“I’LL HAVE WHAT SHE’S HAVING” – CHRISTMAS MOVIE INSPIRED COCKTAILS
In the lead-up to Christmas, everything gets a little frantic. Our diaries overflow with double-booked office parties, discount shopping nights, and birthday celebrations lavish enough to quell any December baby’s fear of being overshadowed by the holidays. Take a night off from all the madness. Set your phone to silent, pull out your favourite ugly holiday sweater, and sit back with one of these Christmas classics paired with a seasonally appropriate cocktail.
Love Actually: Comfort and Cocoa
There’s been a lot of debate over whether or not Love Actually is, in fact, a Christmas movie. Allow us set the record straight: in a film with countless plotlines unfolding in various locales, the holiday season provides what experts refer to as a “setting.” It’s Storytelling 101. Since its 2003 release (yes, over a decade ago – we can’t believe it either), Love Actually has earned its spot on the holiday must-watch list thanks to heartwarming performances by Liam Neeson and Emma Thompson, a seriously catchy soundtrack, and the triumph of classic rock over a cookie-cutter boy band. As a rom com, it vacillates between implausible extremes (any scene involving an airport) and harsh realities (you know the scene – no spoilers, guys). But through it all, there’s something incredibly comforting about sharing the ups and downs of the festive period with this stellar ensemble cast.
It’s only appropriate to serve up boozy hot chocolates alongside this modern hit. Like the film, this recipe is all about comfort, with a healthy added dash of whimsy. That is, whisky…
Billy Mack’s Spiked Hot Chocolate
- Finely chop a block of 70% dark chocolate, or use your favourite cocoa powder
- Whisk together chocolate and milk over low heat
- Transfer hot chocolate to mugs, then stir in a shot of bourbon or orange liqueur
- Top with plenty of whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and a flamed orange twist
The Muppet Christmas Carol: Dickensian Drinks
Some have claimed that The Muppet Christmas Carol is the most accurate cinematic depiction of Charles Dickens’ classic tale. Apart from the muppets. And the songs. And Michael Caine’s accent… Nevertheless, it’s a mighty fine production. The Great Gonzo stars as Dickens, reciting from the original text without missing a beat. Kermit the Frog’s portrayal of Bob Cratchit (opposite Miss Piggy as Emily) challenges even the Scroogiest of viewers not to shed a tear. But it’s the standout partnership of Statler and Waldorf as Jacob and Robert Marley that really steals the show.
With surprisingly impressive production value, The Muppet Christmas Carol will take you back to Victorian London quicker than a TARDIS. Get in the spirit by sipping a cocktail from the era, reputedly enjoyed by Dickens himself while visiting New York.
Gonzo’s Gin Sling
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice
- Add equal parts lemon juice, bitters, simple syrup and sweet vermouth, plus 1½ parts gin
- Shake and strain into a tall glass filled with ice
- Top with soda water, garnish with fresh cranberries and a twist of lemon
Home Alone 2: Manhattan Style
If nothing else, Home Alone 2 proves that New York City does Christmas pretty damn well. Kevin McCallister’s solo romp through Manhattan is equal parts epic and farce, resulting in a sequel that’s arguably better than the original. Along the way, we’re shown some of New York’s most iconic sights, including Central Park and the former World Trade Centre. And if you haven’t booked your tickets home for Christmas yet, we expect you’ll be working on it by the closing credits…
Naturally, you’d have to watch this one with a Manhattan. And let’s be honest – it’s the sort of drink you’d order when, like Kevin, you’re just playing at being more mature.
Kevin’s Classic Manhattan
- Fill a martini glass with ice to chill, then set aside
- Fill a tall glass or cocktail shaker with ice, then add two parts rye (or bourbon) to one part sweet vermouth, plus a dash of bitters
- Stir carefully, then empty the martini glass
- Strain the cocktail into the chilled glass
When Harry Met Sally: His and Hers
You already know the story: Meg Ryan stars as fussy Sally, a serial monogamist with an unusual fondness for sandwiches, opposite Billy Crystal’s misanthropic Harry. In an age before the almost-relationship, they confront the question of whether or not men and women can ever be “just friends,” offering up some of the most classic lines in modern cinema along the way. It all culminates in a New Year’s Eve scene that’ll leave you teary-eyed, if not a little wistful.
Naturally, you’ll join the pair in ringing in the New Year with a champagne cocktail. But will you go for the low maintenance option – or would you rather have what she’s having?
Harry’s Black Velvet
- Fill a champagne flute halfway with stout
- Top with bubbly
Sally’s Elderflower Fizz
- Lightly muddle a few fresh mint leaves in a champagne flute
- Fill glass ¼ with elderflower liqueur and a further ¼ with gin
- Top with sparkling wine and garnish with a twist of lemon
Some Like it Hot: Cider with Sparkle
Though it’s not technically a holiday film, Some Like it Hot is one of those classics we always switch on around this time of year. Hey, we might be dreaming of a white Christmas, but with January comes chilly days and colder nights. In the face of the winter blues, laughter is the best medicine, and it’s a guarantee when you’re watching Marilyn Monroe frolick around Florida with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, both in drag while on the run from the mob.
This screwball comedy may start out in Prohibition-era Chicago, but Sugar, “Josephine” and “Daphne” find their fair share of forbidden fizz. Dress up your favourite flavour of Bulmers with this seasonal punch recipe.
Bulmers Winter Punch
- Brew 2 pints of spiced winter tea and set aside to cool
- Muddle a handful of citrus peel with a few spoonfuls of sugar in a punch bowl
- Add the tea, along with two chilled bottles of Bulmers (Original or Pear recommended)
- Gently stir, adding half a pint of bourbon (optional)
- Garnish with a few fresh slices of citrus
Lindsay Burgess is a freelance editor/personal trainer, classic film buff and Canadian expat based in London. You can follow her @lindsburge.