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Tag Archives: Mai Tai recipe

Punch-Drunk Love

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Punch Drunk Love

Image credit: Punch-Drunk Love, 2002

With a title that includes the words “Punch”, “Drunk”, and “Love”, Paul Thomas Anderson’s dark romantic comedy seems like a natural fit for my collection. However, Punch-Drunk Love (Disc/Download) is not a movie I liked on the first watch, or even the second. It’s rare that my opinion shifts so drastically on a film, but that’s exactly what’s happened over the ensuing eighteen years. Now, in our cursed year of 2020, I adore it.

The reason I initially had a hard time connecting with this story was because I just didn’t know what to make of Adam Sandler’s character Barry. Was he being weird for weird’s sake? Was he simply shy with a dangerous undercurrent of anger? No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t figure him out. But since this movie’s release, we have a new language to describe people like Barry. I don’t know that this theory has ever been confirmed by the filmmaker, but to me, this guy is very clearly on the Autism spectrum. And with that realization, I now root even harder for him to find love with fellow lonely-heart Lana. Paul Thomas Anderson did something really incredible in this movie, making us feel through the camerawork and music, what it’s like to be in Barry’s head. Adam Sandler gives an incredible performance (as if there were any doubt- he’s been my uncut gem for YEARS), and I want so badly for this novelty toilet plunger salesman to find the one person in the world who “gets” him. I long for him and Lana to take those pudding cup miles and ride off into the sunset.

Speaking of sunsets, how gorgeous is the scene on Waikiki Beach? I’ve been lucky enough to sit at that beachside bar at the Royal Hawaiian, sipping a Mai Tai, and it’s a memory I cling to during lockdown. Someday, I’ll get back there (in fact, there’s already a room booked for June 2021. Call me an optimist.). But in the meantime, let’s have a drink with Barry and Lana. While watching Punch-Drunk Love, get those Waikiki sunset vibes with this Mai Tai Punch.

Mai Tai Punch

1 cup Light Rum

1 cup Gold Rum

1 cup Cointreau

½ cup Lime Juice

½ cup Orange Juice

½ cup Orgeat Syrup

Dark Rum for topping

In a glass bottle or punch bowl, combine Light Rum, Gold Rum, Cointreau, Lime and Orange juices, and Orgeat. Stir or shake until well combined. Pour into cups filled with crushed ice, and drizzle dark rum on top.*

Mai Tai Punch

There’s a moment in Hawaii when Barry and Lana are in bed, and they start saying violent, mildly shocking things to one another. He looks down at her and says, “This is right. This is good.” Those words perfectly describe what love is—finding that one other person who understands your weirdness and jumps right on into it with you. Barry, I’m sorry it took me so long to get to the diving board. Cheers!

*This gold pineapple glass, while attractive in a photo, is hands down THE WORST container I have ever put a drink in. The top wobbles and falls off, and the bottom gets so cold and slippery that you can’t even hold it. I have a dried puddle of Mai-Tai on the back of my couch cushion to prove it. If you got this from Target on a whim, do yourself a favor and THROW. IT. OUT.

Honeymoon in Vegas

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Image Credit: Castle Rock Entertainment, Honeymoon in Vegas, 1992

Image Credit: Castle Rock Entertainment, Honeymoon in Vegas, 1992

A recent trip to Las Vegas has prompted me to re-watch some of the better movies set in Sin City, including Casino, Oceans Eleven, The Hangover, 21, and my personal favorite (and this week’s Cinema Sips pick), Honeymoon in Vegas (DVD/Download). This film gives a bit of an outdated view of The Strip (prompting my mother and I both to wonder- Is Bally’s even there anymore?) but even without Cirque du Soleil ads and trendy restaurants, it’s still a delightful romp about the dangers of gambling, the dry heat of the desert, and the timeless hilarity of Elvis impersonators.

Honeymoon In Vegas is one of the better films to come out of Nicholas Cage’s weird-n-wild oeuvre, only because in this one, his intense, slightly insane mannerisms really work for the character. He plays private investigator Jack Singer, a man terrified of marriage who nevertheless proposes to his longtime girlfriend Betsy (played by Sarah Jessica Parker). They run off to Vegas to elope, but before they can get to the chapel, he enters a rigged poker game set up by mobster Tommy Korman (played by James Caan). Of course Jack loses, and instead of paying money that he doesn’t have, he agrees to let his girlfriend spend the weekend with the mobster. James Caan takes SJP to Hawaii while Nicholas Cages runs around like a chicken with its head cut off, and hijinks ensue. Some great cameos to look for are Pat Morita (aka Mr. Miyagi) as the Hawaiian taxi driver, as well as little baby Bruno Mars singing his heart out as a child Elvis impersonator. The story is ridiculous, but it always gets me excited for Las Vegas, and hopeful that one day I’ll actually spot an Indian Elvis wearing a turban. It’s like seeing a Yeti.

On the cocktail front, I had the good fortune of attending some great Texas Tiki Week events last week. I always look forward to the last week of June because it means Austin becomes a sea of rum drinks in commemorative tiki glasses. How appropriate then to mix up a classic tiki drink to enjoy while watching Sarah Jessica Parker flaunt her perfect body on the beaches of Hawaii. When watching Honeymoon in Vegas, I recommend drinking a Mai Tai.

Mai Tai

1oz light rum

1oz dark rum

½ oz lime juice

½ oz orange curacao

½ oz orgeat syrup

Maraschino cherry and fresh lime for garnish

Pour all of the ingredients except the dark rum into a shaker filled with ice cubes. Shake well, then strain into an old-fashioned glass (or Tiki mug if you have it) half filled with ice. Top with more chipped ice, then add the dark rum.  Garnish with a cherry, lime, and a drink umbrella.

mai-tai

As much as I love Vegas, my favorite parts of this film are definitely the Hawaii scenes. Watching Nicholas Cage shout Kapa’aa into a pay phone just makes my year. And let’s not forget the South Pacific sing-along with Peter Boyle’s island chief. As a child I often wondered how the parakeet brandy they drink was made- crushed feathers? Beaks?  To be on the safe side, stick with the Mai Tai, and never forget- if you’re about to jump out of an airplane dressed as Elvis, it’s yellow, then red. Kabluna, and Cheers!