Shaken & Stirred: THE FALL, or How I Stopped Caring and Learned to Love the Bomb

by Michael Cecconi

“Stare into the abyss of creation, what stares back at you?” 

It’s my job to make drinks. Some cocktails are a hit, some a miss. That’s the way it has been and the way it always will be. It doesn’t discourage me. It is a part of the act of creation, and if I feared failing then I wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning. Or afternoon. Whenever. So we create, and the urge to create spans many mediums, from food to drink to film (see how I tied it into the website’s name? Clever me).

But what we all have in common throughout our mediums is a capacity for failure, for the bomb. The judgement as to the value of our output, especially in whether or not it is a bomb, is most often in the hands of the public, the audience. As much as an artist wants to be the final arbiter of its work it is the {m}asses, as Yelp has proven.

We do not let that stop us, so when the story is there we must tell it, create, and put it out there for judgment. After establishing himself in commercials and with one mainstream movie (The Cellan extremely lush, but ultimatley vapid J. Lo vehicle) Tarsem Singh did just that. Over the course of four years he filmed. And filmed. And filmed The Fall . He put that commercial money where his vision was and financed the film himself. Reaping two million and sowing 30 million. Tarsem risked, and lost, so much for this visual orgy.


“Stare into the abyss of creation, what stares back at you?”

The visuals and the techniques the director used to capture the performance of the young girl are discussed to this day. It has both its detractors and its champions. And it has its flaws. But we can only imagine how much Tarsem, as the proud papa, must love it.

My bomb is markedly less well known, and cost me significantly less to put out there. We called it Marco Polo. Punt e mes, from Italy, like Marco Polo himself, is the exotic, imported element. Gran Clasico, a more naturally produced bitter liqueur from Tempus Fugit Spirits adds complexity. Mescal, that Scotch from the South, is the smoky backbone. Lastly, a homemade red pepper tincture adds a vegetal, ultimately umami, quality. Like The Fall , this is an overripe cocktail brimming with ideas & flavors and looking for an audience.

Was this drink returned, barely touched and unloved? Check. Did it leave us with an excess of Gran Clasico? For sure. Was it removed from the cocktail list after four short weeks? Natch. And is it one of the few cocktails to break me of my whiskey-and-coke shift drink habit? Amazingly enough, yes.

Though judged a bomb by the masses, this cocktail holds a place in my heart. A place that no amount of evidence to the contrary can touch. A place usually reserved for pets, children, and Justin Bieber. Fear of failure would have kept this cocktail off the list, and tucked away in my head, never to be born. If every artist is true to the impulse to create something beautiful then a bomb becomes an affirmation to the inevitable appearance of the next beauty. As well as a rallying cry around which a few can find solace and community. Just like The Fall .

I hope this post breathes just a little bit of life into the Marco Polo. Tarsem has DVD.

Now as much as I wallow in my pity party, unappreciated by the masses, I can console myself that I had help. My fellow bartender Kat and I worked on this cocktail together. And even as we erased it from the menus, I knew that she and I went through a thing together. Just like Tarsem and his merry crew of creators.

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams

Arthur O’Shaughnessy, as told by Gene Wilder


Marco Polo

rocks glass
1 oz Del Maguey Vida Mezcal
1 oz Punt e Mes
1 oz Gran Clasico
½ oz red pepper tincture*

Chill rocks glass either in freezer for 30 minutes or fill with iced water. In tin combine Vida, Punt e Mes, Gran Clasico, tincture, and ice. Stir 70 times & strain into chilled rocks glass.

* 1 bottle Everclear. 1 ripe red pepper, thinly sliced. Combine. Let steep for 48 hours. Strain. Keeps an epically long time.

CecconiMichael likes all things drink related.  Michael likes movies.  And, in an odd twist of fate, Michael loves words about movies.  These three facts combine to make a perfect storm of sensibility, ability, and inebriation needed to fulfill duties at EatDrinkFilms.  When not rhapsodizing about film, Michael tends the bar at Two Sisters Bar & Books in San Francisco.  He teaches mixology in San Francisco and New York.  And lately, he’s been trying to capture the magic of what he does in a bottle so he can spread his tasty libations across the land.  Please feel free to contact him at with all queries.

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