Part of the allure of the movies is the chance to spend time with characters we would like to step into the shoes of. Whether it’s muttering a catchphrase, emulating a hairstyle or copying a stylish look, many of us have imitated what we’ve seen on the big screen. 

One of the easier ways of feeling a bit of Hollywood magic is to order the drink of our heroes at the bar, or make one at home. But what does a particular character’s beverage say about them? We break down the drinks of movie icons past and present to see how what’s in their glass reflects what’s in their heart. Of course, it takes more than a drink to be a hero, but perhaps some of these tipples might be suitable to enjoy (responsibly!) on your next movie night… 

The Action Hero

Yes, the most obvious action hero drink is 007’s “shaken, not stirred” martini. However, many a conversation has been devoted to James Bond’s favourite over the years, so may we humbly offer some other alternatives? We start with the first choice of Brad Pitt’s Rick Dalton from Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. A stunt man with a knack for getting into some very real fisticuffs, the tough guy favours a colourful wardrobe and a colourful drink as he sips on Bloody Marys in the film. It’s a bold beverage that emphasises Dalton’s edginess and indifference to danger. 

Fast & Furious hero Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) famously favours a more commercial brand: “any brew you want, as long as it’s a Corona.” The US beer brand has featured in the series since the beginning and, incredibly, is not a product placement, but simply a means for the filmmakers to illustrate Dom and his crew’s blue-collar roots. No doubt many bottles have been sold by those looking to resemble the fastest action hero on the big screen. 

In the Marvel Universe, there aren’t many drinkers (those superhero physiques take a lot of work!). However, one hero who loves his beer is Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, who managed to get his hands on Scottish craft lager Innis & Gunn, which he is seen quaffing during 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. In reality, his scenes were shot in the small village of St Abbs in Scotland, and the brewers’ appearance was a nod to the country’s contribution to the film. 

Oh, and if you absolutely need to feel like Bond, might we suggest the Vesper Cocktail “invented” by the super spy in 2006’s Casino Royale, dedicated to his soon-to-be-late love Vesper Lynd (Eva Green). Daniel Craig even gives you the recipe in the film!  

The Hopeless Romantic

Whether it’s to celebrate new romance or to wash away the tears, movies often feature drinking as a part of the romantic journey. One of the most famous romances of all, Casablanca, is a veritable catalogue of cocktails and fine vintages, but other films revolve around a particular beverage.

For two movies and many TV seasons, the ladies of Sex and the City celebrated the highs and lows of love with Cosmopolitan cocktails. Believed to have been introduced in 1980s Manhattan, it epitomises the outrageous glamour of the women who fight to have it all. It has become the tipple of choice for anyone seeking the sensationalism and sisterhood of those characters.

On a sadder note, some bittersweet romances are punctuated by particular drinks. The silver screen’s most famous singleton, Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger), chose “Vodka and Chaka Khan” to get over her fling with the sneaky Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), although that would perhaps be unadvisable given the amount she consumes and the sadness of the predicament. 

Of course, for more “relaxing times”, Bill Murray’s Bob Harris recommended Suntory whisky in Oscar-winning drama Lost in Translation. The libation is the reason the character finds himself in Japan, and it’s while drinking at a bar that he meets Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), leading to one of cinema’s most beautiful platonic romances. Whisky is often used by filmmakers as a thoughtful drink, inviting characters to reflect rather than forget, and that device is employed wonderfully here. 

The Comedy Icon

Looking to have the room in stitches? Channel your inner comic genius with some drinks from movies past. A surprising number of comedy characters are associated with a favourite beverage – what is Ron Burgundy without his love of Scotch, or Homer Simpson without his beloved Duff, a pastiche of mass-produced American beers?

Ridiculous characters are often betrayed by ridiculous drinks: in The Blues Brothers, John Candy’s hapless detective famously orders “Three Orange Whips”, an improvised line that introduced a new frothy drink – made with rum, vodka, cream and orange juice – into the public consciousness following the film’s release. Equally, Johnny Depp’s lead in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas surrounds himself with bright red Singapore Sling cocktails (among other vices). The best comedy comes from revealing the folly of people who take themselves too seriously, and as such a pompous or self-involved character can betray their silliness through their bar order. 

The first stop has to be The Dude’s (Jeff Bridges) White Russian – screenings of The Big Lebowski are rarely seen without this creamy drink in the hands of many fans. In the movie, it is his first port of call in most of the scenes he’s in, either asking for the cocktail or, in some cases, just helping himself from the bar. Even in the most treacherous of circumstances, his first thought is of his drink (“careful man, there’s a beverage here!”). The indulgent but simple drink encapsulates the outlook of a character who goes with the flow, and always abides.

The Dastardly Villain

We’re not sure why you would want to come across as one of the movies’ biggest villains, but if their ice-cold personas inspire you, there are some drinks to reflect their image. 

Interestingly, many of cinema’s most sinister characters drink milk. Most famously the Droogs in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange all drink the white stuff, while Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) in No Country for Old Men, and Inglourious Basterds’ Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) both drink milk. It’s perhaps the most innocuous and innocent of drinks, and certainly the healthiest on this list, so why is it such a villainous favourite? Well, it’s a chilling image, to see a dangerous character sip something we normally associate with innocent young children. It can also betray an obsessive mindset, or a character who wants to keep a clear head. Whatever the reason, many of your favourite baddies have opted for dairy at some point!

Other drinks have been chosen by directors to betray certain parts of a character. Leonardo DiCaprio played Calvin Candie, the obnoxiously wicked adversary in Django Unchained who obsessed over appearing cultured, only for his ignorance to betray him. This is demonstrated in his drink of choice, a garish and rum-soaked cocktail called Polynesian Pearl Diver that makes him stand out from his contemporaries in all the wrong ways. 

Meanwhile, Chianti is the drink of choice for Hannibal Lecter, portrayed by both Sir Anthony Hopkins and Mads Mikkelsen. Aside from its rich red hue resembling blood, the Tuscan wine also shows that the not-so-good doctor has refined tastes and a privileged lifestyle. If you’re going to be a devil, you may as well do it in style!

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