I was saddened to hear of the passing of legendary actress Olivia de Havilland (pictured right) – although, at 104, she was blessed with a very long life. Best known to most of us for her role as the saintly Melanie Wilkes in “Gone with the Wind,” she was the ideal counterpoint to the fiery and impetuous – and far from saintly – Scarlett O’ Hara. Perhaps because of her pure and unsullied nature Melanie does not merit a namesake cocktail – but Scarlett does. This tart (appropriate, right?) and fruity cocktail is perfect on a long hot summer afternoon.
2 oz. Southern Comfort
Dash of lime juice
6 oz. cranberry juice
Pour first 3 ingredients into an ice-filled shaker; shake vigorously until well-chilled.
Strain into a Collins glass and garnish with lime wedge.
It’s very appropriate that Scarlett’s cocktail uses Southern Comfort, a quintessential product of the Deep South. Created in New Orleans in 1874, this 70-proof concoction was an effort by bar owner M. W. Heron to make the harsh whiskey prevalent in those days more palatable by combining it with a secret blend of fruits and spices. It worked, and although the taste definitely is whiskey-based it is an interesting but hard to describe experience.
It’s only appropriate that Scarlett’s beau, Rhett Butler, should have his own eponymous cocktail. Though lesser known than Scarlett’s, the Rhett Butler has Southern Comfort in common. You’ll find it on the sour, rather than sweet, side.
2 oz. Southern Comfort
½ oz. lime juice
½ oz. orange Curaçao
Once again, just shake the ingredients in an ice-filled shaker and strain into a Collins glass.
Garnish with a lemon twist.
I actually like Rhett’s cocktail better, but Scarlett won an Oscar for Vivien Leigh while Clark Gable lost out to someone I never heard of – Robert Donat, for “Goodbye Mr. Chips.” Of course, Olivia de Havilland lost out as well, with the Best Supporting Actress Oscar going to the first African-American recipient, Hattie McDaniel, for her role as Mammy.
2 oz. Kahlua
2 oz. vodka
2 oz. heavy cream
Since I was pondering movie-related cocktails I wondered about other libations associated with films. Most everyone knows about James Bond’s martini, but do you recall the prominence of the White Russian in “The Big Lebowski?” After decades of obscurity and a reputation as a boring unsophisticated drink, the White Russian had a surge of popularity after the 1998 film’s release. As the beverage of choice for “The Dude,” who often inexplicably calls the drink a “Caucasian,” the movie propelled this cocktail to new heights.
Fill a rocks glass with ice. Pour Kahlua and vodka into glass. Pour heavy cream over top and serve.
This drink holds a particularly special place in my heart as it was by wife-to-be’s favorite drink when we started dating. And I don’t think she ever saw “The Big Lebowski.”
My wife and I have, however, like many of stay-at-homebodies these days, watched quite a few movies – many of them oldies that somehow we had never seen. Among them was “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” with the beautiful Audrey Hepburn. And, conveniently for me, Audrey’s character, Holly Golightly, consumes an especially tasty cocktail that can be easily made for a (socially distancing) crowd.
2 oz. cognac
1 oz. bourbon
1 oz. dark rum
1/2 oz. lemon juice
2 tsp. superfine sugar
Shake all ingredients with cracked ice in a chilled cocktail shaker, then strain into a Collins glass 2/3 full of cracked ice. Garnish with fruit – a slice of orange and a few raspberries preferred. To serve a punch bowl-full just multiply how many servings you want by the ounces in this individual recipe.
Note: Do your math before you start drinking; this is a potent drink (4 oz. of booze per serving!). And, dangerously, it goes down quite easily. You may want to “go lightly” (sorry).