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Tag Archives: movie cocktails

Giant

Giant

Image credit: Giant, 1956

They say everything is bigger in Texas. Well, when it comes to cinema, perhaps they’re right. A prime example would be this week’s film Giant (DVD/Download). True Texans, and yes even Yankee transplants like me, can appreciate this epic film about land, greed, pride, and passion. With a run time of 3 hours and 20 minutes, there’s nothing small about Giant. With Thanksgiving looming, it’s the perfect time to settle in with a classic film about gluttony and family dysfunction.

Starring Rock Hudson as a west Texas rancher and Elizabeth Taylor as his Yankee bride, the timeline of Giant spans decades as it tells the story of the Reata ranch and its unhappy inhabitants. As a progressive northerner, Taylor is a fish out of water in the wild frontier of rural Texas. She loves her husband, and grows to love the barren open environment of her new home, but gets easily frustrated by the prejudice and intolerance she frequently witnesses. Her ally (a very HOT James Dean) saunters across the screen all brooding and beautiful, and together these two outcasts form an unlikely friendship. Their scenes together are simply magic, and one can truly sense the mutual respect that these two people shared in real life as well. Of course, Elizabeth Taylor’s chemistry with Rock Hudson is pretty incredible too, and the scene of Hudson gazing longingly at his estranged wife from across a crowded wedding, with love and adoration written all over his face, is one of the most romantic moments I’ve witnessed on the big screen. Seriously, all the feels.

With a movie about Texas cattle, dusty plains, and bit hats, one has to indulge in a little bourbon. OK, maybe a lot of bourbon. After all, you’ve got over 3 hours to sip- make it a double. While watching Giant, I recommend drinking a Reata Sweet Tea (bonus points for using Texas ingredients!).

Reata Sweet Tea

1 ½ oz Treaty Oak Red Handed Bourbon

1 oz Firefly Sweet Tea Bourbon

6 oz Texas Honey Cider

½ oz Lemon Juice

2 dashes Orange Bitters

Pour all ingredients over ice in a highball glass, stirring gently to combine.

Reata Sweet Tea

I’ve lived in Texas for more than a decade, but in many ways I can still identify with Elizabeth Taylor’s outsider character. I see a lot of injustices in my state, and tend to shake my fists pretty hard at our government, but I also have a deep appreciation for the land and the people I’ve met here. I’m proud to say I’m a Texan, despite not being a native one. You see, Texas is a state of mind, and yes- it is giant. Cheers y’all!

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Belle de Jour

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belledejour

Image credit: Belle de Jour, 1967

It is one of my greatest sorrows that I missed being alive during the 1960’s. Sure it was a turbulent time in many ways, but the fashions- oh, the fashions. I’ve done my best to channel what I’ve seen on screen into my current wardrobe (thanks Boden!) but I despair that I’ll never have the style of Catherine Deneuve in Belle de Jour (DVD/Download). Everything, from her rain coat to her underwear, is perfection. Prostitution never looked so glamorous.

Directed by Luis Bunuel, Belle de Jour is a surprisingly modern film about sexual desire, marriage, and the secrets we keep locked away. Catherine Deneuve is stunning as Severine, the perfect French housewife who gives into her depraved yearnings by working at a brothel. Each day, before the clock strikes 5:00, she satisfies her baser fantasies with men of all types. Eventually she meets a gangster named Marcel, who has all the swagger of a young Mick Jaggar, and despite knowing her time with him is essentially make-believe, Severine finally comes alive. Her debasement is both elegant and sad, as though her perfect outward appearance is just an elaborate mask for the turmoil happening behind those impossibly pretty eyes.

It wouldn’t be a movie about prostitution without bottles of champagne, and Belle de Jour does not disappoint. Glamorous Madam Anais serves it up freely (though warm). Add some French liqueur, and you’ve got a cocktail with style.  While watching Belle de Jour, I recommend drinking a Boisson du Jour.

Boisson du Jour

4 oz French champagne

1 oz Cointreau

2 dashes grapefruit bitters

Orange twist

Combine ingredients in a coupe glass, stirring gently to combine. Garnish with an orange twist.

Time is a strong motif in Belle de Jour, even down to the title. Severine is the Daytime Beauty, only emerging while the sun is up. We hear the ticking clock at Madam Anais’, and we know that her time is slowly running out. When the clock strikes 5, she’ll take her impeccably tailored raincoat, pillbox hat, and cute buckled shoes and go home to a life that doesn’t quite fit. But then again, perhaps it was all a daydream. Cheers!

Bedknobs and Broomsticks

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Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Image credit: Bedknobs and Broomsticks, 1971.

No matter how many sexy pirate or sexy nurse costumes flood the market in October, to me Halloween will always be a holiday for kids. Sure, I may still put on a funky hat or a fake moustache and eat my weight in fun-sized Heath bars, but I know I’ll never recapture the anticipatory magic of slipping a coat over my Little Mermaid seashell bra and heading out into a chilly Pennsylvania evening, empty plastic pumpkin in hand. Therefore this week on Cinema Sips, I’m closing out a month of witch movies with a childhood favorite, Bedknobs and Broomsticks (DVD/Download).

Many people tend to compare this movie to Mary Poppins, and they wouldn’t be wrong. Both feature beloved British actresses, catchy songs, a bit of magic, dirty London streets, and an unfortunate live action/cartoon interlude. However, Bedknobs and Broomsticks is slightly grittier than Mary and her penguins. This film follows a trio of homeless orphaned children sent to live in the village of Pepperinge Eye during the WWII bombing of London. They wind up in the care of Angela Lansbury, a secret witch-in-training with a surly disposition and an endless supply of tweed skirts, who feeds them grain bowls and can’t ride a broom to save her life. But in the end, they all work together on magic spells to defeat the Nazi’s, and live happily ever after. Because Disney!

Lansbury’s Eglantine Price is a buttoned up lady, whose one indulgence (I like to imagine), is a small glass of sherry and a good book.  Actually, that sounds kind of perfect to me as well.  Let’s celebrate this unlikeliest of witches with a classic EGG-white cocktail, the Sherry Flip.

Sherry Flip

2 oz dry Sherry

1 oz simple syrup

1 egg white

Pinch of nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a shaker without ice and shake well to combine. Then add ice, and shake vigorously to chill. Strain into a small wine glass. Dust with nutmeg.

Although many witches in cinema use their powers for romantic love, I applaud Eglantine on using hers for the good of her country. You see, witches don’t have to be scary. They can be intriguing, intelligent, kind, and pragmatic. They can have a thirst for knowledge that takes them from the bookshops on Portobello Road to a magical undersea dance hall. It’s all in your perception. Cheers!

Working Girl

working girl

Image credit: Working Girl, 1988.

To celebrate the 4th anniversary of Cinema Sips, this week I’ll be watching a classic ode to big hair and big dreams, Working Girl (DVD/Download).  Championing the idea that if you want to get ahead in life, you have to make it happen, this film is an inspiration to any woman who has ever dared to imagine she could crack the glass ceiling.  Or match her two-toned eye shadow to her jewelry.

As intelligent, hard-working Tess McGill, Melanie Griffith gets overlooked at work due to her Jersey accent, flashy clothes, and pretty face. She wants to make it in Mergers & Acquisitions (whatever the hell that is) but feels permanently stuck down in the secretarial pool. Enter Sigourney Weaver, a boss babe who seems supportive at first, but turns out to be a snake in Armani shoulder pads. Through some creative maneuvering, elocution lessons, and a flattering new haircut, Tess manages to pass herself off as someone who matters. The thing is- she had good ideas all along. She should have been taken seriously from the get-go. But sometimes when the rules are stacked against you, you have to make up new ones.

Along the way to the top, she meets Jack Trainer, delightfully portrayed by Harrison Ford. Talk about a female fantasy- he doesn’t talk down to Tess because she’s a woman, he values her ideas, and he offers her herbal tea when she gets drunk on tequila and valium. Maybe you’re in the mood for romance, or maybe you’ve just had a tough day at the office. In either case, I recommend watching Working Girl with some Lust & Tequila.

Lust & Tequila

1.5 oz silver tequila

3/4 oz lime juice

4 oz Mighty Swell Peach sparkling cocktail (or peach soda)

Topo Chico

Lime Twist

Build drink over ice in a highball glass, topping with Topo Chico.  Stir gently to combine, and garnish with a lime twist.

Lust and Tequila

As any working woman can tell you, making it happen is hard.  As I juggle a day job, a blog, a burgeoning career as a novelist, and that hungry beast called Social Media, I start to wonder if it’s all worth it.  The thing that keeps me going is the idea that someone out there might stumble onto this post and get SO EXCITED about drinking tequila while watching Working Girl.  Maybe it’ll bring a smile to their face.  Same goes for my books.  Finding a story that consumes me so much that I can’t put it down is one of my greatest joys in life. The dream of doing that for someone else is a big motivator.  Like Tess, if I keep pushing forward, some day I’ll get there.  Maybe Working Girl is a fairy tale, but it’s one I want to believe in.   Cheers!

Across the Universe

Across the Universe

Image Credit: Across the Universe, 2007.

As a teenager I was largely obsessed with everything Beatles-related (who am I kidding- I still am), so it comes as no surprise that I would adore Across the Universe (DVD/Download). Using the songs of Lennon and McCartney to tell the story of 1960’s-era star crossed lovers? Genius. Tapping director Julie Taymor to bring her signature visual-wonderland style to the project? Transcendent.

Across the Universe is essentially a patchwork quilt woven from Beatles song lyrics.  Heartsick Jude pines for Lucy, they survive the turbulent 60’s with a little help from their friends, dear Prudence sneaks in through the bathroom window, and in the end they realize that love is all you need. Through superbly choreographed songs, wildly creative set pieces, and heartfelt acting, the music of the Beatles truly comes alive. I feel every note, from Joe Cocker belting “Come Together”, to T.V. Carpio singing her heart-wrenching version of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”. It makes me understand the songs like never before.

One of the strongest symbols in the film is the strawberry, used to represent both the overt sexuality of the era, as well as the bloodshed of Vietnam. It’s a powerful and striking visual element. While watching Across the Universe, I recommend drinking a Strawberry Fields Martini.

Strawberry Fields Martini

1/4 cup strawberry juice (I used Naked Strawberry C Monster™)

1 oz cake vodka

Pink champagne

Fresh strawberry (for garnish)

Mix the strawberry juice and vodka over ice in a cocktail shaker, stirring until chilled. Strain into a martini glass, and top with pink champagne. Garnish with a strawberry.

strawberry fields

 

Despite an awful Mr. Kite musical number in the middle (honestly- wasn’t it bad enough we had to suffer through it on the Sgt. Pepper album??) Across the Universe is simply magical. So turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream- it is shining.  Cheers!

The Fugitive

The Fugitive

Image credit: The Fugitive, 1993

90’s nostalgia seems to be everywhere these days. I’ve recently been combing through my stacks of VHS tapes to find a piece of movie magic that captures the heyday of high-concept action films the decade was known for.  What did I land on? The Harrison Ford/Tommy Lee Jones thinking-man’s thriller The Fugitive (DVD/Download).

Adapted from the 1960’s TV series (my grandpa was a big fan), Ford plays Dr. Richard Kimball, a renowned surgeon falsely convicted of killing his wife (hey Sela Ward! Where ya been?). He knows it was a one-armed-man that did the deed, but proof, and the actual killer, are long gone. While being transported to prison, his bus gets hit by a train, allowing him to escape. Tommy Lee Jones plays the US Marshall tasked with finding him, and thus sets off a manhunt through Chicago as the lawman hunts the doctor, who is simultaneously hunting the one-armed-man. The film manages to condense a 4-season TV show quite well, and Harrison Ford plays the smartest prison escapee since Andy Dufresne.   Tommy Lee Jones might be searching every farm house, hen house, and outhouse in the tri-state area, but he’ll have to be clever if he’s going up against Dr. Richard Kimball.

I love that there are essentially two man hunts going on in this film, and kudos to finding THE SCARIEST looking villain in the history of cinema. Not only does Andreas Katsulas look like the reincarnated Bela Lugosi, but he’s also got an undeniably creepy mechanical arm. Not that all prosthetics are creepy, but combined with a gun and a trench coat, it gives me the shivers. So while you watch the hunted Richard Kimball hunt the one-armed-man, sip on a Manhunt.

Manhunt

2 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey

4 dashes lemon juice

1 tsp granulated sugar

1 splash sparkling water

1 maraschino cherry

Dissolve the sugar in lemon juice and water at the bottom of a Boston shaker. Add the whiskey, and fill halfway with ice. Stir to combine and chill, then pour into a tumbler. Garnish with a cherry.

Manhunt

While watching The Fugitive, keep a look out for blink-and-you’ll-miss-her Julianne Moore, back in the days before anybody realized she could act. This is the movie I’ll always associate with Tommy Lee Jones, and his rugged Texas accent. Even in the big city of Chicago, he’s still the top lawman in town. Cheers!

Auntie Mame

auntie mame

Image credit: Auntie Mame, 1958

For those ladies out there lucky enough to be an aunt, have I got a movie for you. In this 1958 Technicolor dream starring Rosalind Russell, Auntie Mame (DVD/Download) is a shining example of how fabulous life can be when you’ve got cocktails, a man servant named Ito, and an impressionable young relative looking to you for example. Do I strive to be the Auntie Mame in my own nieces’ lives? Showing them that “life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death”? You betcha.

I immediately knew I would love this movie as soon as I saw Rosalind Russell float across an art deco set in a sequined pantsuit, cigarette holder in hand. Her apartment is everything I’ve ever wanted in life, and what makes it even better are all the eccentric artists and intellectuals coming over to visit.  When Mame is forced to take in her orphaned nephew Patrick, you’d think that would put the kibosh on her wacky, wonderful lifestyle, but instead she manages to bring him along for the ride. In no time at all, he’s mixing a perfect martini and posits the question only the best bartenders know to ask- dry or extra dry?

When it comes to cocktail pairings, there is literally SO MUCH ALCOHOL in this movie. Faced with the impossible task of picking just one thing to drink, I decided to take a page from Mame’s book and step right up to the banquet. Therefore, if you’re watching Auntie Mame, you could drink Champagne, you could drink Spiced Rum and Dr. Pepper like poor Agnes Gooch, or one of Mame’s Martini‘s (recipe below). But for heavens sake, stay away from the honey-sweetened Upson Downs Daiquiri.

Mame’s Martini

3 oz Gin

1 oz Vodka

Dash Cocchi Americano

Lemon twist

Stir gin, vodka and Cocchi Americano over ice until chilled, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist. (note: never use olives- it takes up too much room in the glass!)

Martini

As I cruise through the age of “so when are you going to have kids?”, I’m happy to throw up my Aunt status as proof that while I don’t want kids of my own, I don’t hate kids. My nieces are great! They’re fun, they play Barbies, they like purses, and at the end of the night their parents do all the heavy lifting. And when they get a little older, I’ll be waiting right there to show them how to navigate a bar cart and wear costume jewelry with confidence. Cheers!