Photo: LeNell Smothers
In 1930, gorgeous Greta Garbo spoke this famous line: "Gimme a whiskey. Ginger ale on the side. And don't be stingy, baby." We love the fact that one of the first talkie films mentions the makings of a whiskey highball.
Sipping Champagne is made even more fun when you dip a potato chip in it. (Thanks, Ms. Monroe, for that suggestion in The Seven Year Itch). However, we prefer a sugar cube and some bitters and maybe some brandy in our bubbly. In the 1942 flick Casablanca, head waiter Carl serves up more than one Champagne cocktail in Rick Blaine's Café Americain bar. We can't ensure that those cocktails won the film's three Oscars, but they sure didn't hurt any.
In 1942 Bette Davis as Charlotte Vale allows a gentleman to order her a bourbon old-fashioned, in the film Now, Voyager. Later as she sports a sparkly evening gown at a party, another gentleman offers her the choice between martinis or old fashioned's. We love a dame who can handle her whiskey and earn an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
There's no more famous drink on film than the martini. Nick and Nora in the 1934 film The Thin Man are perhaps the most famous martini-drinking couple ever. The film gained four Oscar nominations.
In 1935, Clark Gable and Constance Bennett discuss business and flirt over after-hours dry martinis with one olive in After Office Hours. Although not her line, Mae West did cowrite the script for the Oscar-nominated 1937 film, Every Day's a Holiday, in which character Larmadou Graves suggests, "You ought to get out of those wet clothes and into a dry martini." Of course, the most famous martini line of all is James Bond, with his medium-dry martini with lemon-peel garnish, shaken not stirred.
Just make sure you have the antidote to the poison before drinking a martini with Indiana Jones. Remember that deadly martini in the Oscar-winning 1984 Temple of Doom adventure? See? Cocktails in modern flicks are often just not as sexy as they were in days of old.
Alabama-born LeNell Smothers defines herself first and foremost as a bartender, but she's been called many things -- most recently, the proprietress of Casa Cóctel with partner Demián Camacho Santa Ana. She's owned her own whiskey label, called Red Hook Rye, and has been recognized by her home state as an honorary Colonel. Other interests include gin, sin and men.