RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Movie Cocktail Pairing



Image credit: Casablanca, 1942

You Must Remember This…… No, this is not a cocktail tribute to Karina Longworth’s stellar podcast (though, that’s not a bad idea!). Rather, it’s a long-overdue post on one of the greatest romances in the history of cinema. I’m a sucker for tragic love and glamorous gin joints, so of course, Casablanca (Disc) is a perfect fit for Cinema Sips.

Starring Humphrey Bogart as a salty bar owner in 1940’s French-Morocco, Casablanca is a stirring testament to the power of cinematic storytelling during wartime.  The sets of this film remind me of an Epcot pavilion—almost too perfect to be real, but I would still move in tomorrow. To live above Rick’s Café, enjoying the piano stylings of Sam, watching expatriates wrangle visas to the United States while sipping on a cocktail or a glass of champagne—the image is so clear, I can even picture the satin dress I’d wear. Ingrid Bergman brings all the angst to this picture as the beautiful woman caught between her husband and former lover, both good men, and both hopelessly devoted to her. This is a love triangle for the ages, one that can only end in heartbreak for someone. Maybe their problems don’t amount to a “hill of beans” in their crazy world, but to me, there’s nothing insignificant about the ecstasy and agony of love.

There are so many wonderful cocktail moments in this film that it’s difficult to focus on just one. I love it when Rick’s floozy ex-girlfriend requests French ‘75’s Nora Charles-style (line ‘em up!), but Bogey also does some fairly admirable sulking over a bottle. The ambiance at Rick’s is so tantalizing, it almost makes you forget that half the patrons are Nazi’s. Let’s celebrate that bygone era of cocktails with a twist on an old favorite, the Moroccan ’75.

Moroccan ‘75

1 oz gin

½ oz lemon juice

½ oz Stirrings® Blood Orange syrup

½ oz Cointreau

2 oz Champagne

Combine gin, lemon juice, blood orange syrup, and Cointreau in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a coupe glass. Top with Champagne.

Moroccan 75

When I think of Casablanca, I picture champagne bottles, coupe glasses, and beautiful people using evening gowns and tuxedos to disguise their desperation. This film is an example of how perfect cinema can be, when all the elements come together in just the right way. Here’s looking at you, Hollywood— you were great once, and I think you can be again.  Cheers!

The Poseidon Adventure

Posted on

Image credit: The Poseidon Adventure, 1972

I love a good disaster flick. The bad acting, women in impractical footwear, explosions, campy special effects- this is the stuff of some great cinematic cheese-fests. One of the best films in the disaster genre is this week’s The Poseidon Adventure (DVD/Download). Although it was remade about ten years ago, I’ll always have a fondness for the 1972 version. Shelley Winters and all those unfortunate 70’s hairstyles make this a classic of epic size.

Aboard the S.S. Poseidon, revelers are toasting the New Year in the ship’s ballroom. Suddenly the captain (Leslie Nielsen- who else?) hears of an underground earthquake that has created a giant wave heading straight for the luxury liner. Soon, the ship flips over, the tables are on the ceiling, bodies are crashing into the chandeliers, and a ragtag group of survivors begins hatching an escape plan through the ship’s hull. As the hip Reverend, Gene Hackman leads them through corridors full of twisted metal, rapidly flooding rooms, and way more fire than one would think possible with so much water around. Ernest Borgnine guides his saucy former prostitute/now wife Linda through the wreckage in her silver lame platform heels and men’s dress shirt, while Shelley Winters and Jack Albertson are the cute old couple you want to be someday. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the hit song “Theme from Poseidon Adventure (The Morning After)” as sung by a band that’s quite a relic from the 70’s. All those sideburns and grooves- yikes.

My cruising experience is limited to one ill-fated trip to Bermuda during hurricane season, but from what I recall the drinks were sugary and bright-hued. In homage to the 70’s vibe and underwater footage in murky green water, while watching The Poseidon Adventure I recommend drinking a Rogue Wave.

Rogue Wave

1 oz Midori

2 oz Vodka

5 oz Fresca

Maraschino Cherry

Build drink in a glass over crushed ice, stirring gently to combine.  Drop Maraschino cherry in and let it sink to the bottom.


Despite the over-the-top acting and questionable costuming, this movie still pulls me in with its never-ending suspense and peril around every corner. Plus it provides some valuable lessons. Such as, no matter how much weight you gain at the buffet, you’re still light in water.  Also, never leave your stateroom without a bra.  Cheers!

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Image Credit Paramount Pictures (1961)

Image Credit Paramount Pictures (1961)

“I’m just crazy about Tiffany’s.”

That’s the line- the one that makes me smile every time. I don’t know if it’s the way Audrey Hepburn says it in her breathy, untraceable accent, or if it’s the idea of a large boutique full of diamonds and precious gems bringing delightful happiness to all who enter, but something about it gets me grinning from ear to ear. As Valentine’s Day approaches, I can think of no better movie to watch on February 14th with a cocktail. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (DVD/Download) isn’t just a charming story about love between two lost souls- it’s a classic film showcasing the style and grace of the great Audrey Hepburn.

Of course as many know, Truman Capote was not at all pleased with the producers’ choice in casting Ms. Hepburn to play his iconic literary creation Holly Golightly. And frankly, after reading the book, I don’t think I would have been thrilled either. The film version of Breakfast at Tiffany’s bears little resemblance to the novel, though both are wonderful works in their own right. Yes, the film whitewashes a lot of the more scandalous details of the book (most importantly Holly’s career as an escort) but still the overarching themes remain the same. I love the way Audrey Hepburn plays Holly as strong and funny one minute, then beautifully damaged the next minute. George Peppard is satisfactory as her love interest, in a Ken-doll sort of way, but I think of him more as window-dressing. Blake Edwards does a fabulous job directing, particularly in the party scene (we’ll see more of his genius on Cinema Sips when I talk about his other cocktail-fueled masterpiece The Party), and the shots of Hepburn and Peppard racing hand-in-hand through the streets of New York make me giddy with envy and happiness.

For my cocktail pairing, I wanted to come up with something that evoked the opening scene in front of Tiffany’s, and also the wonderful moment where Fred and Holly drink champagne before breakfast. I think this drink hits all the right notes in terms of complexity and style, just like Holly herself. When you’re watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I recommend drinking a variation on a mimosa that I call  the Sunrise Sip.

¼ oz Peach Schnapps

½ oz Citrus Vodka

Juice of 1 Clementine

2 oz Champagne

Clementine twist for garnish

Pour peach schnapps, vodka, and the clementine juice into a champagne flute. Top with chilled champagne, and garnish with a clementine twist.


Whether you’re spending the holiday alone, with your friends, or with your significant other, this film will make you fall in love- with vintage Givenchy clothes and a cat named Cat. I swear, the sight of her pathetic feline friend soaking wet and meowing in a New York alley would melt the heart of even the fiercest dog-lover. I apologize in advance for the strange and offensive Mickey Rooney that I’m subjecting you to, but just take his Mr. Yunioshi with a grain of salt and skip ahead to more Audrey and more Fred-baby. And for heaven’s sake, don’t pull a Mag Wildwood and spend your evening face-down on the floor. Moderation, please. Cheers!