Hollywood Inspired Cocktail Recipes

Bring some Hollywood-style glamour to your occasion with these 9 easy to make Hollywood inspired cocktail recipes.

THE FRENCH CONCOCTION

THE FRENCH CONNECTION (1971) DIRECTED BY WILLIAM FRIEDKIN

Based on a real-life, late-sixties case in which two New York City police officers brought down an immense overseas heroin ring, this movie—the first R-rated flick to win Best Pic at the Oscars—was shot so fast, loose, and dirty, portions of it practically play out like a documentary. Famously, French featured a porkpie-wearing Gene Hackman in what many consider to be the craftiest (and subsequently most-imitated) car chase ever caught on pre-Steadicam film. Calm your jitters with a Marseilles twist on a throwback concoction that was first smuggled into the states from Harry’s New York Bar—in France.

1½ ounces gin
½ ounce lemon juice
½ ounce pastis
3 ounces Champagne
Lemon twist, for garnish

Combine the gin, lemon juice, and pastis in a shaker with ice. Shake well, strain into a flute, and top with Champagne. Garnish with the lemon twist—and find out how to say “delicious” in French.

 

DIRTY HARRY MARTINI

DIRTY HARRY (1971) DIRECTED BY DON SIEGEL

I’ve got to ask you one question: “Do you feel lucky?” Well, do ya—drunk?! Though pretty much every star from Frank Sinatra to Paul Newman to John Wayne was offered a chance to do Harry’s dirty deeds, Clint Eastwood eventually landed the role as the Bay Area, .44 Magnum–wielding vigilante copper. Inspired by the real-life Zodiac serial killer case (turned into its own nail-biter of a film in 2007), Harry proved popular enough to launch four additional movies. Our extra-dirty martini will likely inspire your own repeat visits—at least to the bar.

3 ounces gin

¾ ounce pickle juice

¼ ounce dry vermouth

If Eastwood can do all his own stunts, you can make your own martini. Combine all the ingredients with ice in a shaker and shake well. Double-strain into a cocktail glass.

TAXI SCREW-DRIVER

TAXI DRIVER (1976) DIRECTED BY MARTIN SCORSESE

Buckle up for a frightening film that won innumerable accolades (though, curiously, no Oscars) and permanently placed De Niro and Scorsese at the top of the list of Hollywood’s toughest talents. Tracing the downward spiral of Travis Bickle, whose career behind the wheel is a far cry from his days in Vietnam, Taxi Driver also brought a thirteen-year-old Jodie Foster to prominence. Not to be out-acted by his middle-school costar, De Niro was so “method,” he reportedly got his cab license in his spare time—when he wasn’t improvising one of the most quoted pieces of dialogue ever—“You talkin’ to me?” This rough ride inspires a blood(y)-orange take on a classic cocktail.

1 ounce vodka

1 ounce gin

6 ounces blood orange juice

Blood orange wedge, for garnish

Hide your car keys, pour the vodka and gin over ice in a highball glass, and top with the blood orange juice. Give it a quick stir and garnish with the wedge of blood orange.

BONNIE AND MUDSLIDE

BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967) DIRECTED BY ARTHUR PENN

Based on a pair of real-life bank robbers, Bonnie and Clyde brought a taste for bloodbaths (and a surge in beret sales) to mainstream masses, in spite of a squeamish studio that initially tried burying its own film. Though critics were divided over the movie’s unprecedented gore and guts, audiences came out in droves to see Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty shoot ’em up in style. Our Mudslide mash-up proves that two indelible ingredients are even more dangerous when combined.

2 ounces vodka

2 ounces Kahlúa

1 ounce whole milk

Espresso bean, for garnish

Pour the vodka and Kahlúa over ice in a rocks glass. Slowly add the milk and stir to combine ingredients. Float an espresso bean on top to finish with a bang!

WAIT UNTIL DARK AND STORMY

WAIT UNTIL DARK (1967) DIRECTED BY TERENCE YOUNG

Adapted from a smash Broadway play, Wait Until Dark remains creepy (if slightly creaky) fun even today. The film stars Audrey Hepburn as a recently blind, recently wed downtown dame, whose husband is just trying to do a stranger a favor when he provides safe harbor for her baby doll—which, by the way, ends up being stuffed with heroin. (Hey, we’ve all been there.) When a gang of goons tracks the doll down to Hepburn’s home, she outsmarts them in a fiery showdown that left audiences in the dark (legend has it theater-owners across America even switched off the overheads to heighten the impact). Get lit with our take on a quintessential cocktail that’s so simple, you could make it with your eyes shut.

2 ounces spiced rum or dark rum (whichever you grab in the dark)

½ ounce lemon (or lime) juice

Ginger beer (or ginger ale), to fill

Pour the rum and lemon juice over ice in a highball glass and fill to the top with the ginger beer. Now hit the lights and get down to business.

THE MARASCHINO CANDIDATE

THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962) DIRECTED BY JOHN FRANKENHEIMER

A Cold War–era hit big enough to inspire a modern remake (starring Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep), the original Candidate concerns a Korean War hero (and Medal of Honor recipient) who becomes unwittingly entangled in a presidential assassination. Not only groundbreaking as the first film to cast black actors in roles for which race was never specified, Manchurian also has Angela Lansbury smooching her son in a performance so cunning, she had to head to Broadway for a few years before anyone in Hollywood would consider her for less sinister roles. With a wink to costar Frank Sinatra’s famous eyes, one sip of our blue brainwasher and you’ll be ensnared in cherry-picked plots you never saw coming.

1 ounce gin

1 ounce lime juice

1 ounce maraschino cherry liqueur (like Luxardo)

½ ounce simple syrup (page 25)

½ ounce blue curaçao

Maraschino cherry, for garnish

Combine all the liquid ingredients with ice in a shaker. Shake well, strain into a highball glass over fresh ice, and top with the maraschino cherry. Talk about hypnotizing!

REAR WINO

REAR WINDOW (1954) DIRECTED BY ALFRED HITCHCOCK

Imagine being stuck indoors for over a month. In a heat wave. In a wheelchair. Without WiFi! And now you’ve got the setup to what’s often hailed as one of Hitchcock’s finest (and friskiest) films. James Stewart is the handsome invalid here, passing the weeks by spying on a colorful cross section of courtyard neighbors—till one of them begins acting a bit suspicious, and our hero’s voyeurism threatens to turn him into the next murder victim. (Thank goodness Grace Kelly helps save the day, in style.) Next time you’re housebound in the summer, stir up some suspense the old-fashioned way: by cracking open a window and slamming down our white-wine spritzer.

4 ounces white wine

2 ounces Prosecco

1 ounce elderflower liqueur

Pour all the ingredients over ice in a wine glass and give it a swirl. You’ll definitely be seeing things.

BOURBON COWBOY

URBAN COWBOY (1980) DIRECTED BY JAMES BRIDGES

Picture Saturday Night Fever with mechanical bulls instead of disco balls, and you’ve got this oddball ode to working hard and drinking harder. A post-Grease (and still-hot) John Travolta stars as Bud, a Texas country bumpkin who moves to Houston to make a little money—and a lot of trouble. When Bud falls hard for honky-tonk regular and certifiable spitfire Sissy (Debra Winger, in a breakout performance), he ends up losing her over the sexist semantics of mechanical bull riding—which inspires Bud to ride the rump himself. Giddyup for our refined, big-city twist on a down-South classic.

4 basil leaves, divided

2 dashes Angostura bitters

2 ounces bourbon

1¼ ounces iced tea, sweetened to taste

½ ounce lemon juice

Muddle 3 basil leaves and the bitters in a shaker. Add the remaining ingredients and ice, and shake well. Strain into a julep cup (or a rocks glass) filled with freshly shaved ice and garnish with a basil leaf. Don’t drink and ride.

BEN-HURRICANE

BEN-HUR (1959) DIRECTED BY WILLIAM WYLER

Hope your sofa’s comfy! Clocking in at a little over three and a half hours, Ben-Hur is the tale of a fictional Jewish prince (Charlton “NRA” Heston) who, along with his family, is wrongly imprisoned and sent to the Roman galleys. After inspirational encounters with local celebrity Jesus Christ, Ben-Hur eventually gets his chance to exact revenge on the former friend who sent him to jail in the first place, culminating in the legendary chariot-racing scene that’s still gripping today—not to mention brimming with homoerotic undertones. (Gore Vidal was one of the uncredited screenwriters.) Prepare to be a slave to our epic, passion-of-the-fruit cocktail that should help this movie speed by.

                     2 ounces light rum

                     2 ounces dark rum

                     2 ounces passion fruit juice

                     1 ounce orange juice

                     ½ ounce lime juice

                     ½ ounce lemon juice

                     ½ ounce grenadine syrup (page 24)

                     Lemon wedge, for garnish

                     Lime wedge, for garnish

                     Orange wedge, for garnish

                     Cherry, for garnish

Move over, holy water—this drink is biblical. Pour the two rums into a Collins glass with ice. Add the remaining juices, pour the grenadine over top, and stir. Garnish with the fruits.

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