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That Funny Feeling

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That Funny Feeling

Image credit: That Funny Feeling, 1965.

If I had to describe my favorite film genre, I’d have to say, “anything with 1960’s cocktail dresses”.   Even before Mad Men came on the scene, I was already obsessed.  Blame Doris Day, blame Sandra Dee– so many wonderful actresses took me down that A-line chiffon rabbit hole.  This week, I’ll be watching one of my favorites in the “pretty dress” canon, That Funny Feeling (Disc/Download).

Starring Sandra Dee and her then-husband, crooner Bobby Darin, That Funny Feeling follows the familiar Pillow Talk formula that worked so well for Doris and Rock. Sandra’s character Joan is a maid/struggling actress, who meets cute with Bobby Darin’s lothario character Tom, never realizing that he owns the apartment she cleans every morning. His trip gets cancelled, right after Joan allows him to escort her home to “her place”, which is actually his place! He has to move in with a friend (Donald O’Connor, in a truly bizarre role), to maintain the charade, during which time she covers his leather sofa with chintz slipcovers and hawks his suits– I’m still not sure why. Maybe so we can enjoy the sight gag of Bobby Darin climbing down a New York City fire escape in nothing but a plaid parka?   Strange plot devices aside, this movie is full of beautiful cocktail dresses, gin, midcentury interior décor, vintage stereo equipment, and sassy best friends. That’s enough to sell me on even the worst movie.

Sandra Dee is a classy lady in this film, allowing Bobby Darin to buy her gin and quinine that she takes one lousy sip of. Until later, when she has (oh dear!) a FULL GLASS and gets hammered. You can certainly watch this movie with a gin and tonic (I like the quinine ratio in Jack Rudy Tonic Syrup), but I also want to highlight the scene where her roommate dumps a bunch of brandy and Cointreau on a roast duck and lights it up with her cigarette. God, I love the 60’s. While watching That Funny Feeling, I recommend drinking a Big Apple Sidecar.

Big Apple Sidecar

1 ½ oz Calvados Apple Brandy

1 oz Cointreau

1 oz spiced apple cider

1 oz lime juice

½ oz lemon juice

½ oz simple syrup

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a coupe glass.

big apple sidecar

I will admit, there’s a cringe-inducing part of this film where Sandra Dee pretends to have a Japanese accent. It’s bad. It’s very, very bad. However, the script does lament the pervasive white-washing of Hollywood, much to my surprise. That’s the thing about these Sandra Dee movies- they may look all fluffy and retro on the surface, but dig deep and you’ll find some thoroughly modern problems.  After all, sometimes even the best cocktails need a little sweet to balance the bitter. Cheers!

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox, The Grand Budapest Hotel, 2014

Oscar season is upon us once again, so this week I’m featuring the most cocktail-friendly of the Best Picture Nominees- The Grand Budapest Hotel (DVD/Download)*. Wes Anderson’s charming adventure/caper features all the classic Anderson tropes- fabulous sets, fabulous costumes, refined characters, and beautiful storytelling. It’s a world that I want to step into, martini glass in hand, wry smile on my face. Whatever happens on Sunday night, I’m just glad that more people are talking about this delightful film.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is about a resort hotel in the fictional European republic of Zubrowka (which incidentally is a Polish vodka brand) in the years between “The Great Wars”. M. Gustave is the concierge at this beautiful hotel, where he meets and –ahem- services Madame D. After her sudden death, he is bequeathed a valuable painting, but her family objects and charges M. Gustave with murder. The silky-tongued concierge must now escape from prison and make his way back to the Grand Budapest where the painting has been hidden. Helping him along is his trusted Lobby Boy, and the secret society of the Crossed Keys, a venerable who’s who of Anderson regulars. Ralph Fiennes is absolutely perfect as M. Gustave, playing the character as funny, charming, and desperate all at the same time. Of course I’m madly in love with the sets for the Grand Budapest Hotel, and wish I could check in for a two week break from reality.

My cocktail this week references the famous painting in the film, the fictional “Boy With Apple”. I’m excited to use Calvados this week, which is a French apple brandy. Surely, M. Gustav would have sipped this on many occasions. While watching The Grand Budapest Hotel, I recommend drinking a Grand Apple.

Grand Apple

1.25 oz Calvados

2/3 oz simple syrup

¾ oz fresh grapefruit juice

2/3 oz lemon juice

Pink Champagne

Apple spear (for garnish)

Mix all ingredients except champagne in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a coupe glass, and garnish with pink champagne and apple.

Pink Apple

The hue of this drink is not quite as pink as the Mendel’s boxes of confections in the film, but you get the idea. Because of the addition of pink champagne, this cocktail makes a great addition to your Oscar party this year. I know I’ll be sipping it during the telecast, and wishing I had a Lobby Boy to attend to my every need. Oh wait, isn’t that what they call a husband? 😉 Cheers!

 

*note: While I love The Grand Budapest Hotel and think it’s a great movie to watch with a cocktail, I will actually be rooting for Boyhood this Sunday. I cannot say enough good things about this film, nor even put into words the impact it’s had on me. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. Then buy the book.