The 7 Coolest Boozing Setups from Film and TV
The glamor and glitz of TV and film ain’t what it used to be. We’ll never return to those heady days of leaded gasoline, sharing an in-flight cigarette with Boeing 707 “air hostesses”, cufflinks and cool boozing. Well, maybe not the cufflinks and the in-flight cigarettes, but booze is stylish, despite the current message to the contrary from our Puritan Overlords. But they used to do booze a lot better than they do today. Ahh, when men were men. None of these hipsters and metrosexuals reaching into their murses for a David Foster Wallace book while eating “gourmet” farro burgers and drinking PBR that we presently suffer. As a tribute to the Golden Age of film and TV I decided to compile a list of the best boozing setups from the era when three Martinis was “lunch” and three swift Marlboros was the cure for anxiety. The Australians have a saying: “Never trust a man who doesn’t drink”. I’ll drink to that.
1. JR Ewing’s Decanters:
This one is a classic from the original series of “Dallas”. Installed in a huge lavish office at the top of a glass skyscraper, JR’s “medicine cabinet” came complete with surround mirrors and an impressive array of cut glass decanters. Anyone who’s heard the brain-warming clink of the stopper coming out of JR’s bourbon decanter knows exactly how luxury and decadence sounds. How many she-devils and hopeful oilmen did he fleece in that magnificent aerie? God only knows, but one glance at that majestic corner, stocked with drinks, screamed “Winner”. For this reason, JR Ewing’s awesome booze setup is number one on this list.
Favorite Dallas quote: (Sue Ellen, JR’s wife) “Joan of Arc would be a drunk too if she was married to you!”
It’s a modern production but ultimately Mad Men is a period drama, and boy what a time! Dapper Don and Silver Sterling are without question the twin prongs of the assault on the alcohol supply in this often dark and racy world. From the plush old days before the firm was bought by McCann Erickson to the current modern but less spacy environment, one fixture has endured: The drinks trolley. Whether it’s Don Draper helping himself to a serious measure of Scotch or Roger Sterling liberally splashing something transparent into a lovely convex glass tumbler, there’s a sense of propriety. It’s just what ad men did back then. Shame they don’t still do it now.
Favorite Mad Men quote: (Roger Sterling) “You don’t know how to drink. Your whole generation, you drink for the wrong reasons. My generation, we drink because it’s good, because it feels better than unbuttoning your collar, because we deserve it. We drink because it’s what men do.”
3. Cowboy Saloons:
“Set ’em up!” in the Wild West meant lining up a bunch of shot glasses, fillin’ ’em with cheap whiskey in one continuous pour then sliding them one by one down the bar with expert proficiency so that each shot stopped in front of each guy who wanted it. For beer it was the same routine. A foaming pint of the brown stuff slid rapidly down the bar, only in this case the drinker would catch and swiftly down the lot without it even touching the sides. And let’s not forget those grizzled dudes who’d just order a whole bottle of gut-rot and pour it down their throat like it was 7-Up. Those cowboys didn’t mess about.
Favorite Western quote: John Wayne (before downing a shot with his buddies) “Well…there’s no good way to die!”
4. James Bond’s Martini:
This one is pure class. Named “The Vesper” by Bond himself, it contains three parts gin and one part vodka (along with Kina Lillet tonic wine) and must be “shaken, not stirred”. One can, with little effort, picture Sean Connery standing at the gilt-edged bar of some continental hotel, cocking his brow at the most unattainable bombshell in the house, while keeping his eyes trained on the skulking baddies. He may have sported some serious back and shoulder hair, but Connery is King of the Balds as well as in many peoples’ opinions the Best of the Bonds. Bloody lovely!
Favorite Bond quote: From Ian Fleming’s 1953 novel, Casino Royale: “When I’m concentrating, I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made.”
5. Dudley Moore as “Arthur”:
Loveable master of short-arsery Dudley Moore was a splendid pampered millionaire in this booze-soaked masterpiece. As Arthur Bach, Moore (no stranger to the sauce himself) stumbled through the glitz of New York high society with a wine bottle in hand, or took blissed out bubble baths in his palatial apartment. Arthur’s ever-loyal butler, Hobson, waits on him hand and foot, as he rejects an arranged marriage with a millionaire heiress and smiles in a rosy haze from the plush interior of his chauffeured limousine. Anyone who wouldn’t want that lifestyle is definitely not to be trusted.
Favorite Arthur quote: (To two prostitutes at the kerb as he pulls over in the limo) “Would the more attractive of you please step forward?”
6. Julian’s Tumbler from Trailer Park Boys:
“Julian’s Tumbler”; this isn’t a reference to some lame website where people post millions of pictures nobody cares about. It’s a reference to the chunky glassful of rum and coke Julian (John Paul Tremblay) carries with him at all times and situations. A seasoned boozer, Julian can be seen taking frequent tiny nips from the tumbler, ensuring a steady drip-feed of alcohol that takes a long time to run out (by which point he’s probably returned to his trusty trailer and replenished the tumbler). Julian’s black t-shirts and understated buzz were always gonna earn him a place on this list, despite being set in the present day. In fact, the entire cast of TPB are worthy of a mention, in their booze-soaked Sunnyvale Trailer Park utopia.
Favorite Trailer Park Boys quote: Mr. Lahey (Park Supervisor) – “I am the liquor.”
7. The Rat Pack:
These guys practically invented cool boozing. From the days of Humphrey Bogart in the 50s through to the Dean Martin-Frank Sinatra-Sammy Davis Jr era in the 60s, the booze bottle was passed like a baton and its members avidly got stuck in. Las Vegas is probably the place people think of most, and Dean Martin will forever embody the spirit of these tough but comedic playboys. They were the guys with the connections, who fought bare-knuckle bouts, got expelled from school and were even associated with La Cosa Nostra. But for most, their strongest association is with having a goooood time, via a stiff cocktail. Alla salute!
Favorite Rat Pack quote: (Dean Martin) “I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. They wake up in the morning and that’s the best they’re going to feel all day.”
Yup, they were the daze. If you feel any classic snifter-lounges or the lizards who frequent them should be added, please let us know.