Lights! Cameras! Cocktails!
In honor of “CUT! Costume and the Cinema” at the Columbia Museum of Art, we talked with three Columbia bars that make three highly recognizable drinks famous in and out of the movies.
Nonnah’s and Sea & Salt: ‘James Bond’ Dry Martini
“A dry martini for Bond is much different than what I consider a dry martini,” said Greg Windsor, front of the house manager and bartender. “A classic dry martini is French vermouth – which is dry vermouth, gin, olive brine (it’s a prefer it or not situation) and olives. The Bond martini is often called a Vesper martini. It’s vodka, blanc vermouth and it gets a twist of lemon. So it’s a very, very different drink, along the lines of a French 75 almost.”
“This is a drink that has really come back,” said Windsor. “It’s come back in fashion along with Old Fashioneds and Manhattans. These are the types of martinis that people drank in the ‘20s and ‘30s. And this is the first drink that Franklin D. Roosevelt drank after repelling prohibition. It’s one of my top five favorite drinks. I don’t order them everywhere because not everyone makes them properly but when it’s done proper it’s a fantastic drink.”
116 Espresso & Wine Bar: ‘The Big Lebowski’ White Russian
“The classic White Russian, like in the movie, is a staple [drink],” said Ryan Ditman, front of the house manager and bartender. “It’s just vodka, Kahlua and cream. And we always garnish ours with three almonds.”
“We make four White Russians: the classic, the Bolshevik Revolution – which features 116’s signature espresso vodka, the Rasputin and the Colorado Bulldog,” said Ditman, who also noted that on average they go through about six bottles of Kahlua a week. “During brunch and dinner service a lot of people will get one as a dessert drink. During brunch it’s kind of a staple.”
Speak Easy: ‘Casablanca’ French 75
“The French 75 is one of those drinks that is a paradigm for the history of cocktails,” said Travis May, Speak Easy’s general manager and bartender. “It’s a fun drink and also very easy to make. You can make it in 30 seconds.”
“I prefer to do it essentially as a Tom Collins ... with champagne,” said May, who serves the cocktail in a highball glass instead of a champagne flute. “So gin, sugar and lemon juice over ice with champagne. So it’s more of a gin drink than a champagne drink.”
711 Saluda Ave. (803) 255-0869, https://locu.com/places/speakeasy-columbia-us/#menu