Culture Wine & Food

    The Gentlemen (2019)

    Six film and cocktail pairings to liven up your nights in

    15 April 2020

    Killing Eve – Season 3 Premiers April 13th, all episodes BBC iPlayer

    While on assignment in Tuscany Jodie Comber’s Villanelle takes time out before a hit to really enjoy the local cheese and some good Italian tomatoes. She’s also loves a good ice cream, appreciates home cooking, and when Sandra Oh’s Eve pokes around her Paris flat we find her fridge stacked with Champagne. What Villanelle proves is that doing murders for a living doesn’t mean you have to lose sight of the finer things in life.

    Watch with vodka, lime and ginger

    In choosing a cocktail to accompany the season 3 premiere, vodka makes a logical starting point. Russian mainstays like Stolichnaya or Beluga would be fitting but something with a bit of texture like Belvedere’s single estate rye vodka is best for cocktails. Make a syrup by grating a thumb sized piece of ginger (a big thumb if you like heat) and steeping it in 200ml of freshly boiled water then stir in an equal volume of sugar. Let your syrup stand for an hour-or-so then strain it out. Combine 25ml of vodka, 25ml lime juice, and 15ml of ginger syrup in a highball glass with ice and top with brut Champagne. Then enjoy your Moscow Royale while you watch everyone’s favourite Russo-Liverpudlian snack and murder people.

    Bottle it up and your ginger syrup will keep for a week in the fridge. You can always use a sparkling wine other than Champagne but make sure it’s dry, prosecco will likely be too sweet.

    Emma – Available now on Amazon

    Autumn de Wilde’s adaptation of the Jane Austen classic has been rushed to on-demand given the current state of lockdown. Sure you’ve seen this story staged before, but Anna Taylor-Joy is totally watchable as our heroine and Bill Nighy does a great Mr. Woodhouse so it’s all well worth a look. Whether your watching party extends to dressing up or not is your own business but a bit of period appropriate drinking will definitely help get you in the mood for some regency-era satire.

    Watch with rum punch

    While the partying in Emma is all quite gentile, the drink of choice for rowdy gatherings of the upper crust back then was rum punch. Break out those American style measuring cups you use for baking and build your punch by combining 1 cup strong black tea, 1 cup cloudy apple juice, ½ a cup of sugar, ½ a cup of lemon or lime juice, and 2 cups of aged rum. Add a few slugs of aromatic bitters, tweak the quantities to your own taste and chill down in the fridge. Serve over ice with a grating of nutmeg.

    Jamaican rums like Appleton or Smith & Cross will work well. Go easy though, Punch had a reputation in the day for being dangerous stuff and if you hammer through it too quickly you’ll find out why.

    Peaky Blinders – Season 5 on Netflix April 22nd (watch season 1-4 now)

    The programme that launched a thousand haircuts. Sure the storylines have gotten a bit far-fetched but the adventures of the violent and well-dressed Shelby clan are still totally engrossing. This is due in no small part to the direction remains dynamite and Cillian Murphy is the sort of actor who could read a takeaway menu and make it sound like Beckett. Plus, in the latest instalments he fights known fascist and actual historical shit Oswald Mosley. Well worth raising a glass to.

    Watch with a whiskey sour

    The later episodes of Peaky Blinders take place in the 1920s, just as cocktails are starting to resemble their modern selves. At the opening of season 4 we find Tommy Shelby taking a whiskey sour at his Birmingham hotel/base of operations. This drink would’ve been the height of sophistication at the time, making it just the thing to accompany your marathon re-watch. American whiskey is more usual in a sour these days but Irish feels more fitting here. Shake 50ml whiskey, 25ml lemon juice, and a tablespoon of softened honey with a dash of egg white and strain over ice.

    Teeling small batch will make a lovely, tropical tasting sour but Bushmills or John Jameson will do the job just fine.

    The Mandalorian – Streaming now Disney +

    The space western better known as The Adventures of Baby Yoda has finally arrived in the UK. Werner Herzog plays a mysterious villain with a crazy voice, Pedro Pascal’s titular Mandalorian is moody and gruff but probably has a heart of gold under his space armour, and have you seen that Baby Yoda? Adorable!

    Watch with a Mezcal Margarita

    Classic western drinks pairing rules apply even given the galactic setting so Bourbon or Agave are the order of the day. A smoky Mezcal Margarita will provide smell-o-vision fun for those laser battles. A double shot of mezcal with one of lime juice and another of triple sec will work nicely. Sub half the triple sec for Green Chartreuse for an added twist and an extra nod to Baby Yoda (I know the character is called ‘the child’, I’m not calling it that). It’s an excellent herbal liqueur that deserves a place on your shelf anyway and it stacks up nicely with grassy mezcal.

    If you like you can batch the ingredients and freeze them in an ice-cube tray, then blitz the in a blender for some seriously grown-up frozen margs.

    The Gentlemen – Available to rent and buy April 27th

    Not just a return to form for Guy Richie but one of the best whisky drinking films in years. The framing device for the action sees Hugh Grant’s slimy hack sneaking into criminal enforcer Charlie Hunnam’s house to engage in a bit of light blackmail in the form of narration. In doing so, Grant pilfers a bottle of whisky from Hunnam’s drinks cabinet – a 40-year-old Glenfarclas distilled in 1976, to be precise. If you happen to have a bottle of that lying around then, well, have fun with that. To drink along with the Gentlemen the rest of us can make do with the benchmark Glenfarclas 15yo; an excellent dram in its own right.

    Watch with an old fashioned

    Try making an old fashioned with your Glenfarclas, or any similarly sherried whisky – stirred down just enough to combine the sugar, spirit, and bitters and garnished with an orange twist. Otherwise make a Rob Roy riff with two parts Scotch and one part dry sherry, stirred with ice and strained into a chilled cocktail glass. Anyone who thinks mixing single malt is a crime should loosen up; this film’s a caper after all, it’s on theme to break a few rules.

    Cats – Available to buy May 22

    It might be a way off yet but a Cats viewing party is definitely worth getting excited about. The worst reviewed film of 2019 has to be watched just so we can find out what caused all those critics to have feline themed nightmares afterwards. Whether it’s speculating about why all those big names agreed to take part or trying to get your head round a strangely sexualised animal kingdom, it’s a film that will provide you and your drinking partners with ample talking points if nothing else.

    Watch with a Brandy Alexander

    Your drinks pairing for this one would have to involve cream, right? White Russians are an obvious choice but they’re for the Big Lebowski and are anyway an overrated experience. Break out your shaker and try your hand a making a batch of brandy Alexanders – equal parts French brandy, white crème de cacao, and single cream. It’s an absolutely daft drink that will pair nicely with this barmy film. That said, as with any cocktail you get out what you put in and the Alexander can actually show pretty well if you use good ingredients. There’s no need to use super fancy Cognac but something bold and ginger-y like Camus Ile De Re will be delicious.