Booze and the movies go way back. From the self-medicating part-time hooker heroine of 1931′s “Safe in Hell” — a highlight of 2013′s Turner Classic Movies Festival — to the lovable dipsomaniacs of “The Thin Man” and “Harvey” and on into more recent times with such frequently soused superheros as James Bond and Tony Stark, the movies have glamorized alcohol. When the movies wanted to, they could make habitual drunkenness charming, funny, and, of course, sexy.
While the movies once celebrated cigarette smoking as well, modern day Hollywood Boulevard makes it tricky for smokers to indulge in their passion, give or take some hookah bars and a medical marijuana “clinic.” Booze, however can be obtained with great ease. All you need is plenty of ready cash to afford the inflated prices or a clean credit card or two and you can have your fill of cocktails.
And that’s exactly what I did between classic, near classic, and merely really interesting movies the weekend of the 2013 TCM Fest. What follows is a (relatively) brief journal of the drinks I found going up and down the boulevard we call Hollywood the final weekend of April.
Now, I should add that this listing is my no means exhaustive and is, with one exception, limited to cocktails one can purchase on Hollywood Boulevard proper, no side streets allowed. They can all be obtained within a fairly easy walk of Sid Grauman’s old Chinese and Egyptian Theaters and the legendary Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the heart of Hollywood and the home base of the TCM Fest.
And so we begin our journey across the street from the Egyptian at what is still Los Angeles’s most famous bar.
When you’re stocking your home bar, you always want to make sure you have the staples like vodka and bourbon, but you definitely want to offer your guests some unique spirits as well, particularly with the exploding popularity of unique cocktails.
One item to consider is KAPPA Pisco, produced by the Marnier Lapostolle family that is best known for its Grand Marnier Cognac. Pisco is like Cognac in that it’s a spirit made from the double distillation of wine. However, unlike Cognac which must be aged in oak, Chilean Pisco can be either aged or unaged in oak. KAPPA is the unaged variety that results in a delicious white spirit that offers an excellent option when mixing cocktails. It’s definitely unique and the beautiful bottle from renowned designer Ora-Ito will look great on any bar.
The grapes for KAPPA Pisco are sourced from the Elqui Valley in Chile which boasts 300 days of sunshine a year and fresh water from the Andes Mountains.
You can use KAPPA Pisco for all sorts of cocktails, and you can find tons of great drink recipes on their website. Cinco de Mayo is behind us, but margaritas are always popular. Here’s a recipe for what they call the “South American Margarita.”
1.5 oz KAPPA Pisco
0.5 oz Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
0.5 oz agave nectar
1 oz fresh lime juice
Shaken, strained over fresh ice into rocks glass, garnish lime wheel.
Give KAPPA Pisco a try and you just might find a new staple for your home bar or something to order when you go out.
We love celebrating the Kentucky Derby, and one critical component has to be enjoying a Mint Julep which is the drink you’ll see everywhere during Derby weekend.
Here’s a great recipe:
1.5 oz. Bulleit Rye
2 oz. Stirrings Simple Syrup
Fresh mint leaves
Preparation: Muddle mint leaves, Stirrings Simple Syrup and crushed ice in rocks glass. Add Bulleit Rye and fill glass with ice. Pour into cocktail shaker, shake vigorously and serve in rocks glass with fresh mint garnish.
Of course, a big part of Derby weekend is betting on the race, and the folks at Bulleit teamed up with professional handicapper Tony Gold to give us six tips on picking a Derby winner:
1. Peaking performance: The most important rule of all is to find the horse that will peak in the Derby meaning, look for horses who improved with each race with either a strong first, second or third finish after a long layoff, with more room to improve. You can eliminate half the field simply by doing this.
2. Age factor: If the horse is two years old and hasn’t raced, the chances of it winning are slim. These are not fully mature horses and getting to a mile and a quarter requires much conditioning.
3. Time comparison: Log resulting times from each horse’s last prep race with the rest of the board.
4. Prep race outcomes: Look at what prep races historically produce the most winners.
5. Jockey experience: Consider the jockey’s skill set from previous races. The derby is a large field and a good experienced jockey can position a horse well early and avoid trouble, which can make or a break a horse’s chances.
6. Tactical speed: A Derby winner will jump early and can be found somewhere from mid-field to the second or third place by halfway around the course.
Of course, your girlfriend might do better just picking based on a cool name, but that’s what makes this race so much fun. Enjoy!
When you look at this photo, you can’t help but think about partying on Cinco de Mayo. If you love partying like we do, you definitely love this holiday, and this drink can definitely add to the festivities.
The CoronaRita is a fun twist on the Cinco de Mayo standard, the Margarita, so it will definitely get some attention. Here’s the recipe:
• 6 parts Corona or Corona Light
• 1 part Tequila
• 2 parts Margaritaville® Margarita Mix
• 1 part Triple Sec
• 1 Lime Wedge
Method: In a cocktail shaker, pour the first three ingredients (please do not pour beer in the shaker). Shake vigorously until ice cold. Strain into tall glass with 1/3 ice. Top with Corona beer.
So check it out and have a fun and safe Cinco de Mayo!
After trying Thor last year, we had the opportunity to check out the latest release for Highland Park’s Valhalla Collection, a set of four unique whiskies taking inspiration from the Nordic gods of old.
Loki is a 15-year old single malt Scotch that will definitely grab your attention. This creation is not for the faint of heart, as it was inspired by the “unpredictable, shape-shifting Loki character.” This Scotch was matured in both Spanish cherry casks along with heavily peated casks, so the result is a whisky with a very smoky punch. The taste is very complex and whisky aficionados will definitely want to try this one out.
It comes in the spectacular packaging you can see in the photo above, so this makes for a great gift idea with Father’s Day coming up. It’s not cheap at $249 but for the right dad Loki can help you mark a memorable Father’s Day.
So it’s the last weekend before Christmas, so it’s time to get serious about getting gifts.
We’re always fans about giving booze gifts, and if you’re buying for women in particular, you can’t go wrong with flavored vodka. Van Gogh has tons of great flavors, and we recently tried their delicious Dutch Caramel Vodka. Trust us – this stuff will bring a smile to her face. Even better, take some to the next holiday party you go to and you’re guaranteed to be a big hit.
While you’re at it, learn to make the cocktail picture above.
HOT CARAMEL BUTTERED RUM
3 oz Ron Abuelo Añejo rum
1 oz Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka
1/4 stick Unsalted Butter, softened
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp Honey
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
Combine all ingredients (excluding rum and vodka) into a hot drinking cup or mug. Mix together with a spoon then add Ron Abuelo Añejo and Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka. Pour in hot water (1 cup or more to personal taste) and stir vigorously until the mixture has dissolved. Garnish with cinnamon stick.
We also stumbled onto this thread from Reddit with guys listing lame gift ideas for men. Here’s one of the better comments:
Older guy here. I welcome and appreciate all gifts, but really I don’t need another mug. Here’s the proper tip: don’t buy him a mug, buy him the liquids that go in the mug. Want to spend $5-10? A nice craft beer would be highly appreciated. $10-15? A pound of good coffee. Want to go over the top and spend $35-75? Buy the guy a damned bottle of Scotch.
We couldn’t agree more, which is why we include some booze suggestions every year.
Hopefully you’ve been invited to some holiday parties this year, and if you’re looking for an interesting bottle to bring as a gift, you should definitely try the new, limited-edition Kahlúa Gingerbread. It’s also a great addition for your home bar.
Kahlúa Gingerbread “combines distinctive notes of gingerbread, nutmeg and subtle cinnamon and clove with the rich flavors of Kahlúa, which is made from 100% Arabica coffee beans and sugarcane spirit, grown side by side in the mountains of Veracruz.” Sounds interesting – right? Well we tried it and it tastes great. If you like regular Kahlúa you’ll probably like this one as well. You can serve it neat, on the rocks, or mixed into cocktails and coffee drinks. Women usually love it so keep it in mind if you’re looking for gift ideas.
Here’s a cocktail recipe you can try::
Kahlúa Cookie Martini
½ part Kahlúa Gingerbread
1 ½ parts Absolut® Vodka Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and enjoy.
As an additional note, the good folks at Kahlúa wanted to let you know that they have teamed up with One Warm Coat to help keep people warm this holiday season. One Warm Coat is a charitable organization that helps support coat drives across the U.S. and Kahlúa is giving them a boost this holiday season with its “Share the Warmth” campaign.
Each person who visits this page on Facebook and clicks the “Share the Warmth” button on the page will trigger a $1 donation from Kahlúa to One Warm Coat, with a maximum goal of up to $100,000. Funds will be used by One Warm Coat to help support their efforts in the promotion of local coat drives and in giving back to communities across the country. Check it out!
Derek Waters’ “Drunk History” is one of the strangest, funniest, most absurd concepts in web series history. Playing on the inherent comedy of drunken incompetence and memory loss, each of the series’ six episodes takes a different comedic actor or writer, puts way too much booze in them, and then follows their muddled, profane accounts of important historical events. The episodes then cut between these slurred, rambling monologues and dramatic reenactments of the events, featuring famous actors such as Jack Black, Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel. The genius of these reenactments is how closely the actors follow the exact words of the inebriated nonsense that forms the basis of their script, lip-syncing the dialogue perfectly right down to the inadvertent sniffles and hiccups of the actual speaker.
The first episode features Mark Gagliardi recounting the story of Alexander Hamilton’s famous duel with Aaron Burr after drinking a bottle of Scotch. Though it is unclear how large the bottle was, it was clearly quite a bit of liquor, as he spends most of his segment reclined on a couch with a bucket nearby, just in case. Hamilton is played by a suitably innocent-looking Michael Cera in the reenactment, but the real show-stealer is Jake Johnson in a brilliantly shifty-eyed performance as the loathsome Aaron Burr. In episode 2, Eric Falconer takes on the famous story of Benjamin Franklin‘s discovery of electricity, expounding upon his theory that it was actually Franklin’s “bastard son,” William (Clark Duke), who actually flew the legendary kite with the key tied to it. This is also the series’ first instance of vomiting in the midst of the storytelling, but not its last, so be warned that the series is not for the weak-stomached. Jack Black portrays Franklin again in a special volume 2.5 episode, in which Falconer tells a hilarious tale of Franklin’s sexual deviance.
These are the only official episodes of the series (plus a very special Christmas episode included below), so beware of the unofficial knockoffs, most of which are pretty terrible. In fact, the one I linked to there is pretty much the only one that’s watchable, and it’s still nowhere near as good as the real thing. In addition to the recognizable stars, look for Waters’ name and also that of series director Jeremy Konner to avoid being duped.
With the Fourth of July coming up this week, it’s a good idea to prepare some summer cocktails for you and your guests at the cookout. The good folks at Van Gogh Vodka sent us some samples with their new vodka flavors to try out with some great drink recipes.
Our favorite by far was the Patriot Cooler made with Van Gogh’s new Cool Peach vodka with naturally infused peach flavor. This is one of over 20 flavored vodkas produced by Van Gogh. First we tried it on the rocks and it was delicious, and then we tried the drink recipe:
Mixologist: The Cocktail Guru Jonathan Pogash
1 1/2 oz. Van Gogh Cool Peach Vodka
1 oz. Pomegranate juice
2 oz. Ginger Ale or Ginger Beer
Directions: Build all ingredients over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.
It’s a tasty and perfectly refreshing cocktail that will be a hit at any cookout or get together.
We then tried the PB&J flavor (that’s peanut butter and jelly), and frankly this one wasn’t nearly as good. Basically, PB&J is better off staying in the lunchbox and away from vodka. But that’s just our opinion. Hopefully next time we can try the chocolate flavor pictured below!