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Tag Archives: movie cocktails

The Sword in the Stone

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the sword in the stone

Image credit: The Sword in the Stone, 1963.

My anticipation and excitement for Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs has me itching to watch more animation this month.  I have very strong thoughts on modern animation, having grown up in the days before computers did absolutely everything. Back then, you could go to Disney World’s MGM Studios and actually watch artists use a pencil and paper to draw characters. I know, crazy right? If we’re talking animation, I think it’s essential to begin with Disney- the studio that turned this medium into a true cinematic artform. Although I love so many Disney animated features, my enduring favorite is undoubtedly The Sword in the Stone (DVD/Download).

Some might see this as an odd choice for me, since there is nary a ballgown or princess in sight.  However what it lacks in unrealistic romantic ideals, The Sword in the Stone more than makes up for it in visual sumptuousness. When I watch this story of young Arthur toiling away in poverty, learning about science from Merlin the Wizard and Archimedes the Owl, I feel like I can actually see the blood, sweat, and tears that went into drawing each frame. Every line and color cell is visible to the naked eye, with the ultimate effect being a moving painting. This is something I don’t get today with the Pixar films, where everything looks a bit like a plastic toy, regardless of whether it’s a Toy Story sequel or not.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the magnificent, marvelous, mad Madam Mim. She pits good old-fashioned sorcery against Merlin’s scientific approach, but gosh what a delightful villain! Of any character in this film, she seems the most likely to relax with a cocktail after a day of wreaking havoc. While watching The Sword in the Stone, I recommend drinking a Mad Madam Mim Martini.

Mad Madam Mim Martini

1.5 oz vodka

1.5 oz cranberry juice

Dash of Grenadine

1 oz Blue Curacao

Raspberry Cocktail Caviar for garnish (slightly chilled)

Mix vodka, cranberry juice, and grenadine in a shaker filled with ice. Strain into a martini glass, then slowly layer blue curacao. Garnish with Cocktail Caviar balls (aka- the pox!)

madam mim martini

1960’s Disney films have such a unique, gritty style that got lost in the Beauty and the Beast-era films of the 1990’s. Somewhere along the way, it became trendy to take the human element out of the equation. Maybe one day we’ll cycle back, but for now, watch this vintage gem and geek out on Merlin’s science lessons. After all, knowledge is true power. Cheers!




Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Image credit: Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day, 2008

You’ll have to forgive me, but I’m totally obsessed with Frances McDormand. The front-runner for this year’s Academy Award for Best Actress (for her unforgettable role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), she’s long been a favorite of mine in films like Friends With Money, and this week’s Cinema Sips pick Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (DVD/Download).  No matter what happens on Oscar night, I think we should all bow down to the woman who has made “telling it like it is” into an artform.

As Guinevere Pettigrew, McDormand speaks simple truths softly. She’s the guiding force ditzy American singer/actress Delysia Lefosse (a campy Amy Adams) desperately needs as she juggles three competing bachelors in 1930’s London. Poor Miss Pettigrew just wants a meal, but she’s too busy playing caretaker and maid to this scatterbrained screwball. The art deco sets and costumes are completely transporting, and understated romance makes this script sparkle like a diamond brooch. Will Miss Pettigrew get her happy ending with Joe the lingerie designer? Have a cocktail and find out.

Although Miss Pettigrew doesn’t drink, she finds it difficult to refuse Delysia’s offer of a cocktail.  It’s different, you know.  Enjoy this classic libation and see if you can guess which bachelor will win Delysia’s heart in this wacky horserace. While watching Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, I recommend drinking a Silver Screen Gin Fizz.

Silver Screen Gin Fizz

2 oz Gin

1 oz simple syrup

¾ oz Lemon Juice

4-5 dashes grapefruit bitters

1 egg white

Club Soda

Combine first 5 ingredients in a cocktail shaker without ice first, and shake until frothy. Add ice, then shake vigorously until chilled. Strain into a glass, and top with club soda.

Gin Fizz

This film reminds me so much of wonderful screwball comedies by Preston Sturgess and Howard Hawkes. The dialogue is rapid, the actors look like they’re having the time of their lives, and the costumes make me want to give up my job so I can walk around in satin and fur all day without being ridiculed. I guess I’ll just have to save it for the weekend. Cheers!

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Bill and Ted

Image credit: Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, 1989.

I got on a major Keanu Reeves kick over the summer, diving headfirst into such classics as Point Break, Speed, and yes, even A Walk in the Clouds. Haven’t you always wanted to watch Keanu Reeves sell candy and make wine? I know I have. Obviously, my marathon wouldn’t have been complete without this week’s classic cult comedy, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (DVD/Download). Why do I still love this film? Because Bill S. Preston and Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan make history fun!

When Bill and Ted are visited by the intergalactic time traveler (played by… George Carlin?), they barely question the magic phone booth that will take them to any point in time. Collecting such notable figures as Napoleon, Abraham Lincoln, Billy the Kid, and Socrates, they put together a kick-ass presentation to wow the crowd at San Dimas High and ace their final exam. The movie shines during scenes when history is juxtaposed with 1980’s America.  Seeing Joan of Arc lead a jazzercise class- priceless.

One thing that never changes from 19th-century France to 20th-century America- the fact that Napoleon is a real piece of sh*t.  Pushing people out of the way on waterslides, cheating at mini golf- this guy lives up to his reputation. Of course such a pompous ass would have his own cocktail. While watching Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, I recommend drinking a classic Napoleon.


2 oz Gin

½ oz Grand Marnier

½ oz Dubonnet Rouge

Lemon Twist

Mix all ingredients together in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Stir until chilled, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.


Although it would go on to launch a pretty bad film sequel and animated TV show, the original Bill & Ted will always be a classic in my book. Wyld Stallyns couldn’t drag me from this one. Cheers!

Shakespeare in Love

Shakespeare in Love

Image credit: Shakespeare in Love, 1998.

This Valentine’s Day, I know just what I’m in the mood for- love, and a bit with a dog. Throw in some sumptuous Elizabethan-era costumes, one of the most genius scripts of all time, a saucy Judi Dench, and what have you got? This week’s Ultimate Romance film Shakespeare in Love (DVD/Download).

Before GOOP, before vagina steaming, Gwyneth Paltrow was Viola de Lessups, beautiful muse to Will Shakespeare and feminist icon to every girl who ever dreamed of doing a “man’s job”. I wanted to hate her, she of the dewy pore-less skin and perfect hair that doesn’t even need a comb in the morning. Except, damn it- she’s just radiant in this film. Her chemistry with Ralph Fiennes is amazing, and her joy at playing this character is completely contagious. Plus there’s that script, which takes all the brilliance of Shakespeare’s plays, adds some subtle, witty nods to Elizabethan history, and sparkles with one double entendre after another.

I love a good “putting on a show” storyline, so naturally I’m enamored with The Rose theatre’s production of Romeo and Juliet née Mercutio née Romeo and Ethel- The Pirate’s Daughter. This film does a fantastic job of showing the humorous side of Shakespearean theatre, and therefore it deserves a light, rose-inspired cocktail to put you in the mood for romance. While watching Shakespeare in Love, I recommend drinking a Rose by Any Other Name.

Rose by Any Other Name

2 oz gin

2 oz Elderflower Liqueur

1 ½ oz lime juice

½ oz simple syrup

½ tsp Rosewater

Fresh rose petals

Combine liquid ingredients over ice, shaking well to combine and thoroughly chill. Strain mixture into a glass, and garnish with rose petals.

Rose by Any Other Name

Can a play (or a film) show the us the very truth and nature of love? I certainly believe it can, and this film does it perfectly. By the final scene, I’m a true believer in the idea that it will all come out right in the end. How? It’s a mystery. Cheers!

West Side Story

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West Side Story

Image credit: West Side Story, 1961

I have a very important question for all you Cinema Sips readers- are you Team Jet or Team Shark? Personally, I’m Team Jet, due to my not-so-secret crush on Russ Tamblyn. But no matter which side you’re on, I think we can all agree that West Side Story (DVD/Download) is one of the most delightfully jazzy discourses on immigration and gang warfare that cinema has to offer.

Based on the Broadway hit with music by Leonard Bernstein and choreography by Jerome Robbins, West Side Story is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Instead of the Montagues and Capulets, it’s the Jets and the Sharks- Polish vs. Puerto Rican on the mean streets of New York. Jet Tony falls for Shark Maria, and we pretty much know these star-crossed lovers are doomed from the get-go. I adore the production design- one big Technicolor feast for the eyes. Even the songs are catchy, and this coming from someone who is emphatically Anti-Sondheim. Maybe it’s the beautiful Bernstein score that rescues his lyrics. This is one of those rare musicals that’s never going to seem dated, mainly because the story of Romeo and Juliet is so timeless. Plus, what girl hasn’t twirled around the bedroom singing “I Feel Pretty”? Just me? Really? Well okay then.

One of my favorite songs in the film is “America”, Rita Moreno’s snappy ode to her adopted home. However, her native territory of Puerto Rico is no slouch either. It’s got some great things going for it, such as the eggnog-esque cocktail Coquito. Sweet, boozy, flavorful- it’s the perfect pairing for this film. While watching West Side Story, I recommend drinking Coquito.


2 cans coconut cream

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 can evaporated milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups rum

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a blender, mixing well until frothy. Refrigerate overnight, then serve chilled over ice.


I like to think that if every American could just watch this incredible film, there would be no talk of a wall or fights about Dreamers. Every immigrant, no matter how they got here or where they came from, deserves a chance at a better life. That’s America. Quick- how can we orchestrate a Turner Classic Movies takeover of Fox News?? Cheers!

Hell or High Water

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Hell or High Water

Image credit: Hell or High Water, 2016

While I was prepping my Top Five Films of 2017 list this year, I took a look back at the 2016 list to see which of those films had the most staying power. I’m definitely guilty of getting swept up in awards season hype, lauding a film then forgetting all about it a month later (cough *Argo* cough). Of any pick from that 2016 list, the one with the best legs is definitely Hell or High Water (DVD/Download). I have watched this movie with a salty Navy vet, several times with my husband, once with my cat-loving mother-in-law, and yet again with my dad (semi-professional “shoot em up” connoisseur). Five stars from everyone, and I’m still not sick of it. I think this one is here to stay.

Hell or High Water is one of those rare films that spans multiple genres, but does it so well that it doesn’t get pigeonholed into any one of them. It could be considered a Western, or a heist film, or even an art-house drama. The story of two brothers robbing small West Texas banks to save the family farm sounds very simplistic, but Taylor Sheridan’s clever script turns this into a complex masterpiece with not a single loose thread left hanging. Chris Pine (sporting the best mustache since Clark Gable swept Vivienne Leigh off her feet) is a revelation as the quiet, thoughtful brother trying to atone for past sins and pull his family out of poverty, and Ben Foster turns in some of his best work as the reckless ex-con who you know right away is too wild to walk away from this unscathed. Jeff Bridges elevates the stereotypical “I’m too old for this shit” Texas Ranger character into an homage to Western cinema heroes- his hotel blanket draped around his shoulders like a serape cape fit for a superhero.

I could get fancy with a Texas-inspired cocktail, but that’s not what this film is about. It’s about average folks and the lengths they’ll go to protect what’s theirs. It’s a movie about sipping a beer on a ramshackle porch, wondering if there’s even such a thing as right and wrong anymore. While watching Hell or High Water, I recommend getting a Shiner Family Reunion 6-pack, maybe a shot of whiskey, and kicking back with a damn good movie.

Shiner beer

I tend to love films about sympathetic criminals because I think there’s a little part of all of us that can relate to good people doing bad things. Like Tom Ripley, I want the Howard brothers to get away with it. Or at the very least, go out in a blaze of glory. The great thing about Hell or High Water is that we get both, but it still leaves you guessing until the very end. Cheers!

The Lord of the Rings

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Lord of the Rings

Image Credit: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, 2003

A recent reader request prompted this week’s pick, and not only was I happy to hear from a Cinema Sips fan, but I was equally excited for an excuse to lay on the couch and take a trip back to Middle Earth. Although I’m typically not a fan of the fantasy genre, I have to admit that the Lord of the Rings trilogy (DVD/Download) is certainly one of the best (and LONGEST!) examples in cinema history.

While I tend to zone out a bit during The Hobbit films (really, was it necessary to show THAT many orc battles??) LOTR has enough intersecting plotlines to keep me engaged. My favorite characters are the hobbits, for not only are they cute and pint-sized, but they also live in adorable houses. Those uppity elves are a little too sterile for my taste, and way too pretty. I’m not going to go into plot specifics here because there’s just too much to unpack. The trilogy is based on the J.R.R. Tolkien books about creatures on an epic quest to destroy a powerful ring before an evil overlord can get his hands on it. There are battles and magic and romance, and even a little comedy from the resident dwarf.  Basically, something for everyone.

This is a great movie trilogy to watch with a drink because A) those Hobbits like to party, and B) you’ll need a little something extra to keep the energy level steady through 11 hours of Middle Earth shenanigans. While watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I recommend drinking a Ginger-Mead Collins.

Ginger-Mead Collins

3 oz Mead (I used Jinja Dragon by Crafted Artisan Meadery)

1 ½ oz Ginger Beer

1 oz Lemon Juice

Topo Chico

Build drink in a glass over ice, stirring gently to combine. 

Ginger Mead collins

As I’ve said, I’m not the biggest fan of fantasy films because personally I think humans are weird and interesting enough already- why make up mythical creatures? But this trilogy makes me understand the appeal of the genre. There’s an opportunity to make a controversial statement about our human reality when hobbits and elves are saying the words. It’s safer somehow; easier to digest. And when the real world starts to seem bleak, and you wonder if neighbor-helping-neighbor is a thing of the past, The Lord of the Rings shows us what amazing things can happen when a guy gets a little help from his friends. Cheers!