Editor’s Note: Today The Next Ten Words kicks off our coverage of Oscar Week with a favorite tradition carried over from past work together. Kate Pehrson shares with you her suggestions for the cocktails most appropriate for the fans of each Oscar nominated film. In the coming days, Kate and her movie watching partner Liv Tollefson will give you their takes (plural because they won’t always agree) on who will win and who should win in the categories of Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Director and Best Film. For now, mix yourself up your favorite concoction and enjoy Kate’s unique view of the cinematic world from behind her bar.
Walk into the bar like you’re the president of the board of directors. Because you are. Walk to the private meeting room in the back. Sit down and order a drink. While you listen to the rest of the board members mansplain their way through the agenda, deliberately fiddle with your reading glasses and slowly sip your way through your beverage. When they finally address you, expecting that you’ll vote the way they have so diligently, patiently and condescendingly explained, tell them you’ve already made a decision on the matter. In fact, you signed the papers this morning, the details of which should be in the evening edition. Get up, take your briefcase and walk out in your impeccably tailored suit. Leave them to pay the bill.
DRINK: Hard Eight (for 8 Oscar statues)
1½ parts dark rum; ½ part lime juice; 2 dashes bitters; ginger beer.
Build the first three ingredients over ice in a Collins glass. Fill with ginger beer. Stir and serve.
Call Me by Your Name
Step outside in your Ray-bans and shorts, carrying your boom box pre-loaded with your favorite mix tape. Grab a lounge chair from under the apricot tree and pull it out into the sun, next to the pool. Turn on the tape player. Light a cigarette. Close your eyes and listen to the music. Soon, footsteps approach, and you hear another chair scrape across the gravel and grass and stop next to you. You feel a body as it moves and positions itself. The sun is warm, flies buzz by, and the sound of the fountain can be heard just below the melody of the music. You feel a warm, gentle finger stroke yours, just for a moment. A sweet and secret acknowledgement of connection and contentment. Your heart beats faster for just a moment, and a sweet thrill of happy rushes up your spine, and a smile cracks, unbidden but welcome. The music keeps playing “…Love my way, it’s a new road…” And for once, you are not waiting, just waiting, for summer to end.
DRINK: Apricot Crush
1 1/2 oz apricot brandy; 1/2 oz white rum; 1 oz orange juice; 1/2 oz. lemon juice
Shake and strain into champagne coupe filled with crushed ice.
The Shape of Water
It’s late at night during your shift at the Four Seasons downtown. You’ve taken away all the room service trays on the 15th floor and cleaned out the vomit from the Honeymoon Suite. The bloodstains in the Presidential Rooms were particularly irritating…not to mention the severed fingers. But whatever – all part of the job, right? Anyway, it’s time for your 2:15 am meal break. The infinity pool on the 37th floor is officially closed, but clearly, someone is ignoring the rules. Intrigued, you decide to sit down on the edge of the hot tub for your usual egg salad sandwich, popping a little classic jazz album onto your portable LP player that you keep in your cleaning cart. You’ll just see what happens. After a few minutes, a webbed appendage reaches out of the water and takes half of your sandwich. A few minutes later, a pair of large, wet, black eyes on a perfectly formed smooth head emerges, perched on top of a gilled neck. Walking slowly towards you, swaggering out of the graded zero-depth end of the pool, he emerges. Your Don Juan de Atlantis is sculpted, finned, gilled, buff, cut as fuck, and smooth as a Ken-doll’s ass. I mean smooth. Like, everywhere. Okay, well, nobody’s perfect.
DRINK: Swamp Water
2 parts green Chartreuse; 4 parts pineapple juice; 2 splashes lime juice.
Build over ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake for 10-15 seconds. Strain into martini glass and garnish with lime slice.
It’s morning at 10 Downing Street. Sit up and slide your feet into your slippers. Grunt your way into your robe, and shuffle toward the water closet. Call for your secretary, valet and your assistant. Shut the door. Sit down on the commode. As they slide the morning editions under the door, grunt, mumble and light up your cigar from last night. Flush and yell out instructions for your secretary to grab her typewriter. Shuffle over to the tub and slowly ease your way into the water, pulling over the small table from the corner. Pour gin from the decanter into your martini glass. Tell your valet to fetch a bottle of vermouth. When he returns and opens the door, look at him disapprovingly over your glasses and cigar, grunt and send him away. Take another puff from your cigar, and then lay it on the side of the tub. When your secretary returns with the typewriter, begin dictating: “Good morning, your highness. It is with deepest regret that I…” The phone rings. You hear your assistant’s soles tapping their way determinedly up the stairs and towards your bath. Dammit. The American president always seems to know when the water has finally reached the perfect temperature. Tell him you’ll call him back. You’re busy. Take another sip. Read another headline. Grunt disapprovingly.
DRINK: The Churchill Martini
2 oz Gin; Sweet Vermouth (Optional); Olive (Optional)
Pour chilled gin into chilled glass. Drink.
Ladybird, you’re the QB, okay? You’re gonna drop back behind and to the left of your Mom, who thinks she’s still the QB, okay? Then your best friend and you are gonna rush towards the two guys in the corner, then drop back, then rush again. College applications are gonna be spiraled toward you by Mom, and you’re gonna fake throwing her the community college app back, but you’re gonna surprise her by rushing the line with an Ivy league app tucked under your arm. For your very first tackle, I want you to tackle the water boy on the opposing side, but he’s going to pretend he’s never been tackled before. Mom might pull a holding on you in the middle of the play, but Dad will cover for you if he can. If we can make it through this first run, and the assistant coach doesn’t break down in tears again, we might have a chance. Don’t forget to keep hydrated, and before you leave, Ladybird, the Sister would like to see you in her office. Something about her car. OKAY. 17 or 18, 2003, HUT!
DRINK: Too Pink Lady
1 1/2 oz gin; 3/4 oz applejack; 1/4 oz lemon juice; 1-2 dashes grenadine; 1 egg white; Garnish: Maraschino cherry
Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake for 10-15 seconds. Strain into chilled martini or coupe. Garnish with cherry.
Below you is the ocean. Long stretches of dark grey-blue Atlantic waves. Just a handful of miles, really, from home to where you’re headed. But those miles are some of the longest you’ve flown. Down there, the explosions are muffled and chaotic and cold and wet. Voices and yelling are heard for just a microsecond before the water drowns all sound and sense.
Ahead of you are the beaches of Normandy. Long stretches of sand and shoreline, lined up from here to way over there with men in long lines, waiting for deliverance. There, the explosions are punctuated with the rat-a-tat of gunfire and the bite of sand and shrapnel that ricochet up with each shell that hits.
Above you is blue sky, riddled with clouds and sun, and eventually also the enemy that you know is coming. Your helmet and gear drown out most sound, but the drone of your engine and the occasional firing of your gun towards him, or him towards yours.
Some of the lads will be met at home with cheers and beers. You keep your mind on this and your eye on the horizon as your altimeter slowly descends and you glide towards an uncertain rendezvous.
DRINK: Aviator Fuel
1 part vodka; 1 part lemonade; 1 part lemon-lime soda (Sprite, 7-up, etc).
Pour over ice and serve.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Put on your best coveralls, boots and scowl. Get in the car and drive to the bar. Get out of the car and walk over to the folks having a cigarette outside the door. Join them for a minute, just half a cigarette. Before you go inside, kick them all in the crotch. Walk inside and order a beer. When the guy on the stool next to you starts lipping off, grab the paring knife next to the lemons and stab it into his fingernail. Finish your beer. When the server gives you a dirty look, kick her in the crotch. Next, drive over to the greenhouse and buy a couple planters of geraniums and mixed filler plants. When the cashier suggests that salvia might be prettier, throw a ceramic bird figurine at her head. Drive back towards home, stopping just before your driveway at the “Keep Out Assholes” signs that have marked your family’s homestead for generations. The geranium planters will perk them up nicely. Go inside and whip up some Molotov cocktails. The night ain’t over yet and you’ve got some more crotches to kick.
DRINK: A Dixon Thing
1 part Amaretto; 1 part Sloe Gin
Shake over ice. Pour into a Martini glass.
You take your usual seat in the corner booth. Impeccably dressed in your dinner jacket, your signature secret message that you always sew into your garments is poking out from the neckline: “100% cotton. Made in Pakistan”. You begin to sketch on a napkin. You take your tape measure out of your inner pocket and begin to measure the table. Nice broad flat top, slim legs. It’s so nice they’ve left a pristine square of white poly-blend on the table for you. They always do. But they can stop wrapping the silverware in it. Take your scissors out of your side pocket and begin to cut, ever so precisely. Fold, snip. Fold Snip. Fold. Snip. “What a lovely banner of mannequin dolls you’ve cut out!” Sister says. “They look just like the ones mommy used to make.” Cry. The waitress returns with your order – one martini, one champagne, basted eggs, bacon, toast, bangers, mash, shepherd’s pie, scones, cream, jam, Cornish pasty, Welsh rarebit, Scotch egg, Irish Soda bread, cucumber sandwiches, pot-de-Creme, and fresh foraged wild mushrooms. Sautéed. Start with the mushrooms, they’re to die for.
DRINK: House (of Woodcock) Old-Fashioned
3 dashes Angostura bitters
3 dashes Orange bitters
1/4 oz Demerara syrup
1 1/2 oz cognac
1 1/2 oz amber rum
Combine. Stir over a block of ice. Garnish with orange and lemon twists.
It’s just you and the bartender. She’s staring at you. She’ll mix you a little drink. She keeps staring. Do you mind if she asks you a few personal questions? She just keeps staring, though. Man, how long is she going to stir that drink? It’s been like, two minutes? Actually, that’s really irritating. And she’s still staring. She is just stirring that drink harder and the scraping sound is really getting annoying. She’s just staring at you, and stirring and scraping and stirring. Staring and scraping and stirring. It’s time to go. You get up from your barstool and two guys grab you from behind and try to duct tape you to the bar. The lady just wants to make you a drink, huh pal? You kick the guy on the left in the knees, and Jackie-Chan back fist the guy on the right. Then you pick up an ashtray, lean across the bar and bash the bartender in her temple. Grab your phone and text for an Uber. Give this place a shitty Yelp review. This bar has just lost a customer.
DRINK: White Girlfriend
1/2 oz Vodka ; 1 oz Coffee Liqueur ; 1 oz Irish Cream ; 6 oz Milk
Pour Bailey’s irish cream, Kahlua coffee liqueur and vodka over ice in a parfait glass. Fill with milk or cream. Stir and Serve. (Silver spoon and fancy teacup optional).
Kate Pehrson is an occasional contributor to the Next Ten Words, who mostly reflects on the state of the world through her deep love of film and cinema. Follow More of Kate’s philosophical musings at @K8Pehrson
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