And the Winner Is…
Bradley Cooper portrays Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, whose legendary sniper skills made him the most lethal marksman in history. But Kyle’s skill on the battlefield is tempered by his struggles to leave behind the war and become a family man again. Something clean and simple, but fortifying is called for here. A beer and a shot or just a strong pour of whiskey — personal choice allowed, of course — fits the bill.
Beer and a Shot
Any beer and any spirit. Have at it.
Set in Manhattan, “Birdman” is the study of a has-been actor, who hopes to reinvent himself on the Broadway stage. The film is as much a celebration of the theater itself, as it is the city where the story plays out. The New York Sour, whose theatrical red wine float (a “Claret Snap”) captures the eye, while the sweet to sour profile makes for a drink with a complex character.
New York Sour
- 1 1/2 oz. Whiskey
- 3/4 oz. Lemon Juice
- 1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
- 1/2 oz. Red Wine (something rich and juicy)
- Lemon Twist or Wheel, for Garnish
Preparation: Add all ingredients to an ice filled mixing glass. Shake and strain into a coupe. Top with a float of red wine.
Twelve years in the making, this story of a boy’s journey to manhood calls for a drink that combines the joys of childhood with the seriousness of the adult world. Milkshake time, but of course, with a shot of booze (sweet and warming Bourbon) for good measure.
The ‘Old Fashion’ Milkshake
Courtesy of Franklin and Co., Los Angeles
- 2 1/2 Scoops Vanilla Ice Cream
- 1 Shot Bourbon
- 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
- Pinch Orange Zest
- 2 Luxardo Cherries
Preparation: Blend all ingredients except cherries until thick. Pour into a milkshake glass or other tall glass. Top with cherries.
GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
In Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, the infinitely charming concierge Gustave H receives a painting entitled “Boy With apple” as an inheritance from a generous patron. Raise a glass to this film with a cocktail that is as green as the apple that boy holds in his hand.
Courtesy of Aaron Melendez, Pistola, Los Angeles, CA
- 1 1/2 oz. Novo Fogo Cahaça
- 1/4 oz. Velvet Falernum
- 1 oz. Cold-Pressed Green Apple Juice*
- 3/4 oz. Snap Pea Syrup*
- 3/4 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
- Dash of Soda Water
- Pinch Sea Salt
Preparation for the Snap Pea Syrup: Juice snap peas in a cold-press juicer (or regular juicer) and run juice through a fine strainer. Combine equal parts juice and baking sugar in a pot on stovetop over medium heat. Stir until all sugar dissolves. Let cool for 15 minutes and then rebottle with a funnel. Good for one week.
Preparation or the Cold-Pressed Green Apple Juice: Put green apples and a dash of lemon juice (to help reduce oxidation) through a cold-press juicer (or regular juicer) and then run through a fine strainer.
Preparation of Drink: Blend ingredients together in shaker. Stir aggressively with ice cubes until foamy. Pour into Collins glass and top with crushed ice. Garnish with apple slices and a pinch of sea salt.
THE IMITATION GAME
Would the Allies have won World War II without the breaking of the Enigma Code? We will never know, but we do know that it was in great degree due to brilliant mathematician Alan Turning that the code was broken. Let’s turn to an original cocktail created by Dale DeGroff, a man whose cocktail brilliance helped usher in the new era of Cocktaliana. The Fitzgerald is essentially a gin sour, but the inspired addition of bitters (either Angostura or DeGroff”s own) raises this cocktail to a sublime level.
Created by Dale DeGroff
- 1 1/2 oz. Dry Gin
- 3/4 oz. Lemon Juice
- 3/4 oz. Simple Syrup
- 2 Dashes Dale DeGroff’s (or Angostura) Bitters
- Lemon Wheel or Twist, for Garnish
Preparation: Add ingredients to a mixing tin filled with ice. Shake until well combined and strain into a coupe. Garnish with a lemon wheel or twist.
To win equal voting rights in 1965, Martin Luther King marched steadfastly from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. “Selma” chronicles that intense battle. While by no means trivializing King’s journey, one needs a refreshing, long drink in times of turmoil. The Alabama Slammer fits the bill, squarely on the nose.
Courtesy of Daniel Zacharczuk, Tunnel Bar, Sherman Oaks, CA
- 1 oz. Cherry-Infused Lazzaroni Amaretto
- 1/2 oz. Plymouth Sloe Gin
- 1 oz. Plantation 3 Star White Rum
- 1 oz. Orange Juice
- Dash Lime Juice
Preparation: Pour the Lazzaroni Amaretto, Plymouth Sloe Gin and Plantation 3 Star White Rum in a chilled highball glass with ice. Add orange juice and dash of lemon juice and stir well.
THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
Relationships are complex beasts. The story of physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane explores the challenges of both brilliance and physical disability. Playing on the title here, we went with a modernized version of the Long Island Iced Tea, a cocktail that literally has “everything” in it.
Long Island Iced Tea
Adapted by Dan Sabo, Ace Hotel, Los Angeles, from the original 1972 recipe by Robert Butt, Oak Beach Inn, Long Island NY. (Created for the Museum of the American Cocktail’s “Touring the Cocktail.”)
- 1/2 oz. Absolut Vodka
- 1/2 oz. Beefeater Gin
- 1/2 oz. Olmeca Altos Tequila
- 1/2 oz. Myers’s Platinum White Rum
- 1/4 oz. Cointreau
- 1/4 oz. Lemon Juice
- 1/4 oz. Lime Juice
- 1/4 oz. Simple Syrup
- Float of Coca Cola Mexicana
- Lemon Wheel, for Garnish
Preparation: Add all ingredients (except Coca Cola) to a mixing tin, add ice and shake. Strain into a highball filled with crushed ice. Float Coca Cola on top. Garnish with a lemon wheel and a straw.
The animosity between a music student and his demanding teacher plays out, literally, in “Whiplash.” The young drummer’s love of jazz calls for an equally jazzy drink. The Bee’s Knees was a staple during the Jazz Age, which despite being in the midst of Prohibition managed to keep the spirits flowing freely. Despite being a gin sour, much like the Fitzgerald above, the switch-out of honey for simple syrup, creates an utterly different drink.
- 2 oz. Dry Gin
- 3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1/2 oz. Honey Syrup (one part honey, one part water)
- Lemon Twist, for Garnish
Preparation: Place all ingredients in an ice-filled mixing tin. Fill with ice and shake. Strain into a coupe or similar cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist.