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06.10.11

Film-Inspired Cocktails: Super 8

Can rum keep the aliens at bay? Los Angeles-based mixologist Jason Robey crafts an out-of-this-world libation to enjoy with this weekend's sci-flick 'Super 8'.

What is art but a uniquely revealing glimpse at its creator's inner dialogue? We're privy to an artist's fears, hopes, passions, and fantasies, laid out on canvasses, written into lyrics, hammered onto buildings and woven into monologues.

An uneventful saxophone solo might reveal a musician's laziness, while a lop-sided clay pot might communicate a sculptor's conviction that the tiny details ultimately don't matter. A farm-to-table meal might expose a chef's desire to return back to the good old days, while a bartender's complicated foam recipe might betray his feelings that the cocktailing craft needn't be open to amateurs and imitators.

What can we infer of the team that brings us this weekend's new movie, Super 8?

Looking at J.J. Abrams' previous work, do Mission: Impossible III, and the television series Fringe and Alias allude to Abrams' deep respect for the undercover agents who keep our country safe? Is Lost an admission of Abrams fear of flying or perhaps about his more general phobias of abandonment and isolation? Is Abrams' screenplay for Armageddon an indicator that he thinks the apocalypse might be en route or that he believes the only way the world can continue to exist is if we sacrifice Bruce Willis?

And what of Steven Spielberg? Were Minority Report and Jurassic Park his warnings of modern technologies and the dangers of meddling with divine-like science techniques? While Saving Private Ryan and Flags of Our Fathers are undoubtedly two of the director's many opuses on the perils of war, the darker, evil natures possessed by some men, and a tribute to lives lost in historic struggles, is The Terminal a disclosure of his own fear of the JFK airport?

One thing is almost certain. Both men have imagined, if they don't actually believe, that something is out there.

It's hard to ignore each man's obsession with out-of-this-world subject material, whether it's Abrams' work on Star Trek or Cloverfield, or Spielberg's extensive work on alien-themed flicks: Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., AI: Artificial Intelligence or Men in Black II, Transformers, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

OK guys, we get it. You've successfully inserted the fear of aliens into America's psyche, and we also understand that when the alien isn't riding in the basket on the front of our bike, it will always have a way to get around that is faster, more threatening, expensive and terrifying than ours.

So if you're debating the existence of aliens this weekend, or pre-drinking before catching Spielberg and Abrams' Super 8, here's a cocktail recipe from L.A.-based mixologist Jason Robey that will make the conversation all the more flavorful.

Robey joined the team at Michael McCarty's popular Santa Monica, California restaurant Michael's earlier this year, after mixing up cocktails at New Heights Restaurant in Washington, D.C. and Bar | Kitchen in downtown Los Angeles. The mixologist recently riffed on the "farm-to-table" concept to create a menu of "farm-to-glass" signature cocktails for Michael's and took a break to whip up this Super 8-inspired cocktail in time for the film's debut this weekend. You'll have to shake it up and sip it for yourself to determine what you think this cocktail reveals about the man who made it.

Robey explains "the name of this cocktail plays off the fact that a train crashed in the quiet town of Lillian, Ohio while carrying materials from Area 51, which then unveils a series of unexplained and unexpected events. Like the town, the name Lillian in this cocktail sounds sweet, but once it collides with your taste buds, it really packs a punch and reveals a different story from the jalapeño-infused rum and the chili powder around the rim of the glass. However, the cocktail is quite delicious. Also, just like the spectacular special effects in the film, this cocktail is also very visually stimulating with its bright orange mango color, sprinkled with black specks of the vanilla bean.

Lillian's 51 Express
Created by Jason Robey of Michael's

1 oz. mango puree
2 oz. Mount Gay Rum that has been infused with jalapenos for six hours
½ oz. Tahitian vanilla bean simple syrup
¾ oz. fresh lime juice
¼ oz. Meyer lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake, and then strain off with a Hawthorn strainer into a martini glass dusted with sugar/salt chili powder. Garnish with a torched lime twist (torching really opens up the flavors of the lime).

To make Tahitian vanilla bean simple syrup, add 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Split one Tahitian vanilla bean lengthwise and place in heatproof bottle. Pour in hot syrup. Let cool.

To make sugar/salt chili powder, combine a quarter cup of sugar with a quarter cup of salt and four dry Thai chilis in a spice grinder. Grind until powder consistency.

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