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The Lost City of Z

Lost City of Z

Image Credit: The Lost City of Z, 2017

I’m going to be totally honest here- this week I really just wanted to make a Pisco Sour. This South American classic cocktail is one of my favorite drinks, but up till now I’d never found a movie that it pairs well with.  After 3 years I’d just about given up hope (as tempting as Fitzcarraldo is, I’m not sure it’s “on brand”), so imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered The Lost City of Z (DVD/Download).  Starring a dreamy Charlie Hunnam, the film could best be described as Downton Abbey-meets-Apocalypse Now.  Sorry Klaus, I’ve got to go with this one.

Based on a true story, The Lost City of Z follows early-20th century British explorer Percy Fawcett as he tries to find an ancient lost city deep in the Amazon, fending off attacks from both hostile natives in Brazil and ignorant skeptics back home in England. He’s joined on the way by Robert Pattinson (who has finally shaken off the stench of Twilight), and together they navigate a dangerous river through the jungle. Despite the harsh, unforgiving climate, the costumes are all very Out of Africa, and I find myself expecting someone to show up with crystal stemware and a portable bar at any moment. Maybe I’m getting as feverish as the Malaria-ridden explorers.

Percy Fawcett became obsessed with a lost civilization in the Amazon after finding artifacts in the jungle. I didn’t see a cocktail shaker in with the broken shards of pottery, but you never know- maybe they had their ways. While watching Percy cut his way through dense shrubbery in the punishing humidity, you can relax in comfort with this South American treat- the Pisco Sour.

Pisco Sour

2 oz Pisco

1 oz Lime Juice

½ oz Simple Syrup

1 Egg White

2-3 dashes Angostura Bitters

1 lime wedge

Combine pisco, lime juice, simple syrup, and egg white in a cocktail shaker. Shake well to combine, then fill with ice. Shake vigorously until frothy. Strain into a glass, and top with bitters. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Pisco Sour

If you’re like me, you’ll really appreciate the lush language of this film’s script (drawn heavily from the book on which it was based), as well as the unspoiled beauty of the unknown. I came to it hoping for some eye candy and an excuse to drink a pisco sour. I left wondering what other mysteries the world still has in store for us. Cheers!

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Top Five Movie Bartenders

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Bartenders have always played a crucial role in cinema.  Unsung heroes, they offer liquid comfort and a friendly ear to the distraught and weary.  What would have happened, say, if The Dude didn’t get his bowling alley White Russian in The Big Lebowski?  Or if Nick and Nora Charles were suddenly cut off from martinis in The Thin Man?  (well, they’d probably be less hungover, but dull as hell). This month, I’m highlighting my Top Five Movie Bartenders.

1.  Brian Flanagan, Cocktail

Image credit Touchstone Pictures, 1998, Cocktail

Image credit Touchstone Pictures, 1998, Cocktail

Oh what Tom Cruise can do with a cocktail shaker.  Flair bartending at its finest!

 

2.  Knobby, Burglar

Image Credit Warner Bros, 1987, Burglar

Image Credit Warner Bros, 1987, Burglar

Any bartender who can actually understand Bobcat Goldthwait is worth his weight in gold.

 

3.  Lloyd, The Shining

Image credit Warner Bros, 1980, The Shining

Image credit Warner Bros, 1980, The Shining

Always accommodating, whether it’s mixing a cocktail or engaging in idle chit-chat with psychopathic murderers.

 

4.  Brad, Magnolia

Image credit: New Line Cinema, 1999, Magnolia

Image credit: New Line Cinema, 1999, Magnolia

Braces- HOT.

 

5.  Lil, Coyote Ugly

Image credit: Touchstone Pictures, 1999, Coyote Ugly

Image credit: Touchstone Pictures, 2000, Coyote Ugly

Like a sexy Mrs. Garrett, Maria Bello dispenses life lessons and cocktail wisdom to the young and unskilled.  If only her bar weren’t SO tacky.

The Great Gatsby

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Image Credit Warner Bros. Pictures, 2013

Image Credit Warner Bros. Pictures, 2013

What else can we say about one of the greatest American novels ever to be written? A novel that’s been adapted several times onto the big screen, to varying degrees of success? Plenty, as it turns out. Think what you will about Baz Luhrmann’s most recent adaptation of The Great Gatsby (DVD/Download), but one thing it is not is boring. I’ll admit, at times I found it a bit slow (ahem- everything after the car accident), however the raucous party scenes more than make up for that. Plus, it is a truly great film for pairing with a cocktail.  Back in the ’20’s, they knew how to pour a good drink.

I don’t need to bore anybody with a synopsis of The Great Gatsby, as I’m assuming we all read it in high school. And if you’ve never read it, order or download it right now!! Even if it’s a bit trite to say, this really is one of my favorite books. I think the reason directors have such a hard time turning it into a movie is because the language in the book is so beautiful. The plot is interesting, sure, but the language- that’s what keeps you reading. The sheer perfection of Fitzgerald’s sentences and vocabulary is enough to make me give up writing altogether because I know I’ll never be as talented as he was. However, I can be as drunk as he reputedly was, and so can you if you follow my recipe below!

When watching this movie, which takes place during the roaring ’20’s, I’m compelled to use a liquor which was like water back then- gin. I love the culture of the speakeasy and the raucous, never-ending parties of the wealthy, not to mention the clothes and bobbed hairstyles. But really, even the best-dressed character in this film looks naked without a cocktail glass in their hand. Because Baz Luhrmann’s film has more effervescence and pizazz than any other adaptations of this story, I’m serving up a Gin Fizz this week.

Prohibition Gin Fizz

2oz gin

Dash of lime juice

½ tsp simple syrup

1 egg white

Soda Water

Lime twist for garnish

Pour the gin, lime juice, simple syrup, and egg white into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for a few minutes (I promise, it’s worth it). Strain into a glass and top with soda water. Garnish with lime twist.

Gin-Fizz

I like to drink this and imagine I’m at Gatsby’s mansion, wearing any number of the beautiful creations Carey Mulligan gets to model as Daisy Buchanan. I could probably take a pass on the strange hip-hop/jazz mash-ups that populate this movie in favor of classic jazz, but I’d enjoy every minute of being fought over by Leonardo DiCaprio and Joel Edgerton (can I just say WOW about his performance as Tom Buchanan??). Even if you’ve read the book many times like I have, and have seen all the movies, it’s still pretty fun to watch this version, especially with a tasty cocktail. Is it a perfect movie? No. Is it fun? Absolutely. Jay Gatsby wouldn’t have had it any other way. Cheers!

 

Mean Girls

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Mean Girls

Mean Girls

Halloween is upon us in just a few days, and in the spirit of all things scary I’ve chosen to feature a movie that depicts the scariest thing of all- high school. Forget serial killers, zombies, and ghosts; the real terror of my life has been choosing the right cafeteria table. Additionally, this film’s commentary on women’s Halloween costumes is just priceless- In the regular world, Halloween is when children dress up in costumes and beg for candy. In Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.” Yep, sounds about right.

Mean Girls is based on the non-fiction book “Queen Bees and Wannabes” by Rosalind Wiseman. The movie tells the story of Cady Heron (played by an unusually fresh-faced Lindsay Lohan), who grew up in Africa with her globetrotting parents, but is now plunked down in an American high school. She makes friends first with the artsy kids (my personal clique-of-choice in high school) but then gets slowly sucked into the world of popular girls (aka The Plastics). This movie is hilarious in its depiction of the social strata, but also chillingly real too. Girls can be VERY mean, and not just the popular ones. In the end the film gets tied up in a nice harmonious little bow, which is a shame because that so very rarely happens in real life. If this were real life, I predict that over summer vacation everyone conveniently forgets to be nice to each other, and the whole system of queen bees and wannabes resets itself.

Because The Plastics make a big deal out of wearing pink (only on Wednesdays!), I think this drink is a perfect fit. It may not be spooky or scary, but it’s DELICIOUS and it totally makes me wish Amy Poehler (aka “the cool mom”) would have mixed me up a batch of these back in the day for an underage cocktail hour. For Mean Girls, I’m serving up the Pink Lady Problem:

1 ¼ oz gin

½ oz lemon juice

½ oz grenadine

1 egg white

Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

pink-lady-problem

You may say, isn’t the consumption of raw egg whites in a cocktail dangerous? Perhaps, but in general the alcohol will kill most germs that are in there. I love egg white cocktails, and I’m excited to feature one here. The egg whites add a creaminess that is so different from most drinks, plus it’s a fun excuse to work out your upper arms while you shake it up. So pop in a Toaster Strudel, perhaps slip into your Halloween costume that’s really just “lingerie and some form of animal ears”, mix up some drinks, grab your 3 closest frenemies, and say a prayer of thanks that you only have to experience high school once in your life. Cheers!