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Tag Archives: New England Cocktail

Mystic Pizza

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Image Credit Samuel Goldwyn Company, 1988, Mystic Pizza

Image Credit Samuel Goldwyn Company, 1988, Mystic Pizza


Recently I was so excited to see that actress Annabeth Gish had joined the cast of TV’s Sons of Anarchy. Where has she been all these years? Aside from a small part in Beautiful Girls, I really hadn’t seen much of her since her star-making role in this week’s film Mystic Pizza (DVD/Download). That appearance got me excited to re-watch one of my favorite movies, which is an absolutely perfect pick for autumn. It makes me long for fall in New England, filled with crisp leaves, cold nights, and chunky sweaters.

Mystic Pizza follows three female friends on the cusp of adulthood as they navigate tricky romances and their future dreams while living in the small town of Mystic, Connecticut. Kat (played by Annabeth Gish) enters into a torrid affair with the married father of the little girl she babysits, Daisy (played by a very young, big-haired Julia Roberts) gets involved with a wealthy playboy, and Jo Jo (played by Lili Taylor) is debating whether or not to marry her long-time boyfriend. They work at a pizza parlor together, and I swear the pizza in this movie looks so good that I always crave it mid-way through. Just do yourself a favor and order one about half an hour before the movie starts. You’ll thank me later. What I love about this film is that these women manage to find themselves and figure out what they want out of love and life, without sacrificing their friendship. That’s the central key to why this movie works so well. Men may come and go, but the friendship among these women is forever.

As for my beverage choice this week, nothing says fall to me like apple cider. I do a little happy dance every time I see it appear in grocery stores next to the bushels of fresh apples. Over the years I’ve paired it with everything under the sun- spiced rum, whiskey, brandy, even an ill-fated night with Bailey’s Irish Cream (I do NOT recommend this if you value your stomach lining), but this week I’ve decided to go girly and make an apple cider sangria. While watching Mystic Pizza, I recommend drinking a Mystic Sparkler.

Mystic Sparkler

2 cups apple cider

½ cup cognac

750ml bottle of cava (or other dry sparkling wine), chilled

2 apples peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

Add the apples to a large pitcher 1/4 filled with ice, reserving ½ cup of the apples for garnishing. Add the cognac, apple cider, and chilled cava.   Stir. Add more ice if necessary. Serve in wine glasses and top with more apple slices.


I like to think these ladies would have mixed up a big pitcher of this and sat around dishing about their trysts in abandoned houses. Seriously, haven’t any of their boyfriends heard of electricity? The characters say at the end of the film that they wonder where they’ll all be in ten years, and frankly I wonder that too. Who’s divorced, who has kids, and who still lives in Mystic, CT? I’m just putting it out there to the cinema gods that there NEEDS to be a sequel to this movie. This can’t be the end of it for these ladies. How will we ever know what Leona puts in that pizza??  Cheers!

A Summer Place

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Image Credit Warner Bros, 1959, A Summer Place

Image Credit Warner Bros, 1959, A Summer Place

True confession: I’m a sucker for any movie with Sandra Dee in an A-line dress. I’m also a sucker for melodramatic movies of the 1950’s, the type that would have been playing at a drive-in movie theater. This week’s Cinema Sips pick, A Summer Place (DVD) fulfills both criteria. I must have caught this movie on AMC back in high school (when they actually showed classic films) and from the moment I laid eyes on Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue as two star-crossed teenage lovers, I was hooked. Throw in cardigan sweaters and preppy boat shoes, and well, we may as well just call this a perfect movie.

A Summer Place is about two teens who find themselves together on an exclusive New England resort called Pine Island for the summer. Troy Donahue plays the son of the innkeeper, and Sandra Dee is the daughter of a family that comes to stay. As it turns out, Sandra Dee’s father (played by Richard Egan) used to be involved with Troy Donahue’s mother (played by Dorothy McGuire) when he was the lifeguard there as a teenager, and even though each married other people, they never forgot each other. As you can guess, romance rekindles between the parents as it blossoms among their children. The writers of this film’s script make the ensuing adultery pretty convenient, since she’s married to an alcoholic and he’s married to a racist. OF COURSE they’d have affairs. Admittedly, it’s a soap opera, complete with wonderfully melodramatic music, kooky supporting characters, and hysterical overacting. But the scenes of ocean waves crashing against craggily rocks, afternoon sailing, and a cocktail hour where everyone dresses up make me swoon. It’s what summer should be.

This film was an easy choice for Cinema Sips because it features some great drunk scene-stealing by actor Arthur Kennedy. He tells it like it is, even when “it” happens to be that his wife is sleeping with her former lover again. He’s an alcoholic for sure, but a dignified alcoholic. None of those bar fights or crying meltdowns that movie alcoholics are traditionally known for. So in his honor, I’m mixing up a great standby WASPy summer drink- a Pine Island Gin & Tonic.

Pine Island Gin & Tonic

1.5 oz Bombay Sapphire Gin

3 oz Fever Tree tonic water

Lime wedge

Sprig of Rosemary for garnish

Build ingredients in a tumbler full of ice. Squeeze a bit of the lime juice into the glass, stir, and garnish with rosemary and lime wedge.


I’m adding a sprig of rosemary to this because it mirrors the pine trees surrounding the inn. And it fancies up a drink that, admittedly, is pretty simple. But in summertime, when it’s hot out, this is the drink that I make more often than anything else. It’s easy, delicious, and really hits the spot. Be sure to use the best ingredients though, because when you’ve got a simple drink, it’s abundantly clear when you’ve skimped on quality. I like to fix one of these and imagine I’m sitting at Richard Egan’s Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home bar, as I listen to the ocean waves crashing and watch Troy Donahue stroll down the beach in his short shorts and cardigan sweater.   Très jolie, as the French would say. Très, très jolie. Cheers!