06.24.11

Lights, Camera, Cocktails

Though Cameron Diaz plays a ‘Bad Teacher,' Dallas mixologist Michael Martensen finds it in his heart to create an apple brandy cocktail inspired by her newest film. By Brody Brown.

This weekend Cameron Diaz returns to the big screen playing the sort of part audiences love to see her in, similar to the bold, playful, sexy characters she dazzled audiences with in Charlie’s Angels, There’s Something About Mary, and The Sweetest Thing. (If only she could have played that sort of role in The Box, maybe her character wouldn’t have pushed the button and set in motion that awkwardly executed storyline.)

To be fair, Diaz does do well in more serious fare like My Sister’s Keeper and In Her Shoes, but she’s comfortably in her element when starring in a comedy.

Heartfelt “teachers change lives” flicks are always good candidates for awards ceremonies or selections for a rainy day; Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, Richard Dreyfuss in Mr. Holland’s Opus, and Meryl Streep in Music of the Heart. But watching Diaz join a talented comedic ensemble to play a foul-mouthed teacher who berates and bullies her students and the other teaching staff? That’s good for at least five hearty laughs if you count what’s in the preview alone.

Though they are often the inspiration for television or movie projects, good teachers are almost never the stars of the evening news. It’s probably because people are less entertained hearing about the teacher who comes in early and stays late to help her struggling students and more thrilled to hear titillating anecdotes about the ones who stay late to sip cocktails with students and assist with their sexual awakenings.

For all that those good teachers give us, what do we give them besides the last-minute, slapped-together essay, occasional holiday fruitcake or belated “thanks” on the last day of school?

When did the tradition of giving teachers even a simple apple start to fade? Though it’s so frequently a symbol associated with teachers—one sits on the desk in the Bad Teacher movie poster, affixed with a sassy note in front of a leggy Diaz—one rarely sees a real, edible apple sitting on a teacher’s desk anymore.

Even the defenders of all things apple-related, the U.S. Apple Association, isn’t totally sure where the idea of “an apple for the teacher” came from, They suggest it came from the old concept that kids who weren’t doing well in school would try to distract their teachers with the gift of an apple. “An apple for the teacher will always do the trick when you don’t know your lesson in arithmetic.”

Yeah…no wonder that doesn’t work today. Keys to a new car, double time off for summer vacation or the promise of classroom capacities that are actually enforced might be a more effective modern day bribe for teachers.

The apple is unusual in the world of fruit because of its dual identity. On the one hand it’s associated with all things good, clean, and healthy.

Apples have some vitamin C but are rich in antioxidants. Research indicates that apples might help prevent colon, prostate and lung cancers, aid with heart disease, weight loss, and reducing bad cholesterol.

Apples baked into a crust serve as an emblem of America – “as American as apple pie” and on their own can be a reference to favoritism when used in “the apple of my eye.”

On the other hand it trades in on its wholesome reputation to serve as a conduit for evil, danger, and guilty indulgence. For a pretty simple looking fruit, it seems capable of collaborating with a whole lot of trouble.

For a pretty simple looking fruit, apples seem capable of collaborating with a whole lot of trouble.

From Eve’s first sinful bite in the Garden of Eden to the dangerous poisonous bits digested by Snow White, it’s enough to make one think twice before accepting foreign fruit from reptiles or seemingly harmless old ladies.

And what food manufacturer hasn’t tried to sneak fat, carbs and calories into our systems, using apple flavorings and byproducts in everything from Green Apple Jolly Ranchers to Kellogg’s Apple Jacks and those hot little baked apple pies at McDonald’s, just so we don’t feel totally terrible indulging our sweet tooth, because, after all, there’s apple in it.

Perhaps we aren’t much better, because for this week’s cinema-inspired cocktail, we asked Michael Martensen, part owner and head barman of The Cedars Social in Dallas, to provide an appropriately apple-influenced cocktail for this weekend’s debut of Bad Teacher.  Hey, at least it’s not a recipe for the tired appletini.

Upon receiving the assignment and determining the direction of the cocktail, Martensen recalled the common apple adage that is derived from the old English saying, “Ate an apfel avore gwain to bed, make the doctor beg his bread” Martensen says, “As my teacher always said, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away;” I just prefer my apple in the boozy form.”

The Good Student

Created by Michael Martensen of The Cedars Social

1 ½ oz. Calvados Morin VS

¾ oz. Batavia Arrack rum

1 oz. grapefruit juice

½ oz. honey syrup*

1 turn of fresh cracked black pepper

1 red apple slice

Take all ingredients except for back pepper and combine in a shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain over ice into an Old fashioned glass and garnish with a red apple slice and one turn of fresh cracked black pepper. Serve the drink with a smile.

*To create the honey syrup, add 4 oz. of water to 4 oz. of honey and mix until both ingredients have become one consistent syrup.