by Tobias Steed
Published by Willow Creek Press
128 pages, 1999
Buy it online
Silver Screen Libations
Reviewed by Linda L. Richards
If the film industry didn't invent the cocktail, they sure cemented it into the culture. And with dozens of glam broads and well-tailored hunks quaffing cocktails by the gallon on the silver screen, certainly no one ever looked as good doing it as the legions of stars who made the cocktail hour look like a pretty civilized way to kill some time.
You may make the best cocktails in the world, but if you're rustling them up in a messy kitchen with loud rock music blaring in the background you might just as well be making a cup of instant coffee. For the full effect you need to set the scene, and the means soft music (jazz maybe), softer still lighting and a sofa that isn't strewn with beer cans and old newspapers.
Four drink sections pull the recipes into drinks for the appropriate time: "After Office Hours: the Cocktail Hour," "Dinner at Eight: Aperitifs & Digestifs," "From Here to Eternity: Drinks for All Occasions," and "Remember Last Night: Drinks for the Day After the Night Before." Almost every drink recipe commands a two-page spread and includes a photo from the movie that it was consumed in, a short rundown of the film in question, a quote from the movie, a short explanation of the history of the drink or its salient ingredients and, of course, a recipe for the drink itself. For instance, the recipe for a Rusty Nail appears with a photo of Ray Milland (a highball glass appropriately in hand) and Jane Wyman in a scene from Billy Wilder's The Lost Weekend (1945). While Casablanca (1942) rates two drinks: the Champagne Cocktail and the Singapore Sling.
Linda L. Richards is the editor of January Magazine. Her fourth novel, Death was the Other Woman, will be published early in 2008 by St. Martin's Minotaur.