BY NATHANAEL TUCKERSometimes mixed drinks take center stage in film and television. Think Jeff Bridges as The Dude in “The Big Lebowski,” Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine in “Casablanca,” and all of the women in “Sex and the City” and their Manhattans.
This week, we’ll explore some of these classics so you can watch and sip along with your movie.
1. The Vesper Martini.
In “Casino Royale” the classic martini gets a face lift from 007 when he orders his signature drink. This time the spy plays with the usually narrow definition of the martini when Bond asks specifically for “three measures of Gordon’s (London dry gin), one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it over ice, and add a thin slice of lemon peel.” Lillet is a sweet aperitif wine from France and Bond could have asked for a “twist” for his garnish, but sometimes it is better to be specific with your bartender. Substitute “measure” for “ounce” and this one is sure to please.
2. The White Russian.
Not only are these tasty, but Jeff Bridges’ portrayal of the Dude solidified the White Russian’s status in pop culture with this simple drink: 2 ounces vodka, 1 ounce Kahlua and 1 ounce cream. Combine in a rocks glass, add ice, put your sunglasses on and sip. If cream, or even milk is not available, try The Dude’s version with non-dairy creamer. Or don’t.
3. The French 75.
Rick’s gin joint in “Casablanca” served these to Ingrid Bergman and are named after the World War I French 75-millimeter M1897 gun. They do pack a punch. Combine 2 ounces of gin, 1 ounce fresh lemon juice, half an ounce simple syrup or a teaspoon of sugar and mix; add ice and shake. Strain into a champagne flute and top with champagne, garnishing with a twist of lemon zest. This can also be served on the rocks in a tub, but the champagne glass is tres classy. Be careful if you “play it again, Sam” more than once.
4. The Singapore Sling ala “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”
Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro tear up the Nevada city with these and a side of mescal. This recipe omits the mescal. Combine 2 ounces London dry gin, three-quarters of an ounce Cherry Heering, half an ounce Benedictine — an herbal liqueur, half an ounce Cointreau, 2 ounces pineapple juice, 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice, a dash or two of grenadine, one dash Angostura bitters with ice and shake. Strain into an ice-filled tall glass and add a splash of soda water. Garnishes range from mint to cherries to orange wedges, lemon slices and pineapple chunks. There are lots of ingredients, but it embodies Las Vegas spirit with its decadence and sass.
5. The Groundhog.
Well, technically it’s not called that, but Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day” orders sweet vermouth on the rocks with a twist over and over and over. That’s a pretty hard one to foul up, but it’s also not one that appeals to many palates. Expect a funny look from your bartender if you order one. After the first week of drinking them, it’ll seem like home.
6. An Orange Whip.
Can you just hear John Candy in “The Blues Brothers” yelling, “Who wants an Orange Whip? Orange Whip? Orange Whip? Three Orange Whips!” This one is best when blended, so grab your blender, add 1 ounce both rum and vodka, 2 ounces orange juice and 1 ounce cream. Dump in a tall glass full of ice and blend until frothy. Pour back into the glass and top with whipped cream. An orange slice is a great garnish. Just remember what Jake says: “That Night Train’s a mean wine.”
These go to the Sir Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal (the Cannibal) Lecter in “Silence of the Lambs” for his choice of a nice Chianti with a side of fava beans, and Paul Giamatti in “Sideways” for refusing to drink a ****ing Merlot and insisting on a Pinot Noir.
Tucker can be reached at (208) 848-2264 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.