Cocktails in the Movies: 15 Legendary Drinks On Screen

Movies inspire and delight us as they take us to a fantasy world that allows us to escape the realities of everyday life. Part of this fantasy world is seeing larger-than-life characters sipping on perfectly crafted cocktails. While actors may not actually be drinking alcoholic cocktails in the movies, they influence us to rediscover a longtime favorite or venture out and try something new. So, whether it’s a Cosmo, martini, or Old Fashioned, try these 15 legendary movie cocktails

1. ‘The Big Lebowski:’ White Russian

We have Jeff Bridges to thank for this cult classic. From his iconic sweater to his laidback attitude, there is something about this lovable character that resonates with people. The White Russian, The Dude’s drink of choice, saw a rise in popularity following the rise in fandom for The Big Lebowski. It has become one of the most famous cocktails in the movies thanks to its repeated appearance throughout the film.  

  • 1 ⅔ oz Vodka
  • ⅔ oz Coffee liqueur
  • 1 oz Fresh cream

Fill an old fashioned glass with ice and pour vodka and coffee liqueur. Float the fresh cream on top and slowly stir. 

2. ‘The Great Gatsby:’ Mint Julep

The mint julep makes more of an appearance in the book The Great Gatsby than in either of the movie adaptations. This refreshing drink symbolizes Daisy’s fresh desire for Jay Gatsby. Despite the abundance of alcohol and champagne available, her preference for a mint julep stands out. It was once thought that the drink would bring good health and enhance the drinker’s quality of life. 

  • 1 Teaspoon powdered sugar
  • 2 oz Bourbon whiskey
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 4 Mint leaves

Gently muddle the mint leaves with the water and sugar in a highball glass. Then fill the glass with ice. Add the bourbon and stir well until everything is blended. Garnish the drink with a mint sprig. 

3. ‘Casablanca:’ French 75

Despite having a release date of 1942, the movie Casablanca has only gained more popularity as the decades passed. Watching the film, you will see the French 75 ordered several times throughout the movie. The cocktail is a reflection of the times. Its name comes from the name of a French field gun that was used during WWII fighting against the Nazis. This is one of the cocktails that may have fallen out of favor but is still a delightful way of experiencing Hollywood cinema history. 

  • 1 oz Gin
  • ½ oz Lemon juice
  • 2 Dashes of simple syrup
  • 2 oz Champagne

Use a shaker filled with ice to combine the simple syrup, lemon juice, and gin. Vigorously shake until blended and strain into an iced champagne flute. Pour in champagne until the glass is filled, and gently stir. 

4. ‘Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas:’ Singapore Sling

The Singapore Sling is a drink crafted in 1915 as an alcoholic beverage that was acceptable for women to drink in public. It’s a bright pink hue thanks to the mix of fresh yellow pineapple juice and the bright red color of grenadine. In a movie full of violence, alcohol, and general hedonism, it would make sense that the Singapore sling makes an appearance. It may have started as a women’s drink, but these cocktails pack a serious alcoholic punch. 

  • 1 Dash Angostura bitters
  • 1 oz Gin
  • ½ oz Fresh lime Juice
  • ½ oz Cherry brandy
  • ⅓ oz Grenadine
  • ¼ oz Cointreau
  • ¼ oz DOM Benedictine
  • 4 oz Pineapple juice  

Use a shaker with ice and add all ingredients. Vigorously shake and strain into a highball glass. Add a tropical feel by garnishing with a slice of pineapple and a cherry. 

5. ‘Cocktail:’ Red Eye 

We have the movie Cocktail to thank for this unique drink. Quite frankly, it is disgusting. In the movie, we watch Doug Coughlin craft this stomach-churning concoction while speaking with Brian Flanagan. He proclaims that it is the cure-all for hangovers. We will take his word for it, as we aren’t brave enough to give this one a go. However, if you are brave enough, here is the recipe. 

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 12 oz Beer
  • 6 oz Tomato juice
  • 1 Egg white
  • 1 Egg yolk

Add all ingredients to a highball glass. Do not stir. 

6. ‘James Bond:’ Vodka Martini

You can know nothing about James Bond and never see any of the movies and still know “Shaken, not stirred.” The martini appears in almost all of the Bond films, especially the older films. However, if you ask the experts, shaking is not ideal, and you produce a better drink by stirring. This brings out the vermouth’s floral, herbal, and slightly bitter flavors

  • ½ oz Dry vermouth
  • 3 oz Vodka

Use a shaker filled with ice to blend ingredients. Strain the cocktail into a cold martini glass. Finish by squeezing the oil from a lemon peel over the drink and garnishing with an olive or lemon peel. 

7. ‘James Bond: Casino Royale:’ Vesper Martini

The vesper martini is a drink invented by the mind behind James Bond, Ian Fleming, in the book Casino Royale. So, of course, it would make an appearance in the movie. The drink gets its name from fictional double agent Vesper Lynd. Unlike many of the other cocktails on this list, Bond explicitly explains to the bartender how to make a vesper martini. While the originally named ingredients are no longer available, you can make a pleasing alternative to this movie cocktail

  • ½ oz Vodka
  • ¼ oz Lillet Blonde
  • 2 oz Gin

You need a shaker filled with ice and will add all ingredients. Shake vigorously to blend and chill. Then strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon peel. 

8. ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood:’ Bloody Mary

The Bloody Mary is a uniquely savory cocktail with tomato juice as its primary ingredient. It’s even garnished with a vegetable, celery, instead of fruit. In Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the Bloody Mary helps set the stage for the rest of the movie. This movie cocktail proudly stands front and center in a hurricane glass, with an oversized stalk of celery extending comically above the glass. 

  • 1 ½ oz Vodka
  • ½ oz Lemon juice
  • 3 oz tomato juice
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Tabasco
  • Worcestershire Sauce 

While the movie Bloody Mary is in a hurricane glass, you can use a highball glass with ice and add all ingredients. Stir gently to combine. A traditional garnish is a celery stalk or lemon wedge. However, modern variations of these cocktails get more creative with the garnish. 

9. ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood:’ Whiskey Sour

Leonardo di Caprio is a Hollywood legend, so seeing him rage about having downed “eight goddamn f******* Whiskey Sours” makes a memorable impression. This cocktail may not be complex to make, but the flavor profile is. This is a drink for someone with sophisticated tastes who will appreciate the blend of caramel, vanilla, and citrus. If the egg white sounds unappealing, feel free to leave it out. 

  • 1 ½ oz Bourbon whiskey
  • 1 dash egg white
  • 1 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • ½ oz Gomme syrup

Add all of the cocktail’s ingredients to a shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. Rim an old fashioned glass with sugar and add ice. Strain liquid into a glass and garnish with a lemon rind, cherry, and orange slice.

10. ‘Sex and the City:’ Cosmopolitan

These four sexy ladies once ruled New York and our TV screens. So much so that the series was turned into two movies. As they made their way to the silver screen, they brought along their drink of choice, the cosmopolitan. The drink was the perfect embodiment of the ladies. A delicate pink color that had the perfect balance of sweet and sour. 

  • 1 ½ oz Vodka Citron
  • 1 oz Cranberry juice
  • ½ oz Cointreau
  • ½ oz Fresh lime juice

Start with a cocktail shaker that you will fill with ice and add all of the ingredients. Shake well and double-strain the liquid into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge or lime wheel. 

11. ‘Meet the Parents:’ Tom Collins 

We all laughed along as Robert De Niro’s character Jack made Greg Focker’s life challenging throughout the Meet the Parents movies. Jack’s drink of choice throughout the movie is a Tom Collins. Which also happens to be De Niro’s alias in the movie Casino

  • 1 ½ oz Old Tom Gin
  • 1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ oz sugar syrup
  • 2 oz carbonated water 

Start with a Collins or highball glass with ice and add the sugar syrup, lemon juice, and gin. Top off the glass with soda water. Garnish with a lemon slice and cherry. 

12. ‘The Godfather Part II:’ Banana Daiquiri

The Godfather movies are epic in Hollywood history for their storytelling and cinematography. The banana daiquiri scene is a minor one but also poignant. Watching the exchange between brothers Fredo and Michael Corleone in a Havana cafe, you see the complex relationship between these two characters. Don’t let the frilly nature of this tropical movie cocktail deter you. 

  • 1 large banana, sliced
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 cups ice
  • 2 ounces white rum

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a daiquiri glass. Garnish with a lime, banana slice, or cherry. 

13. ‘The Irishman:’ Vodka Watermelon 

You get Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci together, and you are sure to have a fantastic movie on your hands. The Irishman doesn’t disappoint as it tells the story of Jimmy Hoffa and organized crime. In one funny scene, the men think they are being sneaky as they enjoy a vodka-soaked watermelon. However, they are obviously drunk as they eagerly eat piece after piece. 

  • 1 Whole watermelon
  • 1 Bottle of vodka 

For maximum absorbency and filtration, use a meat injector to slowly inject the vodka into the watermelon. Go slow and rest between injections. Add vodka until it begins to dribble out of the holes. Let rest for 24 to 48 hours for even distribution. Then slice and serve on a rimmed baking sheet. 

14. ‘Cruel Intentions:’ Long Island Iced Tea

“This sure doesn’t taste like an iced tea.” are the famous last words that got Selma Blair’s Cecille Caldwell into trouble. She isn’t the only one to fall victim to this surprisingly strong drink. It may be called iced tea, but the drink has no tea. Instead, it is one of those cocktails with a staggering amount of alcohol. Drink with caution. 

  • 1 oz Gomme Syrup
  • 1 oz Lemon juice
  • ½ oz Gin
  • ½ oz Tequila
  • ½ oz of Triple Sec
  • ½ oz Vodka
  • ½ oz White rum
  • Splash of Cola 

Grab a highball glass with ice and add all of the ingredients. Gently combine by stirring and garnish with a lemon spiral. 

15. ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love:’ Old Fashioned

Unlike many of the other cocktail in the movies combos on this list, the drink is legendary here, not the movie. While Crazy, Stupid, Love may have been just a blip on the romantic comedy radar, the Old Fashioned is a universal favorite. For ten seconds, we get to watch a seductive Ryan Gosling expertly craft the perfect Old Fashioned

  • 1 ½ oz Bourbon or Rye whiskey
  • 1 Sugar cube
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Few dashes of plain water

Drop a square sugar cube into the bottom of an old fashioned glass and thoroughly saturate it with bitters. Add a dash of water and muddle until the sugar dissolves and everything is blended. Fill the glass with ice and pour whiskey over the ice. Garnish with an orange slice and cherry. 

Which movie cocktail moment is your favorite? Now, armed with all this pop culture trivia about cocktails on the big screen, you’re ready to gather with friends and schedule a summer full of distillery tours with Distillery Nearby!

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