FYIDC: A Taste of Hollywood

Smithsonian features silver screen-inspired cocktails for one night.

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and J.P. Caceres manning the James Bond Bar at "Raise a Glass to the Cocktails of the Silver Screen” event at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. (Photo by Matt Keller)

The Vesper martini, shaken not stirred, is nearly as famous as the James Bond movies themselves, but how many people have actually had it?

After last week’s “Raise a Glass to the Cocktails of the Silver Screen” event at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, 250 Washingtonians can claim the privilege. The sold-out event, presented by New Orleans’ Museum of the American Cocktail (MOTAC), explored the role of classic cocktails in classic films as four bars recreated drinks from “Casablanca,” “James Bond,” “The Thin Man,” and others (recipes below).

“A drink should be something like a well-made dinner, [with a] good balance of ingredients and proportion,” said Philip Greene, MOTAC’s co-founder and legal counsel, during a presentation in which he described various cocktails and showed movie clips. “Our events are educational efforts — we show people how to make cocktails correctly, with fresh juices and fresh ingredients.”

Joining Greene were some of Washington’s leading bartenders: and of Tabard Inn, of the Passenger/Columbia Room, of Rasika, and of Bourbon Steak and Jon Harris of Shaw Tavern, who provided the libations.

Star bartenders J.P. Caceres, Tim Burt, Alex Bookless, Jamie Macbain, Jon Harris, Chantal Tseng, Jason Strich and Phil Greene. Photo by Matt Keller.

MOTAC celebrates 200 years of the rich history of the cocktail, with an exhibit in New Orleans and various events and seminars across the country. The museum was started by , a leading American bartender and author, and Greene, whose ancestor, Antoine Amedee Peychaud, was the New Orleans pharmacist credited with creating Peychaud’s Bitters and inventing one of the great classic cocktails, the Sazerac.

So what’s next for MOTAC? Greene is currently working on a book, “To Have and Have Another — A Hemingway Cocktail Companion,” which includes 55 recipes from Hemingway’s novels, short stories and published letters. Later this fall, MOTAC and Smithsonian Associates plan to join forces again to give Washingtonians a taste of the famed writer’s drinks.

A shot of the Thin Man Bar, offering gin martinis and Knickerbocker cocktails (Photo by Phil Greene)

Casablanca Bar (Alex Bookless and Jamie MacBain)
French 75

1 ½ oz Hendrick’s Gin
1 oz Simple syrup
¾ oz Fresh-squeezed lemon juice
4 oz Mionetto Prosecco
Ice

Add all ingredients except for the Prosecco into a cocktail shaker and shake. Strain into a Champagne flute, then top with Prosecco (or any good Champagne or sparkling wine). Garnish with lemon peel.

Champagne Cocktail

1 sugar cube, soaked in Fee Brothers Aromatic Bitters
4-6 oz Mionetto Prosecco

In a Champagne flute, saucer or wineglass, soak the sugar cube with the bitters. Fill glass with Champagne (or Prosecco or any good sparkling wine).

The Thin Man Bar (Chantal Tseng and Tim Burt)

Gin Martini

2 oz Plymouth Gin
1 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
Dash Fee Brothers Gin Barrel Aged Orange Bitters
Ice
Olive

In a pint glass, beaker, mixing glass or shaker, stir ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with olive.

Knickerbocker Cocktail

1 ½ oz Hendrick’s Gin
¾ oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
¼ oz Martini Sweet Vermouth
Ice
Lemon peel

In a pint glass, beaker, mixing glass or shaker, stir ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon peel.

James Bond Bar (Jon Harris, J.P. Caceres)

Vesper Cocktail (from “Casino Royale”)

2 ¼ oz Beefeater 24 Gin
¾ oz 42 Below Vodka
¾ oz Lillet Blanc
Lemon peel
Ice

Using a cocktail shaker, shake ingredients well with ice. Strain into chilled cocktail or saucer-type Champagne glass. Garnish with lemon peel.

Vodka Martini (from various Bond films, notably “Goldfinger”)

2 oz Skyy Vodka
1 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
Olive
Ice

Using a cocktail shaker, shake ingredients well with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail or saucer-type Champagne glass, and garnish with olive.

Rum Collins (from “Thunderball”)

1 ½ oz Depaz Rhum Agricole from Martinique
1 oz Fresh lime juice
¾ oz Fee Brothers Falernum
2 Dashes Fee Brothers Aromatic Bitters
Lime wheel, straw
Ice

Add all ingredients to a tall Collins glass filled with ice. Stir. Garnish with lime wheel and straw.

Movie Mixellany Bar (Jason Strich, Phil Greene, Dave Lord)

Sazerac (“Curious Case of Benjamin Button”)

2 oz Wild Turkey Rye
Dash simple syrup
3 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
Dash Pernod
Lemon peel
Rocks or Old Fashioned glass
Ice

Fill a rocks/Old Fashioned glass with ice, set aside. In a mixing glass, add simple syrup, rye and Peychaud’s Bitters. Stir well. Remove the ice from the rocks glass and coat inside of the glass with Pernod, absinthe or Herbsaint, removing any excess. Strain rye mixture into this glass. Add twist of lemon peel.

Daiquiri (“Our Man in Havana”)

2 oz Flor de Cana light rum
¾ oz Simple syrup
¾ oz Fresh lime juice
Ice

Using a cocktail shaker, shake ingredients well with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

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