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05.01.11

Film-Inspired Cocktails: Fast Five

Tampa-based bartender Dean Hurst gives the classic Sidecar a South American update for a Fast Five-themed drink that’s so good it’ll drive you wild.

It’s a truly fascinating, rare thing when a film franchise makes it to the landmark fifth installment.

The five Fast and Furious movies haven’t garnered any of the classic Golden Globe, Academy, or SAG awards from the Hollywood community (a few Razzie nominations not withstanding) but their popularity is undeniable.

What makes an action film have legs and longevity? Let’s be frank: it’s obviously not the memorable dialogue, and considering what the demographic that typically flocks to these movies actually cares about, it’s likely not an issue of whether the chemistry between the male and female lead characters is believable or realistic. Hot, scantily clad girl with perpetually dewy skin plus a muscle-bound, invincible, heat-packing man? Check.

Though some might think that loading a film up with technologically advanced vehicles, fiery explosions, and tons of ass-kicking and name-taking guarantees a box office hit, it’s not necessarily the case.

What about 2000’s Battlefield Earth? This year’s Drive Angry 3D? (Don’t you dare blame that last one solely on Nic Cage.)

Perhaps the producing team behind the Furious films recognized the fast, fiery, ferocious formula wouldn’t necessarily guarantee their franchise’s success when they launched it.

2001’s The Fast and the Furious was followed by 2003’s 2 Fast 2 Furious; a logical title for a sequel to the original story. Though critical response to the movie wasn’t great by any means, the box office receipts were good enough to warrant the third film The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.

The fourth chapter Fast & Furious oddly brought the concept full circle (so leave out the “the’s” and recycle the original title for the fourth installment?) and the fifth, Fast Five, restores a concise, numerical system of order that also leaves things open for a sixth, 12th, or 30th film.

No wonder this film is simply called Fast Five and not The Fastest and Most Furious.

To toast the movie’s debut and what’s sure to be an impressive box office haul this weekend, here’s a recipe created by Dean Hurst, general manager and beverage director at SideBern’s Restaurant in Tampa, Florida.

An appropriate fit for this film, Tampa’s well known for being a car racing hub, but less known for its cocktailing laurels. Though many know major, obvious cities like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles are rich with some of the nation’s top mixologists, Tampa-based Hurst keeps popping up among the finalists in U.S. cocktailing competitions, and continues to make drinks behind the SideBern’s bar.

Riffing on the automotive theme, Hurst took the recipe for one of his favorite classic cocktails, the Sidecar, and put a modern, Fast Five spin on it.

“First,” Hurst explains, “it was easy to draw the line from brandy to Cachaça, as the movie was filmed in Brazil. Then, Scotch receives a lot of fanfare in South America, so Compass Box’s Orangerie made good sense for an injection of orange. Shifting to lime juice, instead of the traditional lemon, seemed logical. So, in essence, we tinkered under the hood, gave it a slick paint job, a shiny set of rims, and now you have a delicious drink that resembles a Sidecar on paper, but with funk, smokiness, and a bit of attitude. Finally, a flamed orange peel for some flash, and you have the perfect accompaniment to an action-packed movie with the tagline ‘…don’t ever, ever let them get in the cars.’”

brown-cocktails---2
Dean Hurst

The Getaway Car
Created by Dean Hurst of SideBern’s Restaurant 
1 ½ oz. Sagatiba Velha Esplendida
1 oz. Compass Box Orangerie scotch whisky infusion
¾ oz. fresh lime juice
¼ oz. simple syrup (or more if you like a sweeter, less acidic quaff)

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake to combine. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a flamed orange peel.

Plus: Check out Hungry Beast, for more news on the latest restaurants, hot chefs, and tasty recipes.

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.