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Harold and Maude

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Image credit Paramount Pictures, Harold and Maude, 1971

Image credit Paramount Pictures, Harold and Maude, 1971

One of my favorite things about February is the excuse it provides me to watch romantic movies.  To start things off, I’m featuring one of my all-time favorite films, Harold and Maude (DVD/Download). It’s so quirky and  beautiful, and I am beyond excited that my local drive-in movie theatre is showing it this weekend. Of course I love seeing movies at the drive-in because I can bring my own drinks, and I’m not at the mercy of overpriced chemical sludge at the snack bar.

Harold and Maude is often ranked as one of the greatest love stories in cinema history, and it’s easy to see why. Harold (played by Bud Cort) is a lonely, depressed young man who enjoys going to funerals and faking his own death. Then he meets Maude (played by Ruth Gordon), a fire-cracker senior citizen who has an amazing zest for life. She shows him how to have fun and above all L-I-V-E! (sorry Matthew McConaughey- you totally stole your mantra from Maude). Harold falls madly in love with Maude, and together they have wild, zany adventures liberating sad little trees from city sidewalks, picnicking in the junkyard, and tooling around in Harold’s Jaguar-hearse. The 70’s décor and costumes in this film are pretty great, and the Cat Stevens soundtrack is phenomenal. What Simon & Garfunkel did for The Graduate, and Aimee Mann did for Magnolia, Cat Stevens does for Harold & Maude. It’s the perfect music for this unlikely, wonderful couple.

Because I’m seeing this film at the drive-in, I have to make sure my drink is easily portable. This is actually a good lesson to learn in case you ever want to bring cocktails to a friend or date’s house. I would suggest investing in some portable barware (nothing glass or breakable!) and pre-mix your liquid ingredients before you go, storing them in a sealed container. Then pack a small cooler with a ziplock bag of ice, and any garnishes, and you should be all set for mixing on the go. For Harold and Maude, I’m using some ingredients that I wouldn’t typically put together, but like the characters in this movie, sometimes the unexpected pairing results in something great. While watching Harold and Maude, I recommend drinking a Maude Taylor (in reference to the classic Mamie Taylor cocktail).

Maude Taylor

1.5 oz scotch

.75 oz lime juice

Ginger Beer

Build drink in a highball glass over ice.  Garnish with lime peel.


I would never think to use scotch and ginger beer together, but the resulting taste is sweet and spicy, just like Maude herself.  Of course I’m using an aged scotch because, well, things get better with age.  Now the only thing missing from my perfect night is that Jaguar hearse- imagine heading to the drive-in in that! Cheers!