I love to fly. I adore the ritual of security (always ‘opt-out,’ there’s nothing better than a nice pat down for injecting a bit of human contact into an otherwise soulless affair). I look forward to my time in the air. To this day I define sitting six miles in the air as a miracle.
I dread the inevitable ability to make in-flight phone calls, but until that day arrives there is a modicum of disconnect while on the plane. A chance to read a book uninterrupted, to enjoy, nay relish, food that one would otherwise send back to the kitchen as inedible, and an opportunity to narcoleptically nod off whenever the urge comes.
All bets are off. Morals held to on the ground as inviolable somehow don’t quite have the same weight when soaring above the clouds. Like, for instance, my favorite drink in the air: Vodka is the alcoholic equivalent of artificial sweeteners: it gives you the illusion of enjoyment but in the end leaves you feeling that you missed the point of a good, old-fashioned vice somewhere along the road. And drinking is a vice. My impulse is to fully embrace the naughtiness of drink and make sure it tastes as good as possible. On the Highway to Hell let us opt for driving a Hummer instead of a Prius. But in the air I can think of few better things than Mr. & Mrs. T’s and a tiny bottle of vodka. I am being a gracious guest and finding all of the enjoyment I can from what the airlines have to offer, instead of asking them to be something they will never be: a craft cocktail bar.
I am a huge fan of Kenneth Branagh all the way back to Dead Again (mind the scissors!), but I would never put Cinderella on my must-see list. A 10-hour flight without choice in entertainment options and a pinch of insomnia raises its appeal considerably.
(Cinder-)Ella is a saint, approaching every obstacle in life with courage and kindness. And this movie is her bottoming out, being driven to despair by her stepmother’s unhinged psychotic parenting skills and the deaths of her parents. She has a grace about her, she accepts her fate, and she politely accepts the Bloody Mary that life is offering her. Only her integrity and an intervention by her fairy godmother rescues her. The ending remains the same, though without the stepsisters cutting up their own feet, Saw–style, in order to make the slipper fit (The Brothers Grimm are dark).
The moments in Cinderella where parents and children fully acknowledged their feelings for each other brought me to tears. Sure, I could claim that it was my own parenthood that made these scenes all the more poignant, but I prefer a different theory. To fly is to defy death. As pedestrian as I might want it to appear, gravity’s hold on me is a primal relationship and breaking up with the earth triggers something in me that removes my defense mechanisms and brings my emotions bubbling to the surface. In this state, just about any movie becomes a tearjerker. And any drink can be delicious.
So remember to keep a favorite highball in your back pocket when you travel through life. Sometimes a fancy cocktail isn’t in the cards, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a spirit tempered with more flavor. I can think of few drinks more perfect than a gin and tonic. And those who know me know of my insatiable appreciation of this highball: So be true to yourself, order your drinks with courage and kindness, and always be prepared to foist off the shackles of your evil stepmother (i.e., vodka) and enjoy your new life with the Prince (i.e., everything else with flavor). We are not always defying death six miles in the air, so be gracious, kind, and courageous on the ground as well.
PS: All of the incredible work that went into the color schemes in this movie are completely lost on a 20-year-old, 20-inch television monitor. It looks about as good as the handheld bootlegs you get on Canal Street in Manhattan.
BLOODY MARY (altitude 36,000 feet)
Carefully combine in small plastic cup. Squeeze lime in if the airline you are flying did their prep work. Relax, you’re flying now.
Mexico’s much classier, much tastier, much more flavorful version of a Bloody Mary.
- Pony & Rocks glass
Sangrita (little blood):
- 1 liter tomato juice
- 2 oz fresh orange juice
- 2 oz fresh lemon or lime juice
- 2 oz worcestershire
- 2 oz Maggi Sauce
- 2 tbsp horseradish
- 1 oz Tabasco
- 2 oz 100% agave tequila, any age (plata, reposado, añejo), that you like
- Lime wedge for garnish
Combine all ingredients for Sangrita in pitcher, taste for seasoning, then keep in refrigerator. Serve shot of tequila (in nice glass) with a glass full of sangrita and a lime wedge. Alternately sip from each. Michael 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 email@example.com with all queries.