchestral score, the music of The Royal Tenenbaums always makes me feel like I’ve just raided the record collection of a very cool relative.

For my cocktail pairing, I wanted to find something that seemed classic yet eccentric, sort of like the characters in this film. I scoured my bar to come up with a list of ingredients that would be off-putting on their own, yet when brought together would make a wonderful union. I call this week’s concoction the Tenenbaum Toast.

 

1 ½ oz Deep Eddy Grapefruit Vodka
½ oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
½ oz Key Lime Juice
1 oz Club Soda
1 tsp Grenadine

Fill a champagne flute or small glass (the more unusual the better!) with crushed ice. Combine first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, and shake until chilled. Strain into prepared glass and top with club soda and grenadine. Dalmatian straw optional.

 

tenenbaum's-toast
The pink color of this drink is meant to match that beautiful “Wes Anderson Pink” (as I like to call it) that covers the walls of the Tenenbaum house, as well as much of The Grand Budapest Hotel. I like to think that Margot Tenenbaum would enjoy one of these in the bathtub with her clandestine vintage cigarettes, as her old television teeters perilously close to the water. So as Wes Anderson is showered with accolades for his latest film, I urge you to take the time to re-discover one of his older works with a strange and wonderful cocktail. If you want to go all out, layer on the eye liner and watch with a bored expression. Cheers!

Groundhog Day

Posted on
Image Credit Columbia Pictures 1993

Image Credit Columbia Pictures 1993

To all you woodchuck-chuckers out there, I know I may be a little early with my Groundhog Day celebration, but I’m so excited I just couldn’t wait!! Sunday marks one of my favorite holidays of the year, the day we look to a large squirrel predicting the weather. But Groundhog Day has become so much more, thanks in large part to the 1993 dark comedy classic starring Bill Murray. Full disclaimer, I happen to have grown up very close to Punxsutawney, PA, so that could be a reason this movie has endeared itself to me so strongly over the years. The polka music, the puddles of frigid murky water on street corners, the blizzards that move off to the east and hit Altoona- ah, childhood.

In Groundhog Day (DVD/Download), Bill Murray plays a weatherman Phil Conners who is sent to tiny little Punxsutawney with his producer and cameraman (played by Andie MacDowell and Chris Elliott, respectively) to cover Groundhog Day. He’s the cynical prima donna who rails against small-town life and finds annoyance in the quaintest of celebrations. While there, a strange phenomenon overtakes Phil, and he begins waking up every day in the same bed in Punxsutawney, on Groundhog Day. No matter what he does, he finds that his actions have no consequences, and the reset button keeps getting pushed on his life. In order to move on, he has to become a better man. What this has to do with the annual Groundhog prediction I’m not totally sure, but it does provide a fantastic backdrop. Of course, the comedy turns pretty dark as he begins to cycle through various ways to kill himself rather than endure one more day in Punxsutawney (understandably so), but there are also rare gems of comedic brilliance as he goes on a wild drunken bender through town, eats an entire restaurant menu while smoking a cigarette because there are no health consequences anymore, and executes a flawless bank heist. Murray is absolutely perfect as he transitions from cynical to desperate to charming, and even Andie MacDowell manages to turn in a performance that isn’t terrible.

Every year on Groundhog Day, my husband and I have started a tradition where we eat and drink like there’s no tomorrow, and live that day like we wish we could live every day for the rest of the year. The point being, if we were to suddenly wake up on February 3rd and it was still February 2nd, we’d like to plan a day that we could enjoy over and over again. With that idea of no consequences and no tomorrow in mind, my cocktail is a doozy this week. No, it’s not Sweet Vermouth on the rocks with a twist (I have one thing to say about that- Bleh). Instead, I’m serving up something a little more wild- a Don’t Forget Your Booties Shake. BING!

Don’t Forget Your Booties Shake

1.5 oz Godiva Chocolate Liqueur

1.5 oz Patrón XO

1 oz Brandy

2 Scoops Ice Cream (I used a French Silk flavor, but anything chocolate related is fine)

Milk to taste

Whipped cream (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice. Blend until liquefied, and then pour into a glass. Top with a dollop of whipped cream.

groundhog-shake

This really is the most calorically stupid mixed drink I could think of. Also, watch out for that first sip- it’s a doozy. Enjoy it today, because I like to think that on Groundhog Day, the possibility of no tomorrow and therefore no hangovers is exponentially higher. I know the original point of this holiday was for the groundhog to predict an early spring or six more weeks of winter, but as any Western Pennsylvanian can tell you, that whole thing is a joke. There are ALWAYS six more weeks of winter, even if Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t see his shadow. As Phil the weatherman says, “it’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life.” So drink up, laugh at Needlenose Ned the Head, shove an entire piece of angel food cake in your mouth, and make February 2nd the best day of your life (because you may see it again tomorrow). Cheers!

Lost in Translation

Posted on

'Lost in Translation' Movie Stills

This week’s selection was a bit of a challenge. In my opinion, a blog on cocktail and movie pairings wouldn’t be complete without Sofia Coppola’s 2003 masterpiece Lost in Translation. Set in Tokyo, this unexpected love story features Bill Murray in one of his finest roles, playing an American movie star sent to Japan to endorse a whiskey. While there, he meets Scarlett Johansson’s character Charlotte, a fellow American and malcontent. They share a drink at a swanky hotel bar, and spend the rest of the movie exploring Tokyo and maybe possibly falling in love.

The reason I say that this selection was challenging is because I personally am not a frequent whiskey drinker. I skew more toward gin and vodka concoctions, which for this movie seems all wrong. Bill Murray does a fantastic job of selling us on Suntory whiskey, and by the end of the film I want to drink a glass on the rocks and do goofy impersonations of the Rat Pack, just like him. So here’s what I suggest. If you like whiskey, buy this movie and a bottle of Suntory’s Hibiki blended single-malt, drink a glass or two and imagine you’re as cool as Bill Murray.

However, for the non-whiskey drinkers of the world, I’ve come up with a cocktail that I personally enjoy and that also stays true to the spirit of the film- The Whiskey Amour.

Whiskey Amour

2oz bourbon

1oz fresh grapefruit juice

1oz honey syrup (boil one part water and one part honey)

Grapefruit twist for garnish

Combine all the liquid ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into glass, garnish with grapefruit twist.

Whiskey-Amour

This drink is basically a Brown Derby, but I like to sweeten it a bit by adding more honey syrup than is typically called for. In relation to the film, it works on several levels. I’m using an American whiskey as a nod to the two American protagonists. The pink hue of the grapefruit juice references the opening scene of the film, and the honey references the music over the final scene of the film. This cocktail is to be enjoyed while you’re marveling at the amazing shots of Tokyo, and yearning for Charlotte to leave her hipster husband and run into Mr. Bob Harris’ arms. Drink enough and you may be tempted to sing along during the karaoke scene. Drink too much and you’ll be singing along with Sausalito.

What this week has taught me is that sometimes life surprises you. Whether it’s a May-December romance in Tokyo or a bourbon cocktail in your living room, the best experiences are often the ones you never saw coming. Cheers!