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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

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Image credit: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Sometimes, you just need a good excuse for a Tiki cocktail. And what better excuse than Walt Disney’s CinemaScope extravaganza 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Disc/Download)? With island names like Volcania, and talk of “grog”, this movie seems like a perfect match for drinks involving fire and rum. Let’s climb aboard the Nautilus and pour one out!

Starring James Mason as Captain Nemo, with Peter Lorre, Paul Lukas, and Kirk Douglas as the men tasked with investigating a mysterious “sea monster”, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is based on the Jules Verne novel about the adventures of a futuristic underwater ship in the 19th century. What makes this such a joy to watch is the sheer opulence of the production design, with pipe organs, circular viewing portals, and grand salons not often found below deck. Additionally, the cinematic practical effects make this a true fantasy experience. You can practically taste the saltwater coming off that giant attacking squid, or feel the warmth of a lush, blue, tropical isle thirty seconds before the natives attack.

Speaking of tropical, with location shooting taking place in the Bahamas and Jamaica, a rum-based drink is practically required. This one is a slight variation of the Sea Serpent’s Embrace, served at Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar in Disneyland. In a fun twist, I’m setting it on fire by using a hollowed-out lime filled with overproof rum. When watching 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, I recommend drinking this Volcania cocktail.


1 ½ oz Dark Rum

1 ½ oz Gold Rum

¾ oz Gin

¾ oz Brandy

¾ oz Falernum

½ oz Passionfruit Syrup

1 oz Lime Juice

1 oz Orange Juice

1 oz Pineapple Juice

16 oz Crushed Ice, divided

½ Hollowed-out lime

½ oz Overproof Rum

Combine all ingredients with a cup of ice in a shaker. Shake until chilled, then strain over a glass filled with a fresh cup of ice. Top with half a hollowed-out lime filled with overproof rum. Light it on fire.

If sexy, bearded James Mason in a tight knit turtleneck does it for you, then you’ll definitely want to give this film a watch. Even if you’re not into sci-fi, there’s enough adventure in this to make 20,000 Leagues worth your time. It is, indeed, a whale of a tale. Cheers!

The Parent Trap

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The Parent Trap

Image Credit: The Parent Trap, 1961

Kid’s Month continues on Cinema Sips this week with the beloved Disney classic, The Parent Trap (DVD/Download).  I know a lot of people love the re-make, but for me it’s Hayley Mills 4Ever.  A great summertime movie filled with horseback riding, canoes, and mosquito bites, the original film will always be a favorite.

From the creepy stop-motion animation dolls in the opening credits to the obvious split screen special effects, this movie has vintage charm written all over it. As Susan and her “twin sister” Sharon get to know each other, they crush hard on Ricky Nelson and dance to Annette Funicello records. One can almost overlook the implausible plot that two loving parents would divorce and separate their twins, never telling the children about the fact that they have a sibling out in the world. Everyone is just so darn likable, that previous bizarre custody agreements get swept under the rug. Popsicles for everyone!

Susan and Sharon are miraculously reunited at summer camp, where they begin hatching a plan to get their parents back together. I myself was never a fan of camp (communal bathrooms and mildew… shudder) but 1960’s summer camp actually looks pretty fun. Even more fun is the eventual camping trip they take with hunky dad Brian Kieth, which is filled with fishing, cuddly bear cubs, and the villainous Miss Vicky. While watching The Parent Trap, I recommend drinking a Campfire Martini.

Campfire Martini

3 oz chocolate liqueur

½ oz vodka

2 ½ oz half-and-half

Crushed graham cracker crumbs

Chocolate syrup

Marshmallows (toasted)

To prepare glass, lightly dip the rim of a martini glass in chocolate syrup, then dip in graham cracker crumbs. To make drink, combine chocolate liqueur, vodka, and half-and-half in a shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into prepared glass. Garnish with toasted marshmallows, speared.

Campfire Martini

While most of the actresses in The Parent Trap have decidedly “old lady” haircuts (even teenaged Hayley Mills), Maureen O’Hara still stands out as a genuine stunner. Classy, funny, tough, beautiful- she’s a real woman. Who wouldn’t fall for her over a candlelit dinner at Martinelli’s? As a kid I came for Hayley Mills and Hayley Mills. As an adult, I stay for O’Hara (and hunky dad Brian Kieth). Cheers!