Set ‘Em Up Joe: Classic Hollywood Cocktails

OK. So. Everyone wants to knock back knickerbockers with Nick and Nora Charles. But. Do you know how to knock back knickerbockers? More to the point, do you even know what a Knickerbocker is? Lucky for you, it’s always Happy Hour here at The Black Maria and we are happy to kick off the weekend with a collection of cocktail recipes taken from classic films. Classic film cocktail recipes are all over the interwebs, and surely could fill volumes, so this is not meant to be a comprehensive compendium– rather, here are the libations we feel guaranteed to make your weekend truly fabulous.

Please note: We’re keeping this to classic Hollywood, so The Dude’s White Russian and Bill Murray’s Sweet Vermouth on the Rocks, regretfully, didn’t make the cut. (Also: No Alaska Polar Bear Heaters … because we don’t want to kill anyone, and no Moloko Plus … for obvious reasons.)

Cheers and read responsibly.

COCKTAILS_Scarlet Street

Rum Collins (Joan Bennet, Scarlet Street)

2 parts aged Cuban rum
2 parts soda water
¾ part lemon juice
¾ part simple syrup
1 lemon wedge

Fill a shaker with ice cubes and add all ingredients. Shake and strain into a highball glass filled with ice cubes. Garnish with lemon.


Side Car (Rosalind Russell, Auntie Mame)

3/4 ounces Cointreau
3/4 ounces brandy
3/4 ounces lemon juice

In mixing glass or shaker filled with ice, combine Cointreau, brandy, and lemon juice, and shake vigorously. Wet the rim of a 3- to 4-ounce cocktail glass and place on a lightly sugared plate. Strain liquor into the glass and serve.


Victory Lemonade (Betty Hutton, The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek)

1 cup mint leaves
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups vodka

In a large bowl, muddle the mint and sugar with a pestle (or the back of a spoon), then add the water, lemon juice, and vodka. Chill several hours in the fridge. Strain into a pitcher and serve over ice garnished with mint sprigs and/or lemon. (This recipe via The Celluloid Pantry!)



Bourbon Old Fashioned (Bette Davis and Paul Henreid, Now, Voyager)

4 dashes Angostura bitters
2 sugar cubes
1 orange wheel
1 maraschino cherry
1 splash club soda
2 oz bourbon

In an Old Fashioned glass, muddle the bitters, sugar, orange wheel, cherry and a splash of soda. Remove the orange rind, add the bourbon and fill with ice. Garnish with a fresh orange wheel and cherry.


The Gibson (Bette Davis, All About Eve)

2 1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
1 or 3 cocktail onions for garnish

Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes and stir well, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cocktail onion.


Brandy Alexander (Carole Lombard, No More Orchids)

1 ounce brandy
1 ounce dark crème de cacao
1 ounce heavy cream
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Shake the brandy, crème de cacao, and cream with ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a pinch of nutmeg.



Pink Champagne Cocktail (Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer, Love Affair/Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant, An Affair to Remember)

1 sugar cube
Angostura bitters
Pink Champagne, chilled
Lemon or orange twist, for garnish

Soak the sugar cube in Angostura bitters and drop into a champagne flute. Top with a luxury champagne or a sparkling wine. Garnish with a lemon or orange twist.


Classic Highball (Cary Grant, The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer)

2 ounces whiskey
Ginger ale

Fill a highball glass with ice. Pour the whiskey into the glass. Top with ginger ale.


Whiskey Sour (Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell, The Seven Year Itch)

2 ounces whiskey
1 ounce sweet and sour mix

Pour whiskey and sweet and sour over ice cubes in an old fashioned class.


Sazerac (Katharine Hepburn, State of the Union)

1 sugar cube
2 dashes of bitters
2 oz. rye whiskey
2 dashes absinthe or Pernod
1 Lemon curl

Chill an old-fashioned glass by filling it with ice and letting it sit while preparing the rest of the drink. In a separate mixing glass, muddle the simple syrup and Peychaud bitters together. Add the rye whiskey and ice to the bitters mixture and stir. Discard the ice in the chilled glass and rinse it with absinthe by pouring a small amount into the glass, swirling it around and discarding the liquid. Strain the whiskey mixture from the mixing glass into the old fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.



COCKTAILS_Guys and Dolls

Dulce de Leche (Jean Simmons, Guys and Dolls)

1 ounce Bacardi rum
1/2 ounce Dark Godiva Liqueur (or other dark chocolate liqueur)
1/2 ounce sweetened condensed milk

Pinch of ground cinnamon and shaved chocolate for garnish. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with a pinch of cinnamon and chocolate shavings on top.


The Knickerbocker (William Powell and Myrna Loy, The Thin Man)

2 ounces gin
Large dash dry vermouth
Small dash sweet vermouth

Add the gin and both vermouths to a mixing glass filled with ice. Once well mixed, strain into a frosted martini glass. (This recipe via Mystery Readers Inc.)


The Bronx Cocktail (William Powell and Myrna Loya, The Thin Man)

1 1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz sweet vermouth
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1 oz orange juice Shake well (to a two-step time, as Nick suggests).

Strain and garnish with orange peel. (This recipe via Mystery Readers Inc.)


The Pink Lady (Cary Grant and Constance Bennett, Topper)

1 1/2 oz. gin (London dry)
1/2 oz. applejack
Juice of half a lemon
1 egg white
2 dashes grenadine
cherry (for garnish)

Pour the egg white, grenadine syrup, half-and-half, and gin into a cocktail shaker over ice. Cover, and shake like crazy until the outside of the shaker has frosted. Strain into a chilled glass to serve. Shake vigorously with ice, strain into a chilled glass and garnish.


Horse’s Neck (Fred Astaire, Top Hat)

2 oz Bourbon, brandy or American rye whiskey
Ginger ale
3 dashes Angostura bitters

Add the whiskey to a Collins glass filled with ice. Fill with ginger ale and garnish with a long strip of lemon peel. Add the Angostura bitters and stir well.

James Bond Martini

The James Bond Martini (Sean Connery, Dr. No.)

3 measures of Gordon’s Gin
1 measure of vodka
1/2 measure Kina Lillet
Lemon peel for garnish

Pour the gin, vodka and Lillet blanc into a cocktail shaker half-filled with cracked ice. Shake well, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon, and serve. (This recipe is taken directly from the pages of Ian Fleming’s novel.)


Manhattan (Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon, Some Like it Hot)

2 parts whiskey
1 part sweet vermouth
2 dashes of bitters
Maraschino cherries
Oragnge peel (optional)

Place ice in a cocktail shaker, and add the whiskey, vermouth and bitters. Rub the orange peel around the rim of the cocktail glass. Strain the drink into the glass. Add 1 to 2 Real Maraschino Cherries.


White Angel (Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s)

1 ounce Bombay Sapphire Gin
2 ounces Ketel One vodka

Shake over ice for 10 seconds, strain into cocktail glass. (Recipe courtesy Zimm’s Martini and Wine Bar)


Stinger (Katharine Hepburn, The Philadelphia Story)

1 3/4 ounces brandy
3/4 ounce white creme de menthe
Pour the ingredients into an old-fashioned glass with crushed ice.
Stir well.

You can also shake the ingredients with ice cubes and strained into a chilled cocktail glass.



French 75 (Medeleine LeBeau, Casablanca)

1 lemon
1 1/2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1 cup ice cubes
2 ounces dry sparkling wine (such as brut Champagne), chilled

In cocktail shaker, combine gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Add ice and shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Strain into chilled Champagne flute and top with sparkling wine. Curl lemon peel around finger to create twist at least 6 inches long. Garnish drink with twist and serve immediately.


The Gimlet (Elliot Gould, The Long Goodbye)

2 oz. gin
1 oz. Rose’s Lime Juice
Lime wedge

Pour gin and lime juice into a mixing glass filled with ice cubes. Stir well. Strain into a chilled cocktail or old fasshioned glass. Garnish with lime wedge.  (This recipe courtesy Mystery Readers Inc.)


Hot Toddy (Paul Newman, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof)

2 tablespoons bourbon
1 tablespoon mild honey
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup boiling-hot water

Pour bourbon, honey, and lemon juice in a 6-ounce mug. Top off with hot water and stir until honey is dissolved.

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