From Casablanca to Madmen, Hollywood to Netflix, several decades have since passed where movies and television have influenced what types of cocktails folks are drinking.
However, you can’t watch decades of movies to memorize the recipe. Luckily for you, you don’t have to! Our instructors have compiled a list of the cocktails that are famous from movies and tv so you can have your guests feeling like they’re walking down the red carpet.
Famous Cocktails from Movies and Television
The Red Eye
You know I had to start the list off with the cocktail called Cocktail, right? Especially where the movie is all about a baby bartender who uses his new flair skill to pay for college.
Yup, it was Tom Cruise who got us to know and love the Red Eye, which many of my peer bartenders have prescribed as a sort of hangover elixir. Is it tomato juice, beer, or raw egg behind the secret cure-all drink? The world may never know… except for Tom Cruise.
- 1 bottle of lager (High Life, if you’re going for the true recipe)
- 3 ounces tomato juice (aka Bloody Mary Mix)
- 1000 milligrams aspirin
- 1 whole egg
- Dash of hot sauce
- Pint of salt and pepper
- Build the drink into a tall glass and serve with no ice.
- Grace and Frankie
The Vodka Martini
Sure, the vodka martini was around before Netflix debuted Grace and Frankie. But no one has ever quite consumed one like Grace Hanson.
- 1.5 ounce vodka
- .166 (or ⅙) ounce dry vermouth
- Lemon twist
- Green olive
- Fill your mixing glass full of ice, then add your ingredients. Stir, strain, and serve in a martini glass. Use a lemon twist and green olive for garnish.
- Casino Royale
I’d like to imagine that classical characters always drink a classic cocktail. Sometimes I’m right, and sometimes I’m wrong. This time, though, I’m right.
It’s Bond, James Bond, who likes the next classic movie cocktail recipe—a vodka “Vesper” martini.
- 3 ounces gin (Gordon’s only, per Mr. Bond himself.)
- 1 ounce vodka
- 1/2 ounce Lillet blanc aperitif
- Lemon twist, garnish
- Add ingredients into a mixer glass and stir. Strain into a serving glass. But before, express oil from the lemon twist and rub on the rim eventually dropping it into the glass.
Pro Tip: Substitute the Lillet Blanc for Kina L’Avion d’Or! We’ve found it to be close to the original Kina Lillet.
- The Big Lebowski
The “Dude” Lebowski is a character in the movie and we got to see him be played by Jeff Bridges
It was the Dude himself who fancied himself a White Russian. That’s a combination of vodka, coffee liqueur, and light cream, the White Russian.
Usually, we recommend that you do, shake those ingredients and serve over fresh rock. Feeling super fancy? Add some cream. “But the Dude would just stir it with his finger.”
Nothing makes your guest feel fancier than a French 75 in their hand. It’s a bubbly champagne drink that screams a fancy dinner party. Jokes on the drinker, though. This cult-classic cocktail derived its name from a World War II gun, you guessed it, a French 75-millimeter.
- .5 ounce lemon juice
- 1 ounce gin
- .5 ounce Cointreau orange liqueur
- In a flute, combine all ingredients, except for champagne. Top with champagne, garnish with a lemon twist and serve.
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Singapore Sling with Mezcal on the Side
Mezcal is a type of tequila, as some of you may know. But what you might not know is that this drink, Singapore Sling with Mezcal on the Side, will quickly knock your guests being a blend of Benedictine, cherry brandy, and gin. You guessed it–all of that serviced with a Mezcal chaser.
Here’s a fun quote from the movie you can pull out when serving, too:
“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, hiding from the brutish realities of this foul year of Our Lord…”
- Groundhog Day
Sweet Vermouth on the Rocks with a Twist
Bill Murray, let’s admit it, needed something to get him through repeating the same day over and over again. For his character, Phil Connors, it was Sweet Vermouth on the Rocks with a Lemon Twist.
- Mad Men
Welp, turns out I’m much more like a corporate man than I’d once thought. I, too, like my Old Fashioned the way Don Draper does—a maraschino cherry, sugar, angostura bitters, club soda, and an orange peel.
- 2 ounces Woodford Reserve Bourbon
- 3–5 dashes of Angostura bitters
- 2–3 dashes of Regan’s No. 6 orange bitters
- 1 bar spoon rich demerara syrup
- Hand-cut ice
- Lemon peel
- Orange peel
- Build drink in a mixing glass and stir to dilute
- Pour over fresh ice into a service piece.
- Twist lemon and orange peel over the drink and drop them in before serving.
- Meet the Parents
Robert De Niro brings a traditional overprotective dad figure near and dear to our hearts, with the help of that cute baby signing for “more”. That’s not the only thing that’s traditional about Jack (De Niro’s character)–he also enjoys a classy Tom Collins. For our Tom Collins recipe served in a highball glass, click here!
- The Blues Brothers
The Blues Brothers are memorable for many reasons. Why? Because of the mental image of this you just played in your head.
They’re like big kids. And we all know kids like their sweets. Except this time, it has alcohol. Here’s the recipe behind the Orange Whip.
- 4 oz orange juice freshly squeezed
- 1 oz rum
- 1 oz vodka
- .5 oz triple sec
- 2 oz heavy cream
- Crushed ice
- Add everything into your shaker and mix until it’s cold–20 to 30 seconds.
- Strain and serve over fresh crushed ice.
- Bonfire of the Vanities
In the movie Bonfire of the Vanities, a character, who isn’t supposed to drink due to his health, orders a Sidecar despite. In other words, this drink is so good that some folks are willing to risk their life. Dedication? We’ll let you decide…
For your wine-o regulars, this list could very well make them feel alone in their drink of choice. But they don’t need to worry and neither do you. Sideways makes our oenophiles feel right at home. This movie has reportedly made Pinot Noir the wine we know and love today.
For example, the main character replied when asked, “So why are you so into Pinots? They’re like a thing with you.”
“It’s a hard grape to grow, as you know. It’s thin-skinned, temperamental. It’s not a survivor like Cabernet that can grow anywhere and thrive even when neglected. Pinot needs constant care and attention, you know? And in fact, it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked-away corners of the world. And, only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time… to understand Pinot’s potential… can then coax it into its fullest expression.”
- Miles Raymond, an excerpt from Sideways.
That’s only something a true wine aficionado would say. So write it down and practice!
See! I promised you something for wine folks! Another wine that was helped catapulted into stardom by well… the stars!
In fact, NPR has written an entire article on how Sideways has shaped the wine industry today. Miles’ (a character in the movie) opinion had negative and positive impacts, like dramatically increasing the demand for pinot noir and decreasing any interest in Merlot until recent years.
- Lost in Translation
Bill Murray is back on our list, but with no groundhog in tow this time. Instead, he’s trying to make Suntory whiskey famous by filming ads in Japan. I think it worked! We see this brand of whiskey served all over the U.S.!
- The Queen’s Gambit
This Netflix hit was viewed and loved by over 60 million households worldwide. I’m thinking this may result in your guest ordering a Gibson Martini at your bar sometime soon. Make sure you’re ready. Write this recipe down!
- 2.5 ounces gin
- .5 ounce dry vermouth
- Cocktail onion, garnish
- Add your liquor to a glass for mixing and stir until the outside of the mixer feels cold. Stain into martini glass and garnish with a cocktail onion.
Pro Tip: If you don’t have cocktail onions, you don’t have what it takes to make a Gibson. Mentally, I’m sure you’ve got it! Physically, without an onion, it’s a martini.
Here’s a video for those of you who are more visual learners:
- 2 ounces vodka
- 2 ounces gin
- 1 ounce blue curaçao
- 1 bar spoon of grenadine
- .5 ounce citrus juice
- 1 oz club soda
- Orange slice
- Maraschino cherry
- Shake vodka, gin, curaçao, grenadine, and citrus juice together
- Pour into a hurricane glass filled with ice.
- Top with an orange slice and maraschino cherry. Umbrella, optional.
- Inherent Vice
This drink from Inherent Vice is named after a zombie because it makes you lose your mind as if your brain was decayed.
- 1.25 ounce blanco tequila
- 1.25 ounce reposado tequila
- 1.25 ounce mezcal
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice
- .75 ounce passion fruit syrup
- .5 ounce homemade grenadine syrup
- Orange wedge
- Lime, sliced and cut into wedges
- Shake tequilas with lime juice and syrups
- Pour into a hurricane glass over ice
- Top with a bamboo skewer with an orange half-slice, whole strawberry, lime slice, and lime wedge
Mixologist Mindset Tip: Want to take it to a super craft cocktail level? Make homemade grenadine and passion fruit. Make passion fruit syrup by dissolving sugar into water, removing it from heat, and letting passion fruit flesh sit in it for two hours before straining.
- The Godfather Part II
- 1 ounce white rum
- 1 ounce dark rum
- .75 ounce banana liqueur
- 1 bar spoon rich demerara syrup
- .75 ounce lime juice
- Spoonful of fresh whipped cream, optional
- Maraschino cherries, optional
- Blend ingredients with ice in blender until smooth
- Pour into a coupe or poco grande glass
- Top with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry or two (optional)
9 Bonus Drinks: They Don’t Really Exist, But We Wish They Did
The Flaming Moe
- How I Met Your Mother
Jumbo Jim’s Grape Scotch
- Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster
- The Chappelle Show
Samuel Jackson Beer
- A Clockwork Orange
- Game of Thrones
Milk of the Poppy
- Saturday Night Live
Uncle Jemima’s Down Home Pure Mash Liquor
From Bartending to Playing on the Big Screen
Some of the most well-known celebrities start off bartending, just like Tom Cruise’s character in Cocktail did. So who’s to say your route to a million-dollar mansion in Southern California doesn’t start with us?
For my bar owners, they’ll remember you for teaching them everything they need to know about the bar industry. In return, you’ll see a productive staff, more accurate pours, and maybe even a gift of gratitude when your bartenders make it to the big screen. You never know…
Bartending’s Been Great, But You’re Ready for Your Fifteen Minutes of Fame…
I get it. I also felt pretty burnt out a few times during my bartending career. But honestly, I wasn’t ready to be totally removed from it. I just need a new role. If that sounds like you, you might want to check out instructor jobs with Local Bartending School.