Hollywood’s love affair with cocktails has led to dozens of drinks becoming immortalised into contemporary culture through their starring roles on the silver screen.
From James Bond’s dry martini (shaken, not stuirred) to the Big Lebowski’s laid-back take on the White Russian, and from Marilyn Monroe glugging Manhattans from a hot water bottle in Some Like it Hot, to the sassy Sex in the City ladies sipping Cosmopolitans as they debate love, life and… shoes, the big screen and booze have always gone together like, well, a gin and tonic.
Here are five of our top movie moments where gin cocktails star alongside our favourite actors.
Gin at the Movies #1: ‘Casablanca’
“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.” Is there a more well-known line in movie history than that uttered by Humphrey Bogart in ‘Casablanca’?
While Bogey’s character, Rick, drinks bourbon, the gin-and-champagne French 75 is the cocktail of preference for his ex-fling, the sad, conflicted Yvonne, and her Nazi ‘friend’.
So, pay homage to one of the most beautiful gin-steeped moments in cinematic legend, and mix yourself a French 75 as you settle down to watch this classic of the silver screen. We dare you not to cry as Yvonne sings the French anthem, La Marseillaise, tears streaming down her cheeks. Hint: you’re going to need tissues. Lots of tissues.
Gin at the movies #2: ‘Casino Royale’
Such is the power of James Bond’s appeal that, back in 2015, The Independent reported that ever since Daniel Craig changed the traditional on-screen drink of choice of the world’s most famous spy to a Vesper Martini, sales of gin in the UK had been climbing steadily. Coincidence? Perhaps, but there’s no doubting the fact that Mr Bond’s favourite tipple has inspired many a tux-wearing chap to order this beautiful gin-based drink.
First introduced in the novel of the same name back in 1953, the Vesper Martini is requested simply by Bond with a curt: “Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?” Got it!
Of course, Bond’s previous drink of choice on screen had famously been a dry martini, “shaken, not stirred”. While we hate to object to anything the gorgeous Mr Bond might say, it’s commonly agreed among bartenders that a martini is, in fact, better stirred - not shaken! Here’s our recipe for a classic martini done the right way (sorry, James!).
Gin at the movies #3: ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’
Audrey Hepburn’s party-girl persona in the movie adaption of Truman Capote’s classic novel doesn’t restrict herself to martinis: there’s Mississippi Punch, warm bourbon, and champagne before breakfast, too. What a gal.
In the original novel, though, Holly Golightly’s drink of choice is actually a “White Angel”; this suitably bold and quirky concoction constitutes “one-half vodka, one-half gin, no vermouth”. So, yes, technically we’re cheating a bit with this one in that this appears in the novel, but we think Holly would forgive us. She was never one for the rules.
Gin at the movies #4: The Great Gatsby
It’s a movie that’s awash with booze; barely a scene goes by when you see a character without an elegant coupette or highball in hand. Here, we’re focussing on the Gin Rickey - a delightfully simple combination of lime, gin and soda - which is one of only two cocktails to be mentioned by name in the book, where these refreshing drinks are consumed “in long, greedy swallows”.
The good news? You don’t need to have Gatsby’s millions to enjoy this at home - it’s quick, easy and affordable to mix up yourself! The perfect tipple for adding a little Jazz-Age glamour to a warm summer evening.
Gin at the movies #5: Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas
“Twenty-four hours ago we were sitting in the Pogo Lounge of the Beverly Heights Hotel - in the patio section of course - drinking Singapore Slings with mezcal on the side”. While we can’t recommend you go quite as far as writer Hunter S Thompson did (memorably interpreted on-screen by Johnny Depp in the movie adaptation of the book), we do love his choice of poolside cocktail!
A Singapore Sling is easy to create at home; we’re aiming for more of the elegant early 19th-century vibe, when the drink was invented, over the psychedelic ‘70s road trip, though.
Looking for more gin cocktail inspiration? Check out our cocktail hub!