Cocktails from the Silver Screen


On July 11 the Museum of the American Cocktail teamed up with Smithsonian Associates at the National Museum of American History to celebrate “Cocktails of the Silver Screen.” Philip Greene, Cofounder of MOTAC, was joined by some of DC’s finest craft bartenders to feature memorable cocktails from classic Hollywood films.

From Left: J.P. Caceres, Tim Burt, Alex Bookless, Jamie MacBain, Jon Harris, Chantel Tseng, Jason Strich and Philip Greene.

Featured bartenders included Alex Bookless (Passenger/Columbia Room), Tim Burt (Tabard Inn), J.P. Caceres (Bourbon Steak), Jon Harris (Shaw’s Tavern), Jamie MacBain (Bourbon Steak), Jason Strich (late of Rasika), and Chantel Tseng (Tabard Inn).

The event featured four bars: The “Casablanca” Bar with Alex Bookless and Jamie MacBain serving up the bubbly classics French 75 and Champagne Cocktail, along with Cointreau liqueur. The “Thin Man” bar with Chantel Tseng and Tim Burt stirring up Gin Martinis and the Knickerbocker Cocktail. Jon Harris and JP Caceres manned the “James Bond” bar serving the Vesper (from Casino Royale), the Vodka Martini (from various Bond films, notably “Goldfinger”), and the Rum Collins (from “Thunderball”). Jason Strich and Phil Greene manned the “Movie Mixellany” bar featuring the Sazerac (“Curious Case of Benjamin Button”) and the Daiquiri (from “Our Man in Havana”). See recipes for all below.

Jon Harris mans the Bond Bar.

The event was attended by roughly 250 guests. Phil Greene presented all with a vast overview of cocktails in movies over the years including films from as far back as Charlie Chaplin’s “The Adventurer” from 1917 and “The Idle Class” from 1921. Other films covered included “Dead Reckoning” with Humphrey Bogart and Lizabeth Scott featuring the Ramos Gin Fizz. The Mae West film “Every Day’s a Holiday” (1937) featured the classic line,  “Let’s get you out of those wet clothes, and into a dry martini.”

Philip Greene gives an overview of cocktails in Hollywood.

We would like to thank the Smithsonian Associates for teaming up with MOTAC as well as the Museum of American History for providing the glamorous venue. A special thanks also goes out to our sponsors namely Depaz Rhum, Fee Brothers Bitters, Falernum and Rock Candy Syrup, Skyy Vodka, Pernod, Plymouth Gin, Hendricks Gin, Cointreau, Flor de Caña Extra Dry Rum, Lillet, Noilly Prat Vermouth, 42 Below Vodka, Beefeater 24 and Wild Turkey Rye.    MOTAC also is extremely thankful to Mionetto Prosecco for their generous donation of delicious Prosecco, which we put to great use at the Casablanca bar.

Alex Bookless at the Casablanca Bar.

Casablanca Bar (Alex Bookless and Jamie MacBain)

French 75

  • 1.5 oz Hendrick’s Gin
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 3/4 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 oz Mionetto Prosecco

Champagne Cocktail

  • 1 sugar cube, soaked in Fee Brothers Aromatic Bitters
  • 4-6 oz Mionetto Prosecco

Champagne flute, saucer or wineglass, soak sugar cube, add Champagne

Also offered, Cointreau (chilled, 2 oz servings)

Chantel Tseng and Tim Burt.

The Thin Man Bar (Chantal Tseng and Tim Burt)

Gin Martini

  • 2 oz Plymouth Gin
  • 1 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
  • Dash Fee Brothers Gin Barrel Aged Orange Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass, garnish olive

Knickerbocker Cocktail

  • 1 ½ oz Hendrick’s Gin
  • ¾ oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
  • ¼ oz Martini Sweet Vermouth

Stir with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass, garnish lemon peel

J.P. Caceres at the Bond Bar.

James Bond Bar (Jon Harris, J.P. Caceres)

Vesper Cocktail (from Casino Royale)

  • 2 ¼ oz Beefeater 24 Gin
  • ¾ oz 42 Below Vodka
  • ¾ oz Lillet Blanc
  • Lemon peel

Shake well with ice, strain into chilled cocktail or saucer-type champagne glass, garnish with lemon peel.

Vodka Martini (from various Bond films, notably Goldfinger)

  • 2 oz Skyy Vodka
  • 1 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
  • olive

Shake well with ice, strain into chilled cocktail or saucer-type champagne glass, garnish with olive.

Rum Collins (from Thunderball)

  • 1 ½ oz Depaz Rhum Agricole from Martinique
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • ¾ oz Fee Brothers Falernum
  • 2 dashes Fee Brothers Aromatic Bitters
  • Lime wheel, straw

Philip Greene serves up a classic Daiquiri.

Movie Mixellany Bar (Jason Strich, Phil Greene, Dave Lord)

Sazerac (Curious Case of Benjamin Button)

  • 2 oz Wild Turkey Rye
  • Dash simple syrup
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Dash Pernod
  • Lemon peel
  • Rocks or Old Fashioned glass

Daiquiri (Our Man in Havana)

  • 2 oz Flor de Cana light rum
  • ¾ oz simple syrup
  • ¾ oz fresh lime juice

Shake well with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass

By Matt Keller

Matt lives in Washington, DC. When he’s not contributing to his blog District Cocktail – A Drinker’s Notes in Capitol City his imbibing can be followed on Twitter @DCcocktails.


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