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That Touch of Mink

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That Touch of Mink

Image credit: That Touch of Mink, 1962.

The world lost a shining light of female grace and gumption last week with the passing of Doris Day. Beloved by so many, it’s difficult to pinpoint what captivated us.  Was it her cheerful onscreen persona that could make even the worst day just a little bit better?  Or the way she portrayed working women as real people- driven to succeed but vulnerable enough to desire love?  Or perhaps it was her style- that perfect, not-a-hair-out-of-place style which made us understand how a woman could find pleasure and power in the art of beauty, just for herself.  For me, it was all of these things and more.  I’ve already covered one of my favorite movie characters Jan Morrow in Pillow Talk, but as we celebrate the life of Doris Day, I think it’s important to discuss another important role, Cathy Timberlake in That Touch of Mink (Disc/Download).

When I first saw this film twenty years ago, the only memory I took away was the Automat.  Such a quaint but brilliant concept- a vending machine for hot food!  Genius!  But watching it now, as an adult, and as a fan of the romance genre, I can say That Touch of Mink was ahead of its time.  Within the gorgeous Mad Men-esque world of the 1960s, we see Doris as an unemployed career-gal, meeting cute with Cary Grant over a Manhattan mud puddle.  You expect this film to progress a certain way (secretary falls for her charming, grumpy, billionaire boss, etc. etc.), but instead it ends up in a totally different place.  The rich tycoon doesn’t give her a job (at least not right away).  Rather, he offers her a trip around the world, a new wardrobe, and a lavish penthouse, all in exchange for… being with him.  Because it’s 1962, the sex is only implied, but we know what this arrangement entails.  We assume Doris will slap him in the face, but surprising everyone, she agrees! She jets off to Bermuda, wears his mink coat (in the tropics no less), and lets him parade her around in front of the other tycoons and party girls.  But this being Doris, she comes down with a rash and can’t actually go through with the act.  Cary, in his dopey Mr. Rogers cardigans, is pissed but gentlemanly about it.  She manages to snag him in the end by hatching a jealousy plot with John Astin, but already the damage is done.  The audience sees Doris as a Bad Girl.  A girl who essentially agrees to prostitute herself, who drinks a bottle of scotch, and invites the creepy guy at the Unemployment Office to join her in a weekend motel romp.  And the thing is, I’m still pretty smitten with this version of Doris.

One of my bucket-list items is to stay at Doris Day’s hotel in Carmel, CA, the Cypress Inn.  I’ve already perused their bar menu and picked out the drink I will have in Terry’s Bar (yeah, I’m that much of a planner).  It’s a champagne cocktail which pairs beautifully with this sophisticated, unusual film.  While watching That Touch of Mink, I recommend having a Day Drink.

Day Drink

Sparkling Rosé

Sugar Cube

Angostura Bitters

1/4 oz Peach Schnapps

1/2 oz Bourbon

Place sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne flute, and soak with a few dashes of bitters.  Top with Peach Schnapps and Bourbon, then Sparkling Rosé.

Day Drink.jpg

It’s incredibly striking to see the threads this movie shares with our modern counterpart, Fifty Shades of Grey.  Handsome, commitment-phobic billionaire seeks smart, pretty, innocent gal for exotic getaways, dress-up sessions, and sex?  Check, check, and check.  We’re missing the BDSM, but I don’t think I can picture Doris with a riding crop.  Unless we’re talking Calamity Jane, in which case she’s a natural.  So this week, let’s raise our glasses to Doris Day, patron saint of love, career, and family. Through her films, through her EPIC eye-rolls, I understand what it is to be a woman.  Cheers!

Farewell to Mad Men (SPECIAL POST)

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Image Credit: AMC, Mad Men - Season 5, Episode 10

Image Credit: AMC, Mad Men – Season 5, Episode 10

I generally make it a rule to not post about television series on Cinema Sips (other than those awesome made-for-tv movies I highlighted in January), but I had to make an exception for the series finale of Mad Men this upcoming Sunday night. I’m actually not sure there would be a Cinema Sips blog without Mad Men. This show was single-handedly responsible for making craft cocktails cool again, and it certainly got me thinking about the role that pop culture plays in our drinking habits. Pre-Mad Men, I was strictly a gin-and-tonic drinker (okay maybe a cosmopolitan if I wanted to get REALLY fancy), but after this show premiered, a new world of drinks was opened up to me. Old Fashioned’s!  Martini’s!  Mountain Dew and Vodka! I began to look forward to preparing cocktails to sip as I watched Don Draper spiral further and further down each week. And all that vintage barware! Thanks to this show, my cupboards are overflowing with retro-inspired glasses and shakers. As if holding a really beautiful glass full of vodka will make me as cool as Roger Sterling. Silly me- no one can be as cool as Roger Sterling.

To give it a proper send-off, I’m preparing an all-day marathon of favorite episodes, foods, and drinks. Here is my menu below. If you think of anything I’m missing, shout it out! Let’s party like it’s 1962.

Mad Men Menu

  • Utz potato chips and dip. (In a chip n’ dip of course!)
  • Cheese fondue with pretzels, bread, and veggies (if you’re lazy like me, you can just buy the pre-made Emmi variety).
  • Hershey’s chocolate fondue (recipe here) with bananas and Sara Lee pound cake (hopefully thawed).
  • Mini burgers with Heinz ketchup
  • Baked beans (it’s difficult to find Heinz in the US, but I may scour some specialty/import stores).
  • Orange sherbet floats (float a scoop of orange sherbet in some Tropicana orange juice with a splash of Sprite, and top with Cool Whip.)
  • Heineken beer

My cocktail selection is one that I’ve featured on Cinema Sips before, and I think it’s a perfect send-off to this fantastic show. A White Negroni is strong, complex, and always classy- just like the characters on Mad Men.

White Negroni

1 oz Tanqueray gin

1 oz Cocchi Americano

½ oz dry vermouth

Lemon Twist

Combine gin, Cocchi Americano, and vermouth in a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled glass. Add lemon twist and serve.

white-negroni

I’m looking forward to revisiting some of my favorite episodes (“Shut the Door. Have a Seat”, “The Mountain King”, “The Suitcase”, “The Jet Set”, “The Hobo Code”, ANY episode with Miss Blankenship) and I’m really excited to slip on my best Betty Draper dress and relax on my mid-century modern sofa with a chilled cocktail. Is that all there is? Cheers!

Saving Mr. Banks

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Image Credit Walt Disney Pictures, Saving Mr. Banks, 2013

Image Credit Walt Disney Pictures, Saving Mr. Banks, 2013

Pop quiz- what film seamlessly merges a favorite childhood movie with the style and jet-set look of Mad Men? Answer: Saving Mr. Banks (DVD/Download). This was one of my favorite films of 2013, and it’s my personal opinion that Emma Thompson was robbed by not getting an Academy Award nomination- ROBBED. Since it’s maybe a little weird to be pairing a cocktail with a kid’s movie (though Disney World is selling alcohol in the Magic Kingdom now), I’ll forgo my fantasies of getting drunk and singing along with Burt the chimney sweep in favor of a cocktail pairing with a more adult movie about the making of Mary Poppins (DVD/Download). Showbiz movies are my favorite Netflix niche genre, and this particular film is one of the greats.

Saving Mr. Banks offers a behind-the-scenes look at the process of bringing Mary Poppins to the big screen. Based on the books by P.L. Travers, this was a property highly coveted by Mr. Disney, and highly protected by the author. She finally agreed to consider selling him the rights to the stories, only after making sure she had script approval. So, the cranky Englishwoman journeys to Los Angeles circa 1961 and wreaks havoc on the smiley, giddy, happy-to-be-alive Disney employees working on the film. Tom Hanks does a fine job of playing Walt Disney, and particular kudos go to B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman for playing the Sherman brothers, who wrote the music and lyrics for so many classic Disney songs. Hearing the songs I know so well being crafted in Saving Mr. Banks gives me a new appreciation for the artistry behind them, and I give credit to these men for strengthening my childhood vocabulary with words like fiduciary and precocious. The movie veers off periodically to discuss Travers’ childhood trauma and how Mary Poppins came to be, and yes Colin Farrell is magnetic as her father, but it’s the adult scenes with Emma Thompson where the movie really shines. I laughed, I cried, I wanted to get up and dance to “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”. I call that a cinematic success.

My cocktail today references the medicinal flavor-of-choice for Mary Poppins. As she says, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, and while this drink is never actually consumed in Saving Mr. Banks, I couldn’t help referencing that wonderful scene in the original film. Thus, when you’re watching Saving Mr. Banks, follow Mary Poppins’ lead and drink some Rrrrrum Punch.

Rrrrrum Punch

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1/2 cup grenadine syrup

1 cup white rum

½ cup dark rum

1 cup pineapple juice

1 cup orange juice

1 pinch nutmeg

Orange slice

Mix all ingredients together in a pitcher, punch bowl, or bottle. Chill in the refrigerator at least an hour before serving over ice. Garnish with nutmeg and orange slice.

rrrum-punch

I’m not sure what kind of “medicine” this is, but it does certainly make me happy to drink it. Even if Saving Mr. Banks was really just one big Disney propaganda film to make you want to go out and buy Mary Poppins and visit Disneyland, all I can say is- sign me up! Walt Disney had a knack for making people see the magic in our world, and I think he would have been pleased with this film- for even though we’re seeing the real story behind the magic, it doesn’t make it any less delightful. Cheers!

 

The Party

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Image credit The Mirisch Corp., The Party, 1968

Image credit The Mirisch Corp., The Party, 1968

I can’t believe it’s been 7 months of Cinema Sips greatness, and I have yet to discuss the ultimate cocktail movie, the one that made me want to do this blog in the first place. This week, I am beyond excited to feature one of my top favorites, and certainly my absolute favorite film to screen during any cocktail-fueled gathering– The Party (DVD).

This 1968 Blake Edwards classic stars comedy genius Peter Sellers as the bumbling Hrundi V. Bakshi, an Indian actor who accidentally gets invited to a dinner party at a Hollywood producer’s home. He arrives, loses his shoe, mingles with movie stars, spills birdseed everywhere, sticks his hand in caviar, and gets a chicken caught on a woman’s tiara. And that’s just in the first half! There are a lot of sight gags involving the ultra-modern home set, such as people falling in the water that runs through the house, guests getting burned by the indoor fire pit, and floors and walls disappearing at the flick of a switch. It’s a ridiculously impractical home, but if I had a million dollars I would build it for myself in a second. The sets and costumes truly capture that 60s Mod era in a way that Mad Men could only dream of. Beyond that, Peter Sellers is adorable and funny in a pre-Mr. Bean, fish-out-of-water role that only he could pull off, and his love interest played by Claudine Longet is French perfection. Zou-bisou-bisou indeed!

What makes this movie such a great fit for Cinema Sips is the plentiful alcohol that is poured and consumed on-screen for a solid hour and a half. A drunken waiter offering vodka and scotch; Peter Sellers refusing alcohol then getting wine poured all over his hand anyway; Hollywood power players sipping cocktails at the retro bar- it’s a classic cocktail lover’s paradise. While watching The Party, I recommend drinking a Brunette in Yellow.

Brunette in Yellow

2.5 oz lemon vodka

1 oz lemon juice

1 oz simple syrup

3 drops rosewater

Mix all ingredients in a shaker over ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass, and enjoy!

Howdy Partener

Once Hrundi gives in and actually has a drink, The Party becomes a wild, nutty ride featuring an elephant, a Russian ballet troupe, and a house full of bubbles. Perhaps you’ve thrown a party or attended one that evolved into something crazier and crazier as the night went on, ending only when the sun comes up. If not, watching this movie makes you feel like you have. I’m sure in real life I would be the neurotic hostess fretting about her hair getting wet while her house is being destroyed, but when I watch this I like to pretend I’m the loopy, drunk actress who sees imaginary things in the bottom of her cocktail glass. After a couple of these vodka concoctions, I might not be too far off. Cheers!