Destinations have long been immortalized by Hollywood. Exotic locations, fascinating cultures, luxurious hotels and bars are part of what makes movies glamorous. And let’s face it, we have all been awe-struck by a handsome leading man having a drink in a far-flung location, or a beautiful starlet relaxing by an iconic pool with a cool pour. It’s the stuff of dreams and the stuff which makes Hollywood great.
So in celebration of the special relationship between Hollywood, travel and drinking here is a list of five classic Hollywood-inspired cocktails paired with suggestions for a legendary tasting of your own:
French 75 – “Casablanca” – Paris, France: A torrid love affair, a fearful time in history, a few tortured souls and a swanky nightclub are just some of what make “Casablanca” a motion picture masterpiece. Recreate your own Hollywood classic with the French 75, an effervescent mix of gin, champagne, lemon juice and sugar. Said to have been first conceived at the New York Bar in Paris in 1915, the French 75 has inspired many contemporary derivatives since its inception. For those looking for the original, head to the City of Light where the New York Bar (now called Harry’s New York Bar) still stands or find the French 75 at other historic treasures like The Hemingway Bar.
Vodka Martini – James Bond Movies – London, England: Many martini purists will tell you a true martini is made with gin, not vodka, but those three words — shaken, not stirred — have transformed modern-day martini culture. A proper vodka martini, made up of vodka and dry vermouth, isn’t difficult to concoct depending on your preference of the vodka-to-vermouth ratio, but if you find yourself in London, quench your martini thirst at the world-famous ICEBAR. The ICEBAR by ICEHOTEL London has a chilly twist on the vodka martini, and it is also home to a unique, glacial-inspired setting made up entirely of ice. As London’s only year-round ice bar, you’ll be able to enjoy your vodka martini at a frosty minus five degrees Celsius no matter what the temperature is outside.
Red Eye – “Cocktail” – Tokyo, Japan: The haughty bartending skills of New York business student Brian Flanagan were centre stage in 1988′s “Cocktail”, where Tom Cruise made mixology look sexy, cool and a little reckless. But with many great cocktails comes the danger of a great hangover, and the movie’s signature cocktail Red Eye was the cure for just that. A stomach-churning mix of beer, tomato juice and egg, it might be difficult to find this beverage today (and probably for good reason). But, if you’re determined to find a perfect beer-and-tomato-juice combination, we suggest trying your luck in Tokyo where many bars have taken the “beer-cocktail” to a whole new level, like the Yankee Stadium beverage at the iconic Park Hyatt Tokyo mdes famous in “Lost in Translation”.
Old Fashioned – “Mad Men” – Louisville, Ky., United States: Before Don Draper hit the television screen, an Old Fashioned might have been something you only saw your grandfather enjoy. A sugar cube dissolved in bitters, mixed with bourbon whiskey and garnished with a cherry and orange, this classic cocktail has seen a recent revival thanks to the popularity of “Mad Men,” the television series based on the advertising industry during the 1960s. And, if whiskey bourbon is the key component of this concoction, then Kentucky is the place to get the best. Check out the Kentucky Bourbon Trail for distillery tours, or if you just want to bar hop, don’t miss the Urban Bourbon Trail where you can visit the best bars and restaurants in Louisville.
Cosmopolitan – “Sex and the City” – San Francisco, Calif., United States: The origin of the Cosmopolitan is difficult to trace, but there’s no doubt that its popularity skyrocketed thanks to its status as the beverage of choice for “Sex and the City” girls Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda. And while New York City seems the perfect place to indulge in this sweet and citrusy cocktail, most signs point to San Francisco as being the first city to put it on the map. There are also accounts of the cocktail being invented in Miami, but it’s rumored that San Francisco elevated the elements from overly sweet to a fresh, light and slightly tangy version — but we’ll let you be the judge of that.
As you can see there’s no need to live vicariously through movie stars. Follow these recipes, invite a few of your own A-lister friends over and enjoy the good life. We can’t make you famous but we can help you drink like you were… even if only for one night.
Enjoy and feel free to send us your own, Hollywood-inspired drink recipes so that we can share them with our community.