One of my favorite movies to watch in the summer is Mike Nichols’ classic The Graduate (DVD/Download). The image of Dustin Hoffman floating aimlessly in a turquoise pool while his dad harasses him about his plans for the future makes me long for hot summer days free from responsibility. Now there’s work, and blogging, and writing, and all the normal things that come with being an adult. But for a typical 21-22 year old, the biggest thing that’s expected of you is remembering to put on sunblock. Those were the days.
The Graduate is essentially a film about relationships. Dustin Hoffman’s character Benjamin Braddock begins an affair with the older Mrs. Robinson, then later falls for her daughter Elaine. A weird, disturbing love triangle ensues, and I’m not even sure I want him to end up with the age-appropriate but fickle Elaine. By the end of the movie, I just want Benjamin to leave Pasadena and finally start that career in plastics. As a recent college graduate, he wanders through life looking perpetually depressed, even when lying next to sexy Anne Bancroft in a hotel bed. She’s absolutely the best thing in this movie, and I’m still stunned that she was only 36 when she was cast. Frankly, I might have been better off not knowing this little piece of trivia (since that’s currently only 4 years older than me. Yikes.). The other thing that draws me into this film is the Simon & Garfunkel soundtrack. It always reminds me of the summer when I was 11 or 12 years old, waiting all day for the Pittsburgh oldies radio station to play “Mrs. Robinson”. If I was really lucky, I’d get to hear it more than once over the span of the afternoon. (Kids today- they have no idea what it was like before iTunes.)
For a sophisticated, mature, fashion-forward woman like Mrs. Robinson, who makes even leopard print seem classy, I’m mixing up a drink that fits her lifestyle. Bold and refined, this cocktail recipe was something I found in the fabulous book Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails (a true must-read for any cocktail aficionado). While watching The Graduate, I recommend drinking an Elder Fashion.
2 oz Plymouth Gin
½ oz St. Germaine elderflower liqueur
2 dashes orange bitters
Stir all ingredients over ice, then strain into a glass containing 1 large ice cube. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.
My favorite scenes take place in Mrs. Robinson’s swanky living room bar. I have no words to describe how much I love the décor. If I could decorate my whole house in her Palm Springs/vintage style, I totally would (as it is, I settled for just my living room). She may be kind of a crazy mess, but Mrs. Robinson will always be an icon of sophistication. Cheers!