An onscreen cocktail may be not only memorable, but also a key part of a character’s identity. (Just try imaging The Big Lebowski’s The Dude sipping something other than a White Russian. It doesn’t work.) So, it should come as no surprise that some of the most famous and popular drinks in mixological history are tied to a fictional character.
We watched a range of TV shows and movies to come up with our list of the seven top on-screen drinkers and their signature tipples. So turn on the TV (or pull up YouTube or Netflix) and mix up some drinks—it’s the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon. Cheers!
No matter if it’s original Bond Sean Connery or current leading man Daniel Craig, 007 always drinks with style. For years, Britain’s top secret agent preferred to sip Vodka Martinis —“shaken, not stirred,” of course—but we were happy to see Bond go back to his roots in the 2006 Casino Royale. Craig orders “three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it over ice and add a thin slice of lemon peel.” This, of course, is the classic Vesper, which was the agent’s first signature order in the 1953 novel that introduced him.
You can thank the Coen Brothers’ 1998 cult classic, The Big Lebowski, for the revival of creamy guilty pleasure the White Russian. In most scenes, the movie’s lead character, The Dude, played by Jeff Bridges, is mixing one up or sipping one. (In all, he consumes nine during the film.) Even when he’s manhandled into the back of a limo, he never spills a drop of his precious White Russian: “Careful man, there’s a beverage here!”
Cocktails are such a part of Mad Men that they deserve an Emmy. (Check out our gallery of the drinks featured on the show.) And though Jon Hamm’s Don Draper has enjoyed a variety of classic tipples, he loves the Old Fashioned the most. The historic combination of bitters, sugar, water and spirit is the definition of a cocktail. While Draper prefers his with rye whiskey, it’s tasty with most any type of liquor.
It’s hard to picture Sarah Jessica Parker’s character Carrie Bradshaw without a Martini glass in her hand. Throughout Sex and the City’s six memorable seasons, Bradshaw and her group of friends sipped dozens of Cosmos across the five boroughs. The vodka, orange, lime and cranberry concoctions came to not only represent the show but also that entire era in New York. Mix one up and relive the late ‘90s.
In Some Like it Hot, Billy Wilder’s classic slapstick cross-dressing comedy, one of the best scenes is when Sugar (Marilyn Monroe), Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) mix up a Manhattan in a hot water bottle on a train. While we prefer to use a mixing glass, it’s good to know a hot water bottle will work in a pinch.
Nick and Nora Charles are two of our favorite on-screen imbibers. Aside from being top-notch detectives in The Thin Man movie series, they’re self-proclaimed cocktail experts. When explaining how to properly shake a Dry Martini, Nick says, “the important thing is the rhythm. Always have rhythm in your shaking. Now a Manhattan you shake to fox-trot time, a Bronx to two-step time, a Dry Martini you always shake to waltz time.”
Cocktail, the 1988 Tom Cruise film, is so bad it’s good. While we probably shouldn’t admit it, we’ll watch it any time it’s on TV. And our favorite moment is when Cruise’s character, the “world’s last barman poet” Brian Flanagan, climbs on top of the bar in a crowded ‘80s club and recites a composition about the era’s most popular beverages. So mix up an Alabama Slammer or a Sex on the Beach and watch the scene. Or, as Flanagan says, “if you want to get loaded, why don’t you just order a shot?”
Think you know the booze?
Let’s start with some basics.