Casablanca North by Northwest: How to Make Five Drinks That Grew Up Classic Movies
It’s not every day someone from this little corner of the world takes home a gold-plated statuette that looks like someone’s uncle Oscar, so in honor of our Ken’s remarkable achievement at the Oscars on Sunday Last night, Drinking It In went to the movies.
And what better way to mark Belfast’s success in Hollywood than by concocting a cocktail straight out of the big screen? Here’s a tray full of drink recipes whose popularity was assured after being verified in a classic movie.
Casablanca: Champagne Cocktail
Some would have you believe that the French 75 – a cocktail named after a World War I cannon and made with gin, champagne, lemon juice and sugar – is Casablanca’s most famous drink, but in the movie, it was commissioned by an oily Nazi officer who fancied his chances with Humphrey Bogart’s abandoned girlfriend, so if you prefer a freedom-loving French Resistance aperitif, try a champagne cocktail, as a commanded Paul Henreid’s Underground hero Victor Laszlo. It is also one of the oldest cocktail recipes, dating back almost 200 years.
To make two Victor’s Champagne cocktails, drizzle two sugar cubes with a quarter teaspoon of Angostura bitters poured over each. Fill two champagne flutes with 75 ml of your best champagne, put a cube in each glass and top up with a tablespoon of cognac. Gently stir everything, garnish with a strip of orange peel and enjoy.
Some like it hot: Manhattan
Speaking of sugar, how could a movie cocktail gathering ignore the classic sleeper train sleepover scene in Some Like It Hot? Sugar Kane Kowalczyk (Marilyn Monroe) is being picked up by Jack Lemmon over a bottle of bourbon in a curtained sleeping compartment when another band member enters the scene. Sugar remembers the band member has a bottle of vermouth and calls the rest of the gang. make Manhattans. “Manhattan? Jack asks exasperated, “who needs Manhattan at this time of night?”
Well, if you do, here’s how to make enough for two and never mind the rest of the group. Mix 130 ml of bourbon with 60 ml of sweet vermouth, add four dashes of Angostura bitters and two dashes of orange bitters, mix well with ice, strain into glasses and garnish with a lemon twist.
North by northwest: Gibson
Sticking with the trains, here’s how to be as suave as Cary Grant with this sophisticated take on a classic Martini. Grant, playing runaway advertising executive Roger Thornhill, orders a Gibson as he flirts with archetypal Hitchcock blonde Eva Marie Saint while dining on a sleeper train. I’m not sure he’ll ever enjoy the drink, though, as the cops board the train and Grant has to make a less than suave outing.
Either way, here’s how you can make one when the authorities aren’t prosecuting you. Mix 125ml dry gin with 25ml extra dry vermouth and plenty of ice. Pour into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with two small cocktail onions on a skewer.
The Big Sleep: Scotch Mist
It’s the perfect accompaniment to the sizzling dialogue of that grandfather of film noir, when sultry Lauren Bacall broods over a Scotch Mist as she tries to pay off private eye Philip Marlowe with $500 and a promise she’ll could hold his hand (it was 1946 after all). This is the drink every femme fatale should order.
To prepare one, fill a tumbler with crushed ice and add 60 ml of good blended whiskey. Take a slice of lemon and twist it so the juice goes into the glass, then drop the zest on it – in style, of course.
The Big Lebowski: White Russian
Which brings us nicely to the Coen Brothers’ cult reimagining of The Big Sleep, in which Bogart’s tough detective is replaced by robe-clad bowling slacker Jeffrey ‘The Dude’ Lebowski, whose favorite drink is White Russian. Unfortunately, one of them is bristling with a Mickey Finn who knocks him out.
To make one that won’t do the same (unless you have too much), mix 90ml of vodka with 40ml each of Kahlua coffee liqueur and liquid cream plus plenty of ice. Stir gently and serve.