Drinks pairings aren’t just for candlelit dinners in Michelin starred restaurants. A well-chosen match of refreshment and entertainment at home can help immerse you in the action and make a movie night or streaming marathon truly memorable. Think sipping rye whiskey with Don Draper, or dropping sake bombs to Kill Bill (part one, of course. Part two would call for Margaritas). Here are five pairings to enliven your Netflix nights:
Netflix’s 1980s nostalgia-fest returns this July for a third slice of supernatural mystery so this is the perfect time to recap. Over the first two seasons, showrunners the Duffer brothers spun a tale of small town strangeness that explored such matters as psychic experimentation, alternate dimensions, Samwise Gamgee’s love life, and haircare tips. The references come thick and fast but the result feels fresh, like a new track that samples classic influences rather than a cover version.
What to drink: Cinzano Bianco
Keep it period appropriate during your Stranger Things party with a 1980s classic, Cinzano Bianco. Though you may have fond memories of drinking it warm from your parent’s drinks cabinet you can also opt to serve it with tonic and an orange twist, or in a spritz – three parts Prosecco, two Cinzano, one soda. Just the thing to get you in the mood for warner weather as season 3 promises to move the action from winter to the summer of ’85.
After two seasons following the adventures of Britain’s favourite head of state, The Crown will return this year to find newly minted Oscar winner Olivia Coleman donning the titular headwear. Get up-to-date before then by following the life of Queen Elizabeth II (Clair Foy, at the time) from her wedding to Prince Phillip, past her coronation, and through family strife and political upheaval of the 1950s and 60s. The show seems to make fans out of even the most ardent of republicans so if you haven’t yet caught it, tune in now.
What to drink: Gin and Dubonnet
QE2 herself is said to enjoy a gin and Dubonnet before lunch, to stimulate her royal appetite. To take this French aperitif like her majesty, mix it 2:1 with gin (use Beefeater, naturally) and serve over ice with a slice of lemon. The result should be bittersweet, bracing, and perfect for Negroni fans.
Santa Clarita Diet
This horror comedy sees estate agents Drew Barrymore and Timothy ‘the jawline’ Olyphant face marital tribulations as Barrymore goes Zombie and acquires a taste for human flesh. The show is gory, funny, and pokes lots of knowing fun at conformity and suburban life. It’s also surprisingly touching to watch the two leads try to make the best of things and keep their family together by any murderous means necessary. Season three is now online, so it’s the perfect time to have a viewing party.
What to drink: Bloody Maria
It just has to be a Bloody Mary, right? High in vitamin C and antioxidants for a healthy diet, this brunch classic is perfect for slurping along with Barrymore when she breaks out the blender to make Zombie smoothies. Use a good-quality tequila in place of the traditional vodka as a nod to the Southern California setting. Ocho Blanco has a citrusy, spicy profile that will work perfectly.
How to explain Arrested Development? You might say it’s the story of a wealthy family who lost everything and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together. This cult favourite which chronicles misadventures of the debatably lovable Bluth family was cancelled back in 2005 but has since found new life, twice, on Netflix. The infinitely re-watchable show gets a lot of mileage out of running jokes and self-referential humour so it’s well-suited to streaming and makes for a super-rewarding marathon.
What to drink: Vodka
You could have a lot of fun making up cocktails named after the show’s many running gags. There’s always money in the banana stand, Mr. F, hot ham water. But for simplicity and drink-along fun you can always join matriarch Lucille Bluth in a vodka on the rocks or a nice cold martini, cushioned with a piece of toast, if required. Try Polish spelt vodka, Konik’s tail, which is silky enough to shine in both serves.
The undisputed queen of the Marvel B-team is back for what may well be her last season this summer so now’s the time for a big old watch of season one. Come for the adventures of a super powered private investigator in New York, stay for the discourse on gender and power. As well as a great turn by Krysten Ritter as the eponymous Ms. Jones, there’s geek baiting appearances from Trinity off The Matrix, and a Doctor Who doing some classic scenery munching.
What to drink: Bourbon
As well as being the best of the Marvel/Netflix fare, this is a great show for whiskey. Over the first season we see Jessica sipping Wild Turkey, Old Grandad, and Maker’s Mark to name but a few. To follow in her footsteps, try Hudson Baby Bourbon from Tuthilltown distillery – a craft outfit that paved the way for a new generation of New York whisky makers. You can sip this rich, chewy Bourbon neat or use a mixer of your choice (soda water or ginger ale go well) to toast Jessica in what hopefully won’t be her last appearance on our screens.