I have been blessed with offspring and 11 nieces and nephews—12 if you count my honorary niece. I’m looking forward to their holiday merriment and flying wrapping paper but when December 26 rolls around I’m going to desperately need some grownup recreation. This means movie night with adult beverages and the little ones safely tucked in for their long winter naps (or for the teens, long winter multi-player games). For this soirée I’m gleaning inspiration from two terrific volumes of mixology: Gone with the Gin: Cocktails with a Hollywood Twist by bartending’s merry punster Tim Federle (Running Press; October 2015) and Cocktails of the Movies: An Illustrated Guide to Cinematic Mixology by Will Francis and Stacey Marsh (Prestel; October 2015).
Gone with the Gin is a tongue-in-cheek menu of witty movie-inspired cocktails such as Bourbon Cowboy (basil, bourbon, bitters and sweet tea with a dash of lemon); Whiskey Business (whiskey, sherry and Benedictine); and the seasonally appropriate White Russian Christmas (vodka, crème de menthe, Bailey’s Irish Cream and eggnog).
Cocktails of the Movies goes right to the flicks themselves. Did you know that James Bond downed a Mojito in Die Another Day? But in Casino Royale, Bond (this time Daniel Craig) sipped a Vesper Martini. Recipes for both are given, but I’m more fascinated by Clarence the Angel’s (Henry Travers) Flaming Rum Punch (“heavy on the cinnamon and light on the cloves”) from It’s a Wonderful Life or the Orange Whip ordered by Burton Mercer (John Candy) in the Blues Brothers.
For my post-holiday get-together I think I’ll keep it nostalgic with a couple of black-and-white classics—Some Like it Hot (maybe the funniest movie ever made) and Casablanca (the most romantic movie ever made). For the Marilyn Monroe comedy, we can go with another classic—Manhattans, straight from the movie—or try Federle’s Some Spike it Hot, a variation on a Buttered Hot Rum. But for Casablanca we’ll have what Bogey’s beloved Ilsa is having—French 27.
Here’s the recipe from Cocktails of the Movies:
‘French 75’ Recipe
1 ½ ounces gin
½ ounce lemon juice
¼ ounce sugar syrup
Shake the first three ingredients with ice. Pour into a champagne saucer and top up slowly with champagne. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Get those cocktail shakers ready and roll ‘em!