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Tag Archives: bourbon cocktail

Giant

Giant

Image credit: Giant, 1956

They say everything is bigger in Texas. Well, when it comes to cinema, perhaps they’re right. A prime example would be this week’s film Giant (DVD/Download). True Texans, and yes even Yankee transplants like me, can appreciate this epic film about land, greed, pride, and passion. With a run time of 3 hours and 20 minutes, there’s nothing small about Giant. With Thanksgiving looming, it’s the perfect time to settle in with a classic film about gluttony and family dysfunction.

Starring Rock Hudson as a west Texas rancher and Elizabeth Taylor as his Yankee bride, the timeline of Giant spans decades as it tells the story of the Reata ranch and its unhappy inhabitants. As a progressive northerner, Taylor is a fish out of water in the wild frontier of rural Texas. She loves her husband, and grows to love the barren open environment of her new home, but gets easily frustrated by the prejudice and intolerance she frequently witnesses. Her ally (a very HOT James Dean) saunters across the screen all brooding and beautiful, and together these two outcasts form an unlikely friendship. Their scenes together are simply magic, and one can truly sense the mutual respect that these two people shared in real life as well. Of course, Elizabeth Taylor’s chemistry with Rock Hudson is pretty incredible too, and the scene of Hudson gazing longingly at his estranged wife from across a crowded wedding, with love and adoration written all over his face, is one of the most romantic moments I’ve witnessed on the big screen. Seriously, all the feels.

With a movie about Texas cattle, dusty plains, and bit hats, one has to indulge in a little bourbon. OK, maybe a lot of bourbon. After all, you’ve got over 3 hours to sip- make it a double. While watching Giant, I recommend drinking a Reata Sweet Tea (bonus points for using Texas ingredients!).

Reata Sweet Tea

1 ½ oz Treaty Oak Red Handed Bourbon

1 oz Firefly Sweet Tea Bourbon

6 oz Texas Honey Cider

½ oz Lemon Juice

2 dashes Orange Bitters

Pour all ingredients over ice in a highball glass, stirring gently to combine.

Reata Sweet Tea

I’ve lived in Texas for more than a decade, but in many ways I can still identify with Elizabeth Taylor’s outsider character. I see a lot of injustices in my state, and tend to shake my fists pretty hard at our government, but I also have a deep appreciation for the land and the people I’ve met here. I’m proud to say I’m a Texan, despite not being a native one. You see, Texas is a state of mind, and yes- it is giant. Cheers y’all!

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The Prestige

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the prestige

Image credit: The Prestige, 2006

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.

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.

bulleit catch

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!

Edward Scissorhands

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Image Credit: 20th Century Fox, 1990, Edward Scissorhands

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox, 1990, Edward Scissorhands

This week, my film selection was inspired by some drinkware accessories my husband crafted. His company Heartless Machine was contracted to make some amazing scissor sculptures for a failed NBC pilot, and part of the collection included scissors that hook onto cocktail glasses. I liked them so much that I convinced him to make a few extras, so I am now the proud owner of some very dangerous barware! What better movie to go along with these sharp scissors than Edward Scissorhands (DVD/Download)?

Released in 1990, Edward Scissorhands was the first collaboration between filmmaker Tim Burton and actor Johnny Depp. The story is about a boy who was invented by an eccentric, loving man, but before he could get his real hands and become a full human, the inventor died. Years later, the boy (by now a young man) is found living alone in the inventor’s castle by a kind Avon lady. She brings him home to her suburban house, where he falls in love with the family’s daughter (played by Winona Ryder). In the suburbs, Edward is at first a beloved novelty, sculpting hedges and creating wacky asymmetrical hairdos for all the ladies, but eventually the neighbors turn on him and he is forced to return to isolation. There are definite influences from old monster movies, as well as a great commentary on suburban life. I love Tim Burton movies for their wild production and costume design, and this movie was no exception. The neighborhood houses, though simple and plain in design, are painted in bright pastel colors to make them look even more fake than the people inside them. Johnny Depp is nearly unrecognizable in this, playing his role a bit like Charlie Chaplin with a learning disorder. I’m willing to overlook the filmmakers’ poor choice of hair color for Winona Ryder because the movie is so good, but seriously, strawberry blonde is definitely not her color.

One of my favorite scenes is when Alan Arkin takes Edward down to the basement for a drink. I can practically smell the mustiness as they descend the rickety wooden staircase, but the dad of this eccentric family has fashioned a pretty great lounge area in the corner. Sure, it’s a little sad that he has to hide it in the basement, but I love the padded freestanding bar with its vintage lights and plentiful liquor bottles. He serves Edward “lemonade”- the brown variety, which knocks him out cold. My cocktail this week is definitely not for the faint of heart, and it’s definitely not actual lemonade, though it does contain lemon juice. When watching Edward Scissorhands, I recommend drinking a chilled glass of “Lemonade”.

Lemonade”

3 oz Amaretto

1.5 oz Bourbon

1 oz fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon simple syrup

Lemon Peel for garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker with cracked ice and add the liquid ingredients. Shake vigorously to blend and chill. Add fresh ice cubes to a glass, and strain the mixture into the glass. Rub a lemon peel around the rim of the glass to release the oils, then drop it into the drink to serve.

lemonade

I know I’m lucky to be married to a metalworker who can turn my barware from ho-hum to seriously cool, and I’m lobbying for him to put some of these scissor accessories up for sale on his website, http://heartlessmachine.com . But until that happens, enjoy your “lemonade” with or without sharp edges and revel in this beautiful story of a misunderstood man. After seeing what Edward can do with hair styling and ice sculpture, I can’t help but think of all the other uses for those scissor hands. Cutting up limes and lemons for cocktail hour perhaps? A girl can dream. Cheers!