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On the Rocks

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Image credit: On the Rocks, 2020

2020 was indescribably hard for everyone, but for those of us who love movies, it was particularly bleak. Instead of frequent trips to the local cinema, we endured a string of forgettable indies on the couch while struggling to focus on literally anything. I know there were probably good films I just couldn’t give my full attention to (lookin’ at you Sylvie’s Love), but for the most part I sat through a lot of 2 ½ hr-long “edgy” movies that made me desperate for a recognizable star, a decent wardrobe/production design budget, and most of all a skilled editor. Eventually, I just gave up, got a Criterion subscription, and said to hell with modern films. It was during this frustrating time that I missed a rare gem in the 2020 wasteland, Sofia Coppola’s On the Rocks. I’m still annoyed it’s only available on Apple TV+, but I’m here to tell you it’s worth signing up for YET ANOTHER streaming platform to see this perfect marriage between Murray and martinis.

Truthfully, I will always give a lot of leeway to any movie that includes a swimming pool, cocktails, a cool classic car, and iconic hotel bars. The thin plot involving a woman trying to discover the truth about her husband’s affairs is almost irrelevant—I just want to watch rich people do their thing. It’s an escape for me; a glimpse into a world I can only visit for brief stretches of time. But oh, what a world. In this rarefied section of New York, Bill Murray plays Felix, a charming art dealer trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter Laura (played by Rashida Jones) through impromptu cocktail parties, drinks at the Carlyle, a late-night stakeout fueled by caviar and champagne, and a spur-of-the-moment trip to Mexico. Is he dad of the year? No. He’s a misogynistic asshole. But he is uniquely himself—unapologetic, wildly entertaining, caring in the only way he knows how.

I know this is not the first movie I’ve paired with a martini on Cinema Sips, but there really is no other option for this one.  You MUST watch it with a Sapphire Martini, and imagine it was brought to you in a chilled carafe on a little silver tray. Picture yourself back out in the world, sitting in an iconic Manhattan bar, where you’re paying more for the real estate and history than the gin. While watching On the Rocks, I recommend drinking a Sapphire Martini.

Sapphire Martini

2 oz Bombay Sapphire® Gin

½ oz Dry Vermouth

2 olives

Combine gin and vermouth in a mixing glass with ice, and stir to chill- about 45 seconds.  Strain into a chilled martini glass, and garnish with olives.

In a year when most new releases made me want to either curl into a ball and cry, or spend two hours restlessly browsing social media on my phone, On the Rocks felt like a fun breath of fresh air. There were no major problems, no big issues to overcome—these people would all be fine whether Laura’s husband is faithful or not. Felix tries to force his daughter to give herself permission to enjoy life again, and that’s what this movie feels like to me. Permission to make a cocktail, watch some pretty people, and have fun for a tight ninety-six minutes.  Cheers!

Bottle Rocket

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Image credit: Bottle Rocket, 1996

Longtime readers of Cinema Sips know I’m a sucker for any movie with a pool, and now that the weather’s warming up, I’m ready for an onscreen dip. Bottle Rocket (Disc/Download) manages to make a crappy motel pool look like Shangri-La, and although the comedic heist script is an absolute joy, let’s be clear—I’m mainly here for the swimming.

Despite the fact that Bottle Rocket was never a commercial success, critics nevertheless came away from initial screenings with the sense that this was the start of something major. The symmetry; the Mark Mothersbaugh soundtrack; the deadpan comedy style; the saturated colors—all hallmarks of Wes Anderson’s unique body of work. This film is the genesis, a place where we can come to view tiny glimpses of his brilliance, feeling like we just entered a world that’s somehow better than our own (even though it’s just a nondescript, forgettable Texas town). Small is the word I keep coming back to—small budget, small-time crooks, small in scope; however, the movie leaves me with BIG feelings. The romance between Luke Wilson’s character Anthony and the motel maid Inez is so beautiful, it’s enough to make even the worst skeptic believe in love at first sight. That pure, simple moment when you realize the person you love feels the same way in return—like a bottle rocket exploding in your heart.

Of course it wouldn’t be a Wes Anderson movie without a zany cast of secondary characters, one of which is simply called Applejack. It’s a tiny role, but pivotal to the final heist of the film. And lucky for me, cocktail-inspiring as well.  While watching Bottle Rocket, cool off with an Applejack Collins.

Applejack Collins

1 ½ oz Applejack Brandy

½ oz Orgeat

½ oz Lemon Juice

3 oz Club Soda

Combine Applejack, orgeat, and lemon juice in a shaker with ice.  Shake until chilled, then strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice.  Top with club soda and stir gently to combine.

I’ve talked a lot about how this was the start of Wes Anderson’s career, but let’s not forget brothers Owen and Luke Wilson, who also broke into Hollywood with Bottle Rocket. With their Texas drawls, dented noses, and good hair, the Wilsons were practically destined for stardom. Lucky for us, this weird little ‘90s indie film had enough fuel to propel them up there.  Cheers!

In the Mood for Love

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Image credit: In the Mood for Love, 2000

Get ready to have your goddamn heart ripped out this week with Wong Kar-wai’s timeless masterpiece In the Mood for Love (Disc/Download). I’m sorry to do this to you, but it can’t be helped. I can’t NOT talk about one of the greatest romances in cinema history—even when I know it’s going to hurt all over again.

I first saw this film in 2000 when it came to my town’s tiny little art house theater, and I remember being overwhelmed by its style and emotional punch. Because the story takes place in 1960s Hong Kong, viewers are treated to colorful mod wallpapers and gorgeous mandarin-collar dresses worn by lead star Maggie Cheung (and believe me, this woman has a lot of beautiful dresses). In the Mood for Love is so undeniably sexy, with its sultry Latin Nat King Cole tracks, dark alleyways, and longing looks shared between the film’s protagonists, that by the end you feel like you need the lipstick-covered cigarette left behind in Chow’s apartment. It’s an impossible romance between two married neighbors whose spouses are sleeping with one another, and for the briefest of seconds you start to believe that a happy ending is possible for these star-crossed lovers. Surely, the perfect soul mate doesn’t just slip right on by, like a noodle off a chopstick. Surely fate isn’t that cruel.

Although this is by no means a cocktail-heavy film, that doesn’t mean we can’t draw inspiration from some of the amazing dishes prepared and consumed onscreen. Food becomes a conduit for the love between the two characters, and we see it clearly when Mrs. Chan makes Chow sesame syrup while he’s fighting a cold. You might not think sesame could be used in a cocktail, but I’m open to experimentation this week. While watching In the Mood for Love, I recommend drinking a Sesame Highball.

Sesame Highball

3 slices cucumber, plus a cucumber ribbon for garnish

¾ oz lemon juice

¼ tsp. toasted sesame oil

Pinch of kosher salt

2 oz Vodka

1 oz Simple Syrup

3 oz Club Soda

Line a highball glass with cucumber ribbon, fill with ice, then set aside. Muddle cucumber slices in the bottom of a shaker with lemon juice, sesame oil, and salt. Add vodka, simple syrup, and ice. Shake until chilled, then double strain into prepared highball glass. Top with club soda and stir gently to combine.

In the Mood for Love is a movie about destiny, love, missed connections, and secrets, with not a single inch of wasted celluloid. Told in a very precise manner, the brisk story pacing forces the viewer to search for a place to rest—often finding it in the brush of a sleeve against a hip, the cloudy exhalation of smoke, or the reflection of a street light on wet pavement. If it sounds dreamy and otherworldly, it is—because that’s what falling in love feels like. Cheers!

Avanti!

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Image credit: Avanti!, 1972

I’ve got a bad case of wanderlust, and it’s all Jack Lemmon’s fault. He makes the Italian island of Ischia look purely magical in this week’s film Avanti! (Disc/Download), an underrated Billy Wilder gem from the 1970s. Though Ischia and it’s highly Instagrammable Mezzatorre Hotel have long held a place on my travel bucket list, this film has moved it straight to the top. What I wouldn’t give to have a room with a view of the sea, thick coffee, an attentive concierge, and a waiter who will ply you with pasta until you forget all about your pesky diet back home. When swimming naked in the Mediterranean is an option, who cares how you look in a bathing suit?

Of course, it’s not all skinny dipping and afternoon prosecco. Jack Lemmon’s character Wendell Armbruster arrives on the island to claim the body of his father, who died in a car crash with his mistress in the passenger seat. The daughter of this mistress is played by Juliet Mills (sister of Hayley), and though Wendell and Ms. Piggott start the film as strangers, they eventually pick up where their parents left off. I watched this film at a weird time in my life, having just spent six weeks dealing with my father’s death and all the legal headaches accompanying it. To say that I identify with Wendell’s frustration about how long and complicated the processes of body transport, death certificates, and funeral arrangements are would be an understatement (and similar to Ischia, nobody works weekends in Florida either). But what I loved about this movie is that by the end, Wendell is able to move past the minutia of death to truly celebrate the life his father lived, in the place where he was happiest. That is how we honor the dead, by experiencing the joy they would have wanted for us.

My one quibble with this fabulous movie is the unfortunate body dysmorphia and fat shaming experienced by Ms. Piggott (even the name is like an underhanded dig at the character). I’m not sure why we’re supposed to believe that the gorgeous Juliet Mills is overweight, but let’s just say by 2021 standards she is not. Luckily, after a couple Bacardi cocktails al fresco, she’s able to loosen up and enjoy herself without counting every calorie. Let’s join in the fun with this rum-based cocktail. While watching Avanti!, I recommend drinking a Daffodil.

Daffodil

1 1/2 oz Bacardi White Rum

1 oz Cocchi Americano

1 1/4 oz Orgeat

1 oz Lime Juice

2 dashes Orange Bitters

Dried Orange slice for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, and shake until chilled. Fill a tumbler with crushed ice, then strain cocktail into prepared glass. Garnish with a dried orange slice (or twist of orange).

There’s a moment in Avanti! where Juliet Mills says, “Italy is not a country- it’s an emotion.” What this film captures so well are the complex emotions of love, loss, humor, frustration, and longing. After living through a year where it seems everything came to a complete stop, what a relief it is to hear the word avanti. In English, it means move forward. Proceed with living. Cheers!

Cocktail

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Image credit: Cocktail, 1988

It’s finally happened– at long last, I have given in to the rallying cry of readers begging for a Cocktail cocktail. Or maybe I just got tired of having this 1988 cult classic reappear like a bad penny every time I type “movie cocktails” into Google. It should be Cinema Sips that comes up, goddamn it! So on a particularly uninspired week, I picked the lowest hanging fruit and gave Cocktail (Disc/Download) a shot. Verdict? Full of flair, with very low risk of hangover.

What do I mean by flair? I mean that Tom Cruise is juggling bottles and shakers like a circus performer in order to distract from the fact that this movie’s script is bananas. There is not one character to root for, and yet I can’t look away. I must know if “Cocktails & Dreams” will ever become a reality. I must try to understand why the lovely Elisabeth Shue would waste her time on a sleazy bartender in Jamaica. And above all, I must learn what the hell happened to TGI Fridays to turn it from New York craft cocktail hot-spot to airport den of desperation. Not all of these questions get answered (I’m still scratching my head about the Fridays thing), but that’s okay. It becomes clear early on that this movie isn’t interested in making sense, and we should just have a drink and enjoy the ride.

Perhaps the most puzzling aspect of all is that for a movie about cocktails, this one features a truly disgusting signature drink. The “Red-Eye” gets made frequently on screen, but fear not- I refuse to subject you to this concoction of tomato juice, beer, vodka, and a raw egg. Instead, I’m focusing on Tommy C’s time in Jamaica with a tropical drink that’ll make you feel like you’re saddled up to the wooden bar of your neighborhood Fridays. While watching Cocktail, I recommend drinking a Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri.

Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri

1 1/2 cups Crushed Ice

2 oz Rum

1 oz Lime Juice

1 oz Strawberry Simple Syrup (boil 8 oz strawberries with 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar until softened, then strain out solids).

1/2 oz Coconut Cream

Combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Pour into a hurricane glass, and garnish with a fresh strawberry and paper umbrella. Then sit and think about the guy who invented the paper umbrella, and how rich he must be by now.

Typically, I would not include coconut cream in a daiquiri, however for home blending, I find it helps with frozen drink consistency (and you can’t even taste the coconut). If you’re a longtime reader of this blog, you should be able to shout out the ingredients of all the drinks Tom Cruise has to master at the beginning of the movie. Nobody will have to tell YOU that a Cuba Libre is just a rum & Coke. And if you’re still learning, that’s okay. Cinema Sips is my Cocktails & Dreams, and it never closes. Cheers!

*For more Tom Cruise, be sure and check out the Tommy C Appreciation Club on moviejawn.com! Cinema Sips is proud to be a member :-).

Meet Joe Black

Image credit: Meet Joe Black, 1998

They say nothing is certain in life but death and taxes. Having dealt with the loss of my father over the past few weeks, only to come home to a slew of W-2 and 1099 forms piled up in the mail, I can affirm this is true. After struggling to find a film that represents the impact my dad has had on my movie-going life, I wound up back here– in 1998, with a fully-highlighted, fully bonkers Brad Pitt, in this week’s pick Meet Joe Black (Disc/Download).

The thing about my dad was that he was up for anything as long as it meant he got to spend time with me. After I turned full “surly teenager”, he saw the writing on the wall. The late ’90s would be one of Lilith Fair concerts, swing dance classes (because Swingers), and movies. Dozens and dozens of movies. Without fail, every other Friday night we had a date to watch whatever celluloid scraps the film gods dumped upon middle-America. Meet Joe Black was such a scrap. At three hours long, this drama about a New York media tycoon (Anthony Hopkins) playing host to the grim reaper (Pitt) feels a bit like that long march to the grave. And yet… when the end finally comes, I’m not ready. I want more of the Brad we see in his first scene, before he gets clobbered (twice!) by a car. The Brad who knows how to sit in a goddamn chair and not look like a lost, mentally disabled twelve-year old at every turn. The Brad who is SO DAMN CHARMING in his meet-cute with Claire Forlani that I’ve moved my VHS copy of this movie through five households because I can’t bear to say goodbye to that scene. And reader, it was a two-tape movie.

Once Death decides to inhabit the body of Brad Pitt (because why not pick our finest living specimen?), all training goes out the window. The thing is, Brad is currently one of my favorite working character actors. But knowing what he’s capable of now only makes the scenes of him eating peanut butter that much worse. This week, let’s drown our sorrows in a cocktail Joe would thoroughly approve of. While watching Meet Joe Black, I recommend drinking this Peanut Butter Man cocktail.

Peanut Butter Man

1.5 oz Peanut Butter Whiskey

.75 oz Rye

3-4 dashes Angostura Bitters

Luxardo Maraschino Cherry

Orange twist

Combine peanut butter whiskey, rye, and bitters in a glass over ice. Stir until chilled, then garnish with a cherry and orange twist.

Brad’s acting aside, the main problem with this film is pacing. Many parts seem to drag on for an eternity, however this is actually a good thing when it comes to the few love scenes we’re given. You see, Death falls for the daughter of the man he’s come to claim, and before his vacation is over, he wants to have one final roll in the luxury high-rise hay. This scene is incredibly well shot, and could be a lesson to future romance films (not that these are even being made anymore, but I digress). The simple fact that my dad and I watched this together without a troubling amount of awkwardness speaks to its tastefulness. There’s a lot to mock about Meet Joe Black, but beneath the highlights, beneath the funny accents, lies a movie with a strong heartbeat. It’s a love story between man and woman, and father and daughter. It’s a story of Death yes, but also a celebration of life. And it’s the reminder I need that someday, “Everyting gwarn be iree.” Cheers!

Saturday Night Fever

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Image credit: Saturday Night Fever, 1977

Sometimes, when the days are dark and the world is falling apart, you just want to forget it all for a night and dance. Cue Saturday Night Fever (Disc/Download). This picture returned to my radar after watching a fantastic documentary about the Bee Gees, whose soundtrack was perhaps more influential and long-lasting than the film itself. However, watching it now, I’m once again blown away by how complex and interesting this “little disco movie” really is.

As we get our first glimpse of John Travolta walking down his Brooklyn street carrying a can of paint, the viewer gets an immediate sense of this character before he even says a word. Tony Manero is confident, slick, knows how to move to the beat of a song, yet seems to be seeking the approval of every person around him. We expect him to be the stereotypical male bimbo, but it’s a credit to the writers and Travolta that Tony is so nuanced. He’s horribly misogynist, yet shows genuine remorse when called out on it. He throws out racial slurs, yet gets mad when the Hispanic couple in his dance competition doesn’t get a fair shot. He’s the king of Brooklyn, but knows he’s wasting his life as a big fish in a small pond. It’s interesting to watch this in 2021 because here is a white male who has been brought up in a culture which inherently disrespects minorities and women, but gives hints he might have the courage and willingness to change. That’s just not something we see from a lot of men nowadays, on screen or in person. Do we need disco to make a comeback? Because on that dance floor, with the lights spinning all around, everyone is equal. Either you can dance or you can’t, and one’s value is completely based in how hard they’ve worked to perfect the steps. Rich, poor, black, white, brown, male, female, gay, straight—none of it matters. Music is everything.

To celebrate the outer borough Tony and his lady friend Stephanie so desperately want to escape, I’ll be drinking this variation on the Manhattan. It’s looks similar, but has more bitter notes (it’s probably just sick of crossing that bridge every day). While watching Saturday Night Fever, I recommend drinking a classic Brooklyn cocktail.

Brooklyn

1 ½ oz Rye Whiskey

½ oz Dry Vermouth

¼ oz Orange Bitters

¼ oz Maraschino Liqueur

Luxardo Maraschino cherry for garnish

Combine whiskey, vermouth, bitters, and maraschino liqueur in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a chilled martini glass.  Drop in a Luxardo cherry.

It’s surprising to me that this movie is sometimes labeled a romance on streaming platforms. Although it concludes with Tony and Stephanie sharing a soulful moment set to “How Deep is Your Love”, and it has some sexy dance scenes, that’s as much of a love story as we’re given. If anything, the romance is between Tony and disco. So that’s why, every time I’m combing through a stack of vinyl and see that familiar cover of John Travolta in his white suit (because every vinyl stack has one), I find myself smiling. In the end, Tony and disco had their happily ever after; it endures on my turntable. Cheers!

The Ref

Image credit: The Ref, 1994

Never has there been a more requested holiday film in the history of Cinema Sips than this week’s pick, The Ref (Disc/Download). After finally watching it, I understand why. In a year when we’ve all essentially been held hostage inside our homes, it makes sense that people would want to watch a Christmas film about a couple held hostage inside their home. This is exactly the type of dark yuletide comedy we need right now.

In a lot of ways, The Ref reminds me of a stage play. Most of the action takes place in one setting, the dialogue is quick and clever, and the choreography within the larger group scenes is perfectly executed. Denis Leary plays a cat burglar on the run after a botched jewelry heist (for those of you who’ve seen To Catch a Thief, picture the complete opposite of Cary Grant), but before he can set sail for the Caribbean, he’s got to hide out in the home of a bickering Connecticut couple on the brink of divorce. It was a little jarring to see Kevin Spacey in…well…anything, but as Lloyd, the eye-rolling, sarcastic husband of Judy Davis’s snobby, perpetually unhappy Caroline, he really pulls me into this scene of marital discord. There are a lot of side plots that seemingly go nowhere, but overall I appreciate the way this film uses Christmas to highlight the absurdity of wealthy suburban America. These people are heinous on a normal day, but throw Christmas into the mix and you’re one ugly pair of L.L. Bean slippers away from total meltdown.

Something I can personally relate to in The Ref is the bourgeois tendency to “try something new” for your holiday meal. I’m thinking in particular of the time I thought it would be fun to make Spanish Tapas for Easter. In The Ref, Caroline’s absurd theme is Scandinavian Christmas, resulting in a smorgasbord of unpronounceable dishes. Let’s celebrate her good intentions with this traditional Swedish Glögg. If you want to get very authentic, you can throw in some Aquavit. But if you’re like me and don’t want to be stuck with a bottle of Aquavit for the next twelve months, bourbon will do just fine.*

Swedish Glögg

1 bottle Red Wine

1 ½ cups Bourbon

½ cup brown sugar

Zest of 1 orange

2 tablespoons raisins

1 tablespoon cardamom pods

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, sliced

1 Cinnamon stock

8 Cloves

Garnish: Blanched, slivered almonds, raisins, or dried cranberries

Combine all ingredients except the garnish in a pot on the stove. Heat, and let simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and let it steep for an hour. Finely strain to remove the spices, and reheat to warm. Put a few almonds and raisins in the bottom of each serving glass, and pour in glögg.*

This might seem like a lot of prep for a drink, but really, what else are you doing this year? And if you’re trapped at home with a spouse you’ve come to detest, maybe you need a whole pot of this stuff to get through the holiday. So Merry Christmas, and let’s hope that by next year we’ll all be on a boat to Jamaica. Cheers!

*Note: If you’re pressed for time, and/or incredibly lazy about making things on the stove, you can always warm up some Trader Joe’s Winter Wassail Punch and throw in some red wine and bourbon. Still festive, still delicious, and extremely easy.

Top Five Holiday Heroines

This holiday season, I’d like to draw your attention to some truly fabulous on-screen heroines. These are women who eschew an apron and gingerbread house in favor of a glamorous party dress and strong cocktail.  If I could, I would toast them all with this festive drink I whipped up with my favorite spirit Goodnight Loving Vodka (because every great heroine should have a favorite vodka), and I would tell them, “Thank You.” Thank you for being an inspiration to me and all the other women who view the holidays as a time to look fabulous, to have that second or third cocktail, and to never apologize for one’s domestic shortcomings. This year, even if you’re staying home, I encourage you to put on a nice outfit, mix the following drink, and watch one of the five films listed below. Leave the baking to somebody else. Cheers!

Hollywood Holiday Martini

2 oz Goodnight Loving Vodka

¾ oz Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur

1 oz Pomegranate Juice

½ oz Cranberry Juice

½ oz Lime Juice

Dried pomegranate or lime for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a dried pomegranate or lime.

1) Carol Aird, Carol

Image credit: Carol, 2015

I’ve often said that nobody drinks a martini like Cate Blanchett, and this film is no exception. With Carol’s effortless style and seductive gaze, that cute shopgirl never stood a chance.

2) Gillian Holroyd, Bell, Book and Candle

Image credit: Bell, Book and Candle, 1958

Is she a witch? Or just a cat-loving Greenwich Village gallery owner with a penchant for spells and backless cocktail dresses? Come for the dark/quirky love story, stay for Gillian’s mid-century modern apartment. THAT COUCH.

3) Elizabeth Lane, Christmas in Connecticut

Image credit: Christmas in Connecticut, 1945

Throw a city-dwelling, child-free writer into a country home with rotating babies, a dreamy war hero, a clueless “fiancé”, and a meddling Hungarian chef, and see if she can learn to make pancakes. From one Liz to another, “Pass the vodka, please.”

4) Fran Kubelik, The Apartment

Image Credit: The Apartment, 1960

The epitome of Complicated Female, Miss Kubelik hides her inner demons behind a smile and crisp white gloves. But when confronted with a charming Jack Lemmon at the office Christmas party, she must decide who she wants in her life come New Year’s Eve—the womanizer at the downtown tiki bar, or the sweet man and his tennis racket full of spaghetti.

5) Mame Dennis, Auntie Mame

Image credit: Auntie Mame, 1958

The only thing that changes more frequently than the décor of Mame’s apartment is the liquor in her glass. Even during the Great Depression, Mame never sacrifices when it comes to her personal style. No money for a fancy hat? Grab some Christmas decorations, put ‘em on your head, and walk with confidence!

All That Heaven Allows

Image Credit: All That Heaven Allows, 1955

Although not typically thought of as a Christmas flick, the second I watched All That Heaven Allows (Disc) during a Douglas Sirk Deep Dive last summer, I knew I had to cover it in December. If you’re ever paranoid you’ve chosen a terrible Christmas present for your mom, reassure yourself with this movie. I promise, whatever it is, it’s nowhere near as bad as what Cary Scott’s adult children send to her doorstep.

To be fair, a television is not a terrible gift on its own. But when you’re A) refusing to spend Christmas with your sad, widowed mother, and B) have driven off the only hope of happiness this woman has for your own puritanical, selfish reasons, this television is the insult to end all insults. It says to her, “We know that you live alone. Here’s something to distract you until you eventually die alone.”  I’ve previously lamented the terrible children in classic Christmas movies (see Holiday Affair); however, the college-aged offspring in this one are actually The Worst. All Cary (Jane Wyman) wants to do is find a little joy after losing her husband. She happens to find it with a man nine years her junior (a flannel-loving Rock Hudson), but before she even has a chance to finish one martini, her friends and family lose their collective sh*t. Cary yearns for the freedom to love who she wants, and it takes the mother of all insulting Christmas gifts for her to realize she’s strong enough to tell ‘em all to go to hell. She wants Rock, she wants that flannel, and she does not want a television.

This is definitely a martini-heavy flick (it was the ‘50s after all…), so I’m thrilled to highlight a favorite holiday cocktail of mine. It’s strong, it’s flavorful, and best of all, it’s easy. While watching All That Heaven Allows, I recommend this Cozy Cabin Martini.

Cozy Cabin Martini

2 oz Gin

¾ oz Ginger Liqueur

½ oz Lime Juice

2 sprigs Rosemary

Muddle a sprig of Rosemary in the bottom of a shaker with lime juice. Add Ginger Liqueur, Gin, and ice. Shake well, and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a sprig of Rosemary.

All That Heaven Allows inspired another movie I recently enjoyed (Far From Heaven), and both are fantastic picks if you want to get swept up in a domestic drama featuring cocktails and gorgeous ‘50s dresses. But if I have to pick a favorite, it would be this Douglas Sirk masterpiece. It may not be overtly “Christmas-y”, but it reminds me of what I’m most thankful for every time this holiday rolls around- love, and a child-free life. Cheers!