Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Dude Free Pours

"How do you take your brandy? In a glass." That classic Humphrey Bogart line from "The Big Sleep" was only one of many highlights of the Classic Cocktails, Classic Films class at the Astor Center.

The title of the class immediately piqued my interest. I went on to read the details of the class and was struck by what a great idea it was, watch clips from classic films while having the cocktails you are seeing on the big screen. Straight up brilliance.

The class was given by Nora Maynard. You may know her from her columns in the blog The Kitchn, The Celluloid Pantry and Straight Up. She gave us a quick bio on her path to both film and cocktail geekdom while growing up in Ontario, Canada. Soon we had an ice gold Gibson in our hands and were enjoying an early scene from "The Thin Man". As the photo attached to this blog belies, I am no stranger to either the Thin Man movies or gin. If you have never seen "The Thin Man" and are a fan of humorous detective films and/or cocktails, it is well worth seeking out.

As the night went on, we were drinking Manhattans with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in "Some Like it Hot" and having a Sazerac with James Bond. Up to this point, we were given drinks already made. I was wondering what the array of cocktail implements were for? We got a chance to become a film noir bartender as we mixed up Ramos Gin Fizzes for the femme fatale in "The Big Sleep". This drink has a very unlikely list of ingredients and requires 5 minutes of shaking. That is not a typo, 5 minutes of shaking. The result is a thick, creamy drink with a very pleasant citrus flavor. It was thick enough to stand a straw up, the test of a good Ramos Gin Fizz.

From the world of film noir, we moved to the world of the Coen brothers with "The Big Lebowski". We, or at least I, learned that this film is based on "The Big Sleep". Seeing the films back to back, the similarities became quite apparent. Besides its film noir roots, "The Big Lebowski" had to be included because a cocktail nearly shares top billing with Jeff Bridges in this film, the White Russian. This is a very easy drink to make, one ounce vodka, one ounce coffee liqueur, and a splash of cream. As Nora was explaining the drink, she gave me the title of this blog. She said,"You can pretty much free pour this drink. The Dude free pours". I knew I had to use that line. I hope both The Dude and Nora abide.

Here's a recipe for the Ramos Gin Fizz adapted by Nora Maynard from Gary Regan:

2 ounces gin
1 ounce cream
3 drop orange flower water
1 fresh egg white
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
club soda or seltzer set aside for topping up drinks

Combine all ingredients, except club soda, in a shaker over ice. Wrap the shaker in a towel and shake for 5 minutes. The need for a towel will become apparent, the shaker gets extremely cold! It helps to have a partner to share shaking duties with. Strain into a tall glass and top up with a splash of club soda. Garnish with an orange wheel and a straw. Put on some film noirish music, make a few witty quips and enjoy!


Keithgarrick said...

Classic party drink I like this one a lot, Thanx

Portia Formento said...

sounds like fun! where was this class?

John D. said...

It was at the Astor Center in NYC. There is a link to their site under "More to whet your appetite" on this page.