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Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights

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Dirty Dancing Havana Nights

Image credit: Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, 2004

I’m not going to pretend that this sequel holds a candle to the original Dirty Dancing. I don’t care what re-makes or sequels come down the pipeline, there will never be another Patrick Swayze. However- if you’re looking for a fun film with fabulous vintage clothes, gorgeous Cuban aesthetic, and the ever-adorable Diego Luna, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (DVD/Download) has you covered. Plus- bonus Swayze cameo!

In the same spirit of the original, Havana Nights follows a “good girl” who falls in love with a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. Katey can’t stand the entitled American jerks of her own social set, so when a cute Cuban waiter rescues her from the mean streets of Havana, she jumps at the chance to befriend him and spice up her ballroom dancing with some Latin moves. Even Patrick Swayze pops up as the hotel’s dance instructor, in a strange Johnny Castle time-warp. But even 17 years later, he’s still got the moves.

I’ve already featured the recipe for a classic mojito with the much-more-authentic revolution film I Am Cuba, as well as a watermelon sandia with the original Dirty Dancing. So why not combine the two? While watching Dirty Dancing Havana Nights, I recommend drinking a Watermelon Mojito.

Watermelon Mojito

2-3 Fresh watermelon cubes

2 oz white rum

Fresh mint leaves

2 tsp sugar

1 oz lime juice

Club Soda

Muddle watermelon, sugar, lime juice, and mint in the bottom of a glass. Add rum, then top with club soda. Stir gently to combine.

Watermelon Mojito

I’ll admit, this movie is mainly just a great excuse to ogle Diego Luna and drink mojitos. And damn if that Wyclef Jean song isn’t just as catchy as “Time of My Life”. Now that Americans can finally visit Cuba again, it might be time to dust off my Spanish and figure out the visa situation. But only if I can dance like a gringa and yell “Cooba!”  Cheers!

Dirty Dancing

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Image credit Dirty Dancing 1987

Image credit Dirty Dancing 1987

This week on Cinema Sips, I’m featuring a great summertime classic movie that pairs oh so well with a seasonal fruity cocktail. Dirty Dancing (DVD/Download) was a movie that I was forbidden to watch as a child, so of course my desire to see it grew to epic proportions until I finally watched it at a friend’s house around age fourteen and thought, “That’s IT??” I’d seen more scandal on All My Children on pretty much a daily basis by then, so what my mother’s reasoning was for keeping me in the dark, I still don’t know. But I will say, once I got over the disappointment that my world was not indeed rocked by this movie, I wanted to watch it again and again for the magic that is Patrick Swayze.

Dirty Dancing is the coming-of-age story of a young woman, Baby Houseman, who goes to a resort in the Catskills with her family over the summer, and falls in love with her dance instructor. Jennifer Grey was cast as Baby (despite that nose and badly permed hair), and Patrick Swayze plays bad-boy dancer Johnny Castle (what a name!!!). He teaches her the merengue; she teaches him that rich people are capable of kindness. They make love in his cabin and wear the latest 80’s fashions (despite this film taking place during 1963). Pretty much everybody in this movie is forgettable, with the exception of Mr. Swayze. He’s sexy, funny, vulnerable, and man- can he move! I love it when tough guys can also dance, and in his case, sing too. “She’s Like the Wind” is SOOOOOO 80’s, so again, why is it in this 60’s set film? Who knows. Dirty Dancing veers so close to being a terrible movie we love to make fun of, and of course I do mock parts of it relentlessly, but when it comes down to it, I could watch Baby and Johnny in the lake every day and still swoon every time.

My drink this week is inspired by Baby’s famous line when she first meets Johnny. “I carried a watermelon.” Yes Baby, you successfully brought fruit to a sexy dance party. Well done. I enjoyed this particular cocktail at San Antonio’s Hotel Havana last summer, and I was really excited to find a recipe for it in my favorite cocktail bible, Tipsy Texan. While watching Dirty Dancing, I recommend drinking a Watermelon Sandia.

Watermelon Sandia

2 oz Vodka

¾ oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur

1 ½ oz watermelon water (see note)

¾ oz fresh lime juice

¼ oz simple syrup

Watermelon wedge for garnish

 

Combine all the ingredients, except the watermelon wedge, in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously to chill. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the watermelon wedge.

Note: I made my watermelon water by muddling chunks of watermelon into a strainer placed over a small bowl. The solids will collect in the strainer, and the water will flow into the bowl.

Watermelon-Sandia

Nothing says summertime like watermelon and a passionate fling, though of course we all hope that Johnny and Baby live happily ever after (until he most likely gets drafted and sent to Vietnam). My favorite part is when Johnny punches through the window in his car, causing Baby to shriek “You’re Wild!!” about 5 miles down the road. To which my husband always shouts, “He just made that poor girl sit on broken glass!” So crank up the air conditioning, sip your Sandia, and remember- nobody puts Baby in a corner. Cheers!