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Shaun of the Dead

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Image Credit  Universal Pictures, 2004, Shaun of the Dead

Image Credit Universal Pictures, 2004, Shaun of the Dead

This Friday is Halloween- that great American holiday where I get to eat candy, drink, and watch scary movies with the lights off in an attempt to fool the trick-or-treaters outside into thinking I’m not home. Since I’m not really one for scary movies, I’m opting for a funny-scary movie this year. Shaun of the Dead (DVD/Download) is one of my favorite movies to watch on Halloween, mainly because it celebrates drinking in a big way and doesn’t go too gross-out with the zombie makeup (I’m looking at you, Walking Dead). I get nervous when I hear hordes of teenage children running up and down the street, plastic pumpkin buckets in hand, so I can think of no better place than my living room to sit and have a nice cold drink and wait for the whole thing to blow over.

Shaun of the Dead is about man-child Shaun (Simon Pegg), who still lives with his roommate Ed (Nick Frost) in London, plays video games, gets wasted on the weekends, and forgets to call his girlfriend. Suddenly a zombie epidemic hits London, and Shaun has to get his friends and family to safety. What is the safest place he can think of? Well the local pub of course! An endless supply of beer, pub snacks, a jukebox, and plenty of seating- sounds pretty good to me. As they hole up at the Winchester, Shaun and his crew have to fend off zombie attacks, set to the tune of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now, and armed only with a cricket bat and an old rifle. I love this film because it doesn’t take itself or the horror genre too seriously. When faced with a zombie in the backyard, Shaun and Ed don’t cower in terror, but instead debate over which record they will fling to kill it (sorry, Dire Straits). Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s script is so brilliant, and I find myself laughing time and time again at the pop culture references and send-ups of typical male behavior. Shaun cares about his mates, his beer, his mum, and his girlfriend, in that order. Based on single guys I know, that sounds about right.

My drink this week is inspired by the zombies populating this film. No, it’s not a Zombie, that delicious fruity tiki drink that knocked me down and out one night on a trip to Pittsburgh. Instead, I’m going back a bit further to the Savoy Cocktail Handbook to find something more appropriate for the autumn season. When watching Shaun of the Dead, I recommend drinking a Corpse Reviver #1.

Corpse Reviver #1

2 parts Cognac

1 part apple brandy or Calvados

1 part sweet vermouth

Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake vigorously, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  How’s that for a slice of fried gold?


This drink got its name from being touted as a “hair of the dog” hangover cure. I’m not sure how much I believe in that concept, as having too much of this drink seems more likely to give me a hangover than to take one away. I think I’ll still stick with my 8am Diet Coke, just like Shaun. Many a morning has been spent stumbling to the mini-mart in search of chemical caffeinated goodness, though honestly, the only zombie on-site at the time was probably me. This time, I’m stocking my fridge with Diet Coke in advance of Saturday morning, because you never know what you’ll run into out there. You might just see a guy with red on him, or even a dog looking up. Cheers!

Top 5 Movie Bars (public)

In honor of Cinema Sips’ one year anniversary, I’m launching a new feature- Top 5 Lists! Inspired by John Cusack’s “Top 5” picks in High Fidelity, these lists are by no means scientific and totally based on personal opinion.

To kick things off, this week I’m highlighting my Top 5 Movie Bars that are open to the public (we’ll get to private home bars in movies another week).

To all my readers who have found me over the last 12 months, thank you so much for following this blog.  I’ll keep drinking, watching, and writing if you keep reading!

1) Hollywood Star Lanes bar, The Big Lebowski

big lebowski alley bar

White Russians, Sam Elliott, and the Dude. Bar wisdom: “Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear, well, he eats you.” Wait, what??


2) The Overlook Hotel Bar, The Shining


OK maybe this one skirts the line at being “public” since it’s pretty much just Jack Nicholson and a creepy bartender, but hey- sometimes a man needs solitude. I’m in love with the weird lighting, tin ceilings, and ghosts of guests past.


3) The Park Hyatt Tokyo Bar, Lost in Translation

lost in translation bar

It looks like they make a mean vodka tonic. And they have a delightful house band called Sausalito. And Bill Murray hangs out there. Does it get any better?


4) The Double Deuce, Roadhouse

double deuce

Two words:  Patrick.  Swayze.


5)  The Winchester, Shaun of the Dead

the winchester

While I’m sure a cocktail would be hard to come by in this beer-centric pub, I give major props for pub snacks and Queen on the jukebox. If a zombie apocalypse were to descend on my city, you’d better believe I’d be headed to a bar. Snacks, alcohol, and Freddie Mercury- what more do you need?


*Honorable mention: Rick’s Café Americain in Casablanca. My personal distaste for African desert climates and Nazis kept it out of the top 5, but those cocktails and piano music are swoon-worthy.