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04.22.11

Film-Inspired Cocktails: Water for Elephants

Reese Witherspoon has Water for Elephants this weekend—and bartender Meaghan Dorman is serving up rum and Spanish liqueur for circus fans to enjoy after the show.

Did you know elephants can spend up to 16 hours of every day eating between 300 and 600 pounds of leaves, bark, fruit, grasses and herbs? And you thought you had food issues. Pass the Pepto please!

All that grub and anyone’s mouth is bound to get really dry.

But what is one supposed to think of when they hear the title Water for Elephants, particularly when they haven’t read the Sara Gruen novel that the film is based on?

Why not Biscuits for Elephants, POM Wonderful for Elephants, or John Mayer for Elephants?

Is anyone else reminded of the equally cryptically titled film Like Water for Chocolate? Which, on second thought, could have been the name for a fun beverage-exchange program—until one reaches down for a water bottle on the treadmill at the gym, only to realize the bottle is filled with chocolate milk. Um, gross?

Even more gross is that when elephants do drink water, they suck approximately 10 liters of water up into their trunks before blowing it into their mouths. And on average, elephants have to consume 70 to 200 liters of water a day. Imagine if humans had to do that to meet their daily h2o requirement? Sick.

Thankfully the gritty details of elephant life are overshadowed by other glamorous sensory elements of the circus, like the range of aromas emanating from the peanut-popping crowd and visions of bejeweled, almost-naked ladies riding through the arena on horseback.

Obviously prompted by the release of the new dramatic film Water for Elephants, this week’s movie-inspired masterpiece cocktail was created by New York-based bartender Meaghan Dorman. Dorman is the head bartender of Raines Law Room and the bar consultant for the recently opened Lantern’s Keep at the Iroquois Hotel in Midtown.

Thankfully the gritty details of elephant life are overshadowed by other glamorous sensory elements of the circus.

At the very least, this cocktail is guaranteed to be more appetizing and appealing than Reese Witherspoon’s descriptions of the behind-the-scenes details of the less than sexy love scenes she shared with co-star Robert Pattinson on this film. But at its best, it’s a creative, colorful, full-flavored delicious treat that’s even relatively easy for curious cocktail aficionados to shake up on their own.

“My first thought when creating a cocktail based around life in a circus was that it had to be a bright color,” says Dorman. “I used fresh strawberries to get a big-top worthy shade. I also wanted to incorporate Licor 43, which is a Spanish liqueur that has an airy sweetness reminiscent of cotton candy. So, I combined these two ingredients into a Daiquiri variation called the ‘Star Attraction,’ and added a lime wheel for a color-contrasting garnish. It’s a grown-up treat that could still satisfy a circus sweet-tooth.”

The Star Attraction

Created by Meaghan Dorman of Raines Law Room

2 ripe strawberries (tops removed)
1 tsp sugarcane syrup
1 oz. fresh lime juice
¼ oz. Licor 43
2 oz. white rum
Muddle strawberries with sugarcane syrup. Add lime juice, Licor 43, and white rum. Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Brody Brown has studied fashion crimes, examined social issues, and carefully considered cocktails in Montreal and New York.  He now continues his exploration in Los Angeles, where he writes about spirits, music, LGBT subjects, entertainment and nightlife.

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