Cocktails in film and television

22 Cocktails famously featured in Film and TV

By Sina Torner / Last updated on November 26, 2022 

First published on November 21, 2022 

Here's a list of all the popular cocktails featured in film and television over the years. -The next time you host a Hollywood-themed house party, you know what to serve.

One of the best-known drinks from film and TV is the Martini - shaken, not stirred, as James Bond usually liked to order it. But did you know that the secret agent didn't only lift the classic Martini to extraordinary fame but also invented a new version? - Or, to be precise, Ian Fleming, the author, did.

And that's only one example. There are many more. Sometimes a film or TV show accelerates the popularity of an already existing drink or helps an already famous one to an even bigger fandom. Other times, they inspire new creations or even provide the entire recipe.

So, here's an overview of the most popular classic cocktails as seen in movies and TV in alphabetical order:

1. Casablanca: French 75

Casablanca is one of those films that started big and has become even bigger over time. The movie, released in 1942, was nominated for 8 Academy Awards and won three. 

Rick's (Humphrey Bogart) ex-lover, Yvonne (played by Madeleine Lebeau) orders a French 75 when she shows up with her new boyfriend - a Nazi. Ironically, the French 75, invented by Harry MacElhone, is named after the French field gun used against the Nazis during WWII.

2. Cocktail: Red Eye

Aussie Bartender Doug Coughlin (Brian Flanagan) casually mixes the Red Eye Cocktail to cure his hangover when the young Doug Coughlin (Tom Cruise) enters the bar to apply for a job. The slightly disturbing concoction of beer, tomato juice, Vodka, and a whole egg became a hit at the time but didn't make it onto bar menus permanently. But it's definitely a drink to remember.  

3. Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas: Singapore Sling

The 90s movie, based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Hunter S. Thompson in 1971 and starring Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Cameron Diaz, and Tobey Maguire, brought the Singapore Sling back to people's minds. 

In the film, Raoul Duke (Depp) and Dr. Gonzo (Del Toro) sit in a hotel lounge, having Singapore Slings with a side of Mezcal. 

4. Gilmore Girls: Gin Martini

Fans of the incredibly successful television series that ran for seven seasons from 2000 to 2007 will know that Lorelai Gilmore (played by Lauren Graham) needed a drink to get through the Friday night dinners at her parents' house more often than not. And this drink is usually a classic Gin Martini

5. James Bond: Vodka Martini

Talking about Martinis, one secret agent jumps to mind immediately: James Bond. For decades, 007 requested his Vodka Martinis to be shaken, not stirred. And even though the writers decided that the modern James Bond is no longer as particular about his drinks as he once used to be, the drink and the quote will probably live on for at least another lifetime.

6. James Bond - Casino Royale: Vesper Martini

Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond novels, also invented a riff on the Martini that grew into a classic drink you can find on bar menus around the globe. The Vesper Martini is a blend of Gin, Vodka, and Cocchi Americano garnished with a lemon peel.

7. James Bond - Live and Let Die: The Sazerac

All good things come in threes, or so they say. The third drink that made a significant appearance and caused orders in bars to rise is the Sazerac Cocktail. He orders it on the recommendation of a CIA agent, telling him to relax since he's in New Orleans.

Well, actually, the list of classic drinks ordered by James Bond does not stop here. He ordered Negronis, Americanos, Mojitos, and even a Black Velvet once. But that might well be worth a separate article.

8. Lost in Translation: Suntory Whisky

Not a cocktail, really, yet still, a drink that gained traction through a film is the Whisky produced by the Japanese brand Suntory. 

Bob, played by Bill Murray, is filming a commercial for the Japanese Whisky brand Suntory but does not speak a word of Japanese. The hilarious scene from the 2003 movie ends with him saying: For relaxing times, make it Suntory time

9. Mad Men: Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned, THE cocktail and the origin of all modern craft cocktails, might not have needed any extra promotion, but got it anyway.

Mad Men is a US period drama series that aired in 2007. It circles around the life of Dan Draper, creative director and junior partner of Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency. The popular series begins with a waiter asking Dan if he wants another drink, to which he replies: Yeah, do this again. Old Fashioned, please. 

Usually made with Bourbon, Draper's Old Fashioned comes with Rye Whiskey.

10. Once upon a time in Hollywood: Bloody Mary

A Hollywood Movie that became an instant classic, like most films directed by the legendary Quentin Tarantino. As always, his cast includes various A-list actresses and actors. And also, the expectedly lethal plot is supported by a fair share of booze. 

Brad Pitt, aka. Stunt Double Cliff Booth sits at the bar with a Bloody Mary in front of him, playing with the pretty oversized celery garnish, reintroducing the drink to a younger fanbase.

11. Once upon a time in Hollywood: Whiskey Sour

A Whiskey Sour is a classic and a crowd favorite, without a doubt. But Leonardo di Caprio as Rick Dalton raging about forgetting his lines and having drowned "eight goddamn fucking Whiskey Sours" the night before is certainly a scene to remember and gains this cocktail a well-deserved spot on this list.

12. Sex and the City: Cosmopolitan

If there is one thing that has the potential to beat the immediate connection between James Bond and Martinis it is Sex and the City and the Cosmopolitan Cocktail.

Some even think Carry Bradshaw personally invented the drink in the late 90s. That is, of course, not the case. How could she... But then it was only about 10 years before SATC that the Cranberry and Vodka drink made its first appearance.

13. Some Like it Hot: Manhattan

Some Like it Hot is a crime-comedy from 1959 starring Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis. The film was shot in black and white, even though colored TV had been introduced five years earlier - the filmmakers decided that the makeup looked better that way.

The Society Syncopators, an all-female band including vocalist Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe), enjoy Manhattans on the night train to Miami.

14. The Big Lebowski: White Russian

The Dude really likes his White Russian Cocktail. The cult movie's protagonist Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) was inspired by Jeff Dowd, an American film producer and political activist the Cohen brothers (directors, screenwriters, and producers) once met. 

Dowd had the nickname "The Dude" and liked White Russians. -Et Voila, you have one of the most iconic roles in history and a new cocktail favorite of many.

15. The Bonfire of the Vanities: Sidecar

The Wall Street satire from 1990, based on a successful yet controversial novel, had a star-studded cast: Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffith, and Morgan Freeman, Kim Cattrall, the list goes on. That didn't help, though. Critics tore the film apart, and it was an epic flop at the box office.

However, the way Alan King told Bruce Willis I am not supposed to drink, but I love a Sidecar, still gained the Cognac Cocktail some well-deserved attention.

16. The Godfather II: Banana Daiquiri

The scene where Fredo Corleone orders a Banana Daiquiri (of all things) at a Havana Cafe before getting back to more serious business with his brother Michael is one of the favorite scenes of many faithful fans. 

Michael (Al Pacino) even lets his guard down and, momentarily amused, cracks a little half-smile which definitely brought the Banana Daiquiri to the (bar) table.

17. The Great Gatsby - Mint Julep

The movie from 2013 with Leonardo Di Caprio and Carey Mulligan in leading roles is known for its abundance of booze - often champagne- consumed throughout the entire 2.5h.

A cocktail that got famously mentioned is the Mint Julep. In the middle of an argument on a trip to Manhattan, Gatsby's love interest, Daisy Buchanan, proclaims to desire nothing more than "a place to have a Mint Julep".

18. The Queens Gambit - Gibson Martini

First and foremost, the Netflix mini-series certainly made chess look fashionable and really cool. Besides that, Beth (and her mother) drink Gibson Martinis - a riff on the classic Gin Martini - a lot. 

Despite a whole variety of alcoholic beverages you can see throughout the series, the Gibson became somewhat of the signature drink of The Queens Gambit.

19. Two and a half men/ Scrubs - Appletini

Two immensely successful television shows that promoted the Appletini as a not-quite-so-manly drink are Scrubs and two and a half men. J.D. from Scrubs prefers his Appletini "easy on the tini". Whereas Alan Harper of Two and a half men generally likes his drinks easier on the booze and is a huge fan of the Appletini - much to the embarrassment of his brother, Charlie.

20. Blue Hawaii: Blue Hawaii

Here, it's a bit different. The cocktail is no big deal in the film from 1961, with Elvis Presley as the lead. However, the whole movie is named after the blue-colored cocktail -which is also the state drink of Hawaii.

The title track with the same name Blue Hawaii, a cover version from the 1937-original sung by Elvis, occupied the top spot of the album charts for 20 weeks and gave the cocktail an extra boost.

Special Mention

Two cocktails that were not featured as such in the movies but had been inspired by them. Both since then have become classic drinks in their own right.

21. French Connection

The iconic crime action thriller from 1971 with Gene Hackman as Detective Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won five, including best actor, best screenplay, best director, and best picture. 

In reference to the successful movie, a two-ingredient Drink with the same name soon appeared on cocktail menus: The French Connection Cocktail is a blend of Cognac and Amaretto.

22. The Godfather

One year after French Connection, the Godfather hit movie theaters and became a massive success. What had worked so well for the French Connection, surely could work a second time around - and it did.

The Godfather Cocktail, a two-ingredient blend of Amaretto and Scotch also evolved into a bolder but recognized classic.  

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