Although a longstanding fan of Woody Allen, I had never seen Midnight in Paris. But had I known what it was about, I certainly wouldn’t have waited so long. So when invited to see Owen Wilson travel back in time to visit his creative heroes and fall a little bit in love, while tasting some serious whiskey concoctions, I jumped.
The Alamo Drafthouse on Slaughter Lane dedicated one theater on Tuesday night to screen the adorable movie as a way to promote a fabulous new book by Philip Greene, To Have and Have Another, a Hemingway Cocktail Companion (Penguin, $24, 293 pages).
Before the lights went down, four cocktails arrived, each a favorite of Hemingway’s, and the audience was treated to a super-informative mini lecture. Greene, a founding member of the Museum of the American Cocktail, certainly knows his stuff when it comes to Hemingway’s life, likes, and literature. With a power point presentation on the big screen, Greene took the audience through Hemingway’s early years, his four marriages, and his time in Paris.
He focused less on the drinks that Hemingway popularized later in his life, the Mojito, for instance, but stuck with four little lovelies I would have never guessed.Scotch and mineral water garnished with lemon is what Hemingway ordered most often, we learned, and it was refreshing indeed. We also tasted a drink popularized at the famous Harry’s New York Bar in Paris: the Boulevardier, a potent mixing of whiskey, Campari, and sweet vermouth. The Whiskey Sour pops up several times in A Moveable Feast, and The Affinity, with equal parts scotch, dry vermouth, and and sweet vermouth with a touch of bitters, hit its stride in the 20’s and 30’s, when Hemingway lived large in Paris.
Midnight in Paris made for a perfect match-up to the cocktails, with Djuna Barnes dancing around, Picasso arguing with Gertrude Stein, and Owen Wilson fumbling and bumbling around with his unpublished novel, amazed at his time-traveling luck. All in all, the film, the lecture, and the drinks came together for an entirely hazy evening of fun.
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