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Tag Archives: cocktail recipe

Teen Witch

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Teen Witch

Image credit: Teen Witch, 1989

I’m not sure whether the How Did This Get Made? podcast is the greatest thing to happen to my Netflix queue, or the worst. It has shined a light on so many terrible (but somehow great?) movies I’d missed over the years, prompting me to turn off my normal taste barometers and see what all the fuss was about. Such was the case with this week’s film Teen Witch (DVD/Download).

Starring Robyn Lively as a teenager who discovers she has magical powers on her 16th birthday (which happens to coincide with Friday the 13th), this movie is half-John Hughes/half-80’s music video. Think sax solos, dry ice, teased hair, etc. I thought the weird musical number would be limited to just the opening credits, but no- it’s the whole damn thing (including one bizarre rap song “Top That” which I don’t totally get, but can’t look away from). Lively’s Louise is the classic smart, social reject yearning to be popular, and she achieves this goal by putting a spell on her high school classmates and wearing tighter clothes. Where Teen Witch really surprises me is with the character of her jock-hero obsession, who turns out to be a surprisingly good guy. Sure, he takes her to a sketchy abandoned house to fool around, but let’s not hold that against him. She seemed into it, rusty floor nails and all. Let’s just hope he came prepared with a CONDOM!

One of my favorite things about this movie is Zelda Rubenstein’s Madame Serena, the fortune teller/witch-guru. Totally adorable, she guides Louise through spells and potions, eventually helping her realize that she doesn’t need powers after all- she’s already pretty great. If I could be anywhere on Friday the 13th, it would be in Madame Serena’s lounge, mixing up something potent. While watching Teen Witch, I recommend drinking a Top That!

Top That!

1 oz Club Soda

2 oz Gin

¾ oz Lemon Juice

¾ oz Simple Syrup

¾ oz Blue Curacao

1 egg white

Fill a Collins glass 1/3 full with crushed ice, top with club soda, and set aside. Pour remaining ingredients into a shaker with no ice and shake vigorously for about 10 seconds. Add ice cubes and shake again until well-chilled and frothy. Strain into the prepared glass.

Top That

I know I shouldn’t like this movie, and yet, I totally do. It’s cheesy and dated and trite, but somehow that just makes it better. There’s enough romance and hormone jokes to appeal to my teen-movie sensibilities, and the out-of-focus, badly choreographed, slow-motion dance sequences are basically what’s been missing from my life. I dare anybody to top that. Cheers!

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Splendor in the Grass

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Image Credit Warner Bros, Splendor in the Grass, 1961

Image Credit Warner Bros, Splendor in the Grass, 1961

I’m switching gears a bit on my high school movie binge this May to revisit a classic high school film, and by classic I mean pre-John Hughes. Splendor in the Grass (DVD/Download) was released in 1961 and stars Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty (in his first feature film role) as two star-crossed Kansas teenage lovers. Though I’m of course a big fan of classic cinema, this film has always felt timeless to me. It captures teen angst in such a pure way- ie. that feeling of every little problem being a life or death situation, the intensity of emotions, and inability to wait for the future to happen. On the surface it’s a high school movie about “going all the way”, but really it’s about the passion of youth and the remembrance of things past.

Splendor in the Grass tells the tale of Bud Stamper and Deanie Loomis, two teenagers in rural Kansas. He’s a rich boy who wants to shirk the family oil business in favor of becoming a farmer, and she’s the daughter of a humble shopkeeper. When the movie begins, it’s clear that Bud and Deanie are the most popular couple in school, and genuinely in love. However, soon teenage lust rears its ugly head, and Bud can’t reconcile his passionate yearnings with the “good girl” on his arm. There is a betrayal, and Deanie is driven mad with grief. The film is set against the background of the Roaring 20’s, and it’s fun to see Bud’s flapper sister come to town to shake up the family. Deanie’s clueless mother also deserves special mention, since her cure-all for mental illness seems to be a big plate of mystery meat and gravy.  As the Fresh Prince so wisely said, “Parents just don’t understand.”  The beautiful Natalie Wood does an amazing job of becoming unhinged, and it’s easy to see why Warren Beatty was a heartthrob in his day- Yowza! Sorry, but he puts pretty much any teen idol of recent years to shame.

My drink this week is inspired by the Wordsworth poem that is recited during the film- “Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower, we will grieve not; rather find strength in what remains behind.”  This drink references floral notes and farm life in Kansas, and I’m using an exciting new beverage I found at my local store called Tekeen.  This is a pre-mixed alcoholic drink, but of course I like to fancy it up with a little St. Germain.  When watching Splendor in the Grass, I recommend drinking a glass of Mabel’s Merriment.

Mabel’s Merriment

1 1/2 oz Tekeen Cucumber Lime beverage

1 oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur

2 oz club soda

Fresh Key Limes

Build ingredients over ice in a tall Collins glass.  Garnish with fresh key lime slices.

Mabels merriment

I think everyone can relate to the feeling that what is happening in high school is so tragically important at the time, and this film shows that the bonds formed during that period are never really forgotten. Perhaps that’s why I love high school movies so much, for they are the films I watched over and over again as a teenager, as I was just beginning to shape my identity. In many ways I feel a closer bond with the characters in these films than I do to my actual classmates from that time. Watching this movie again (still on the VHS tape I bought in high school!) certainly makes me feel like I attended a reunion of sorts. It’s no secret I hated high school, but I absolutely loved that time in my life when I was discovering cinema, and watching anything and everything I could get my hands on. I miss those days, when every script and style and actor was new to me, but I will grieve not- rather find strength in the great films that remain behind. Cheers!

 

Pillow Talk

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Image Credit: Universal Pictures 1959

Image Credit: Universal Pictures 1959

This is one of those weeks where the drink I want to make is the main influence for my movie selection. Today, I really wanted to use the new Deep Eddy Grapefruit Vodka that I bought myself as a Christmas present, plus I had a great mock-tail recipe I wanted to convert into a cocktail. Because the drink is pink-hued and sweetened with honey, I immediately thought of Pillow Talk. This is one of my all-time favorite films, and it made me a lifelong lover of all things Doris Day. I love her Manhattan apartment with its pink walls and pink countertops, her fun little hats, and the way she’s a smart, sophisticated, career-oriented woman during a time period when that was not really the norm. Doris Day did a number of working-gal romantic comedies during the late 1950’s-early 1960’s, but this one is by far the best.

In Pillow Talk, Doris Day plays Jan Morrow, an interior decorator who shares a party line with Rock Hudson’s character Brad Allen. For those youngsters who aren’t familiar, a party line was a phone line you shared with a total stranger. Brad Allen is a playboy musician who spends most of his time romancing women over the phone, and Jan can’t get any business calls through. They argue with each other over the phone, but then by chance Brad sees Jan in real life, falls head over heels, and disguises himself as Rex Stetson, the Texas-twang-voiced cowboy with a penchant for dip recipes and calling women “ma’am”. Jan falls for him, not knowing his true identity, and well, you can probably figure out the rest. I love Day’s intelligent pluckiness, and the chemistry between her and Rock Hudson is electric. Tony Randall also turns in a hilarious performance as Jan’s lovesick client (a pre-Niles Crane study in effeminate straight male characters) and let’s not forget Thelma Ritter as Jan’s boozy maid Alma.

For my drink, I’ll be using Deep Eddy Grapefruit Vodka, which is a great mixer, or just fine on its own with a little lime over ice. I came across a wonderful non-alcoholic mixed drink on TheKitchn blog which I posted on the Cinema Sips Facebook page a week ago, and it got such a good response that I felt inspired to use it here. I’m keeping most of the recipe the same, but tossing in a shot of grapefruit vodka to up the ante. Note, this recipe produces enough syrup for several servings of this drink, so either invite friends to drink with you, or refrigerate the leftovers. In celebration of Rex Stetson’s charming colloquial sayings, I call this one the Honey Lamb.

Honey Lamb

Zest of 1 large pink grapefruit

1 cup freshly-squeezed pink grapefruit juice

¾ cup mild-flavored honey

1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger

Deep Eddy Grapefruit Vodka

Carbonated water (I used grapefruit-flavored water)

Combine the grapefruit zest, juice, honey, and ginger in a small saucepan over medium heat. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring to dissolve the honey.

Remove from heat and let cool. Strain the syrup through a sieve into a clean container and discard the solids.

Put 2 tablespoons of the grapefruit syrup into a collins glass filled with ice. Add a shot of grapefruit vodka. Top with carbonated water and stir lightly.

Honey Lamb

Feel free to invite some of your non-imbibing friends to your viewing party and just leave out the vodka. I promise, even people that aren’t really into classic cinema will love this film. Doris Day’s fashions alone are enough to make me swoon, and that’s even before dreamy Rock Hudson makes his appearance on screen. Just for fun, I suggest taking a drink every time he plays the “You Are My Inspiration” song. Warning- if your drink does contain vodka, you may want to take a lesson from Alma and stay out of fast-moving elevators tomorrow. Cheers!

(Note:  The cute straws in my drinks can be found here)