'Gone with the Gin'
Silver shakers and the silver screen go back a long time. Think French 75 from "Casablanca" and Agent 007's dry martinis.
So for those of you planning to drink along at home for the Feb. 28 showing of the Oscars this year, now might be a good time to get your cocktail act together. And Tim Federle, author of "Gone with the Gin," has a few ideas about that.
From The Moon-Shining — moonshine, ruby red grapefruit juice, rum, that's right, red rum — to Tequila Sunrise Boulevard (probably best not served poolside), the best-selling author has a line-up of cinematically inspired cocktails meant to be shaken, stirred and sipped with tongue planted firmly in cheek.
Bubbly as a Champagne cocktail, "Gone with the Gin" nonetheless has serious underpinnings. Federle worked with talented bartender Cody Goldstein, founder of Muddling Memories, a craft cocktail and bar consulting firm in New York. There also are useful sections on tools, techniques and even some fun food recipes.
"The approach was humorous and, yeah, they'd better taste good, too," said Federle.
This cinematic cocktail collection follows Federle's "Tequila Mockingbird," which featured literary libations. For "Gone with the Gin," Federle started by making a spreadsheet of the American Film Institute's Top 100 films. Then, he looked for cocktail-friendly titles. So "White Christmas" plus white Russian became a drink called White Russian Christmas. Then he and Goldstein looked for ways to tweak the recipes to match the movies. For the White Russian Christmas, the classic recipe — vodka, coffee liqueur and cream — got a seasonal twist of vodka, creme de menthe, coffee liqueur, eggnog and crushed candy cane for a garnish.
(And for those movie buffs for whom this particular drink conjures up only one flick, the book also contains a Big Le-Brewski, a vodka, coffee and cream of coconut concoction in honor of the white Russian loving Dude of "The Big Lebowski.")
In all, Federle serves up 50 recipes organized by genre (drama, sci-fi, etc.), and each recipe comes with a brief but informative blurb about the movie in question. And if you are a punster, the titles will be a delight. A standout: Muppets Make Manhattans. Some of the cute drink names were arrived at with the help of Federle's thousands of Twitter followers, who also voted on which proposed title for the book they liked best.
Recipes aren't just cleverly titled; they also have cunning tie-ins to the films. For example, hibiscus tea in the cocktail Boozy and the Beast echoes the roses of "Beauty and the Beast." And Citizen Grain, named for the groundbreaking "Citizen Kane," includes grain alcohol and just a touch of rose water. No promises that drinking it will help you better get to the bottom of the whole, "Rosebud ." thing, though.
Goldstein was particularly pleased with Star Wars-themed The Empire Likes Jack, which contains Jack Daniel's, ice cream and root beer. "It's basically a root beer float. You're dropping the light aspect, the vanilla ice cream, into the root beer, which is the dark side."
Some sections took more time than others. "We had a lot of days sitting and eating take-in and just going over some stuff," said Goldstein. An honest man, he admitted that was "a really good time."
Federle, who grew up in San Francisco and Pittsburgh before moving to New York to dance on Broadway as a teenager, writes in multiple genres, including young adult fiction. His current project is co-writing "Tuck Everlasting," a forthcoming Broadway musical based on the novel by Natalie Babbitt.
Like Goldstein, Federle seems happy in his work.
"Everything that got me sent to the principal's office as a kid gets me paid now," he said.
Monty Python and the Stoli Grail
Start to finish: 5 minutes
1 1/2 ounces vodka
1 ounce light rum
1 ounce coconut water
2 ounces pineapple juice
Sparkling wine, to serve
In an ice-filled cocktail shaker, combine the vodka, rum, coconut water and pineapple juice. Shake well, then strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Top with a splash of sparkling wine.(Recipe adapted from Tim Federle's "Gone with the Gin," Running Press, 2015)
The Muppets Make Manhattans
Start to finish: 5 minutes
2 ounces apple brandy
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce apple juice
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
3 dashes baked apple bitters (or orange bitters)
Green apple slice, to garnish
Bacon, to serve
In a mixing glass filled with ice, combine all ingredients except the apple. Stir well, then strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with the apple slice. Serve with a slice of bacon (with apologies to Miss Piggy).
(Recipe adapted from Tim Federle's "Gone with the Gin," Running Press, 2015)