Long before The Dude sipped on White Russians at the bowling alley bar, our other favorite heroes and heroines of Hollywood had trademark boozy beverages of their own. And because we so revere actors for their style and panache, it has often been these films that catapulted their chosen drinks—some bubbly, some dry, some with a single lemon twist—to popularity. To help you channel a touch of cinematic magic the next time you imbibe, we rounded up eight iconic sips with the silver-screen stamp of approval. Read on, and drink responsibly.
Nick and Nora Charles of The Thin Man are probably the first, and most famous, duo of drinkers, with a beverage in hand in every other scene. The Bronx is essentially a traditional martini of gin and vermouth with orange juice added in, shaken to a two-step time, as Nick suggests. The drink was ranked third in “The World’s 10 Most Famous Cocktails in 1934,” likely thanks to the comedic mystery starring Myrna Loy and William Powell.
Though Carrie Bradshaw’s drink of choice has a long history (a version with gin may date to the 1930s), it wasn’t until the ’90s and early 2000s that it became truly popular. It will likely be forever tied to the image of a group of girlfriends out on the town for drink.
Dating back to World War I, the French 75 is said to have received its name because the drink had such a kick that it felt like being hit with the powerful French 75mm field gun. Around since the 1920s, the French 75 was popularized in America in the 1940s thanks to Casablanca—and Humphrey Bogart’s and Ingrid Bergman’s irresistible stylishness.
The Gibson makes a famous cameo appearance in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 classic, North by Northwest, in which an ad exec (Cary Grant) finds himself flirting on a train car with a beautiful woman (Eva Marie Saint). The Gibson actually has a storied Hollywood history, first enjoyed by Bette Davis in All About Eve.
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One of the oldest cocktails in existence, the Manhattan dates to the early 1870s. In 1959’s Some Like It Hot, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and Marilyn Monroe use a drumstick, cymbal, and hot water bottle to stir one up while on a train. If that doesn’t seal its iconic status, nothing will.
The world of James Bond has a long history with martinis, ensured by their inclusion in the original Ian Fleming novels. In the first 007 film Hollywood ever saw, 1962’s Dr. No, it is actually the titular villain who orders the drink to be “shaken, not stirred,” but Sean Connery would soon adopt the famous words himself in 1964, thus beginning a long-standing tradition for future Bonds (including Roger Moore, pictured).
The Scotch mist got its Hollywood start in a shadowy noir film starring an always captivating Lauren Bacall opposite Humphrey Bogart. In one scene at the bar, Vivian (Bacall) pulls Philip Marlowe (Bogart) deeper into her web of intrigue. She orders a Scotch mist, little more than a Scotch on the rocks with a touch of mystery—a femme fatale’s drink of choice if we ever heard one.
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Dating to midcentury America, the White Russian did not have its iconic status until the Coen brothers’ The Big Lebowski, in which the film’s perfectly clueless and supremely chill protagonist, The Dude (Jeff Bridges), sips on one regularly. The film contains many references to the drink—we even first meet The Dude shopping for drink ingredients in the supermarket.
1 1/2 oz. vodka
3/4 oz. Kahlúa
3/4 oz. heavy cream
Shake well with cracked ice. Strain into a chilled old-fashioned glass.
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Are you a fan of any of these drinks? Tell us in the comments!