article

07.01.11

Lights, Camera, Cocktails

In a summer season cluttered with sequels, action flicks and alien invasion movies, San Diego-based bartender Justin Hockemeyer recommends a standout recipe for a unique drink inspired by ‘Transformers 3.’ By Brody Brown.

Summer is supposed to be a hugely successful season at the box office, and the movie release schedule is typically packed with incredible action flicks and big-budget films that bring audiences out of the heat and into the cool, climate-controlled theaters.

Though Transformers: Dark of the Moon will surely have little trouble crushing the competition at the box office this holiday weekend (wait, can Larry Crowne even be considered competition?) a lukewarm reaction to this movie’s release could also be expected.

Perhaps American movie-going audiences will be turned off by the fact that Dark of the Moon is the third chapter in this Transformers series, after being subjected to a fourth Scream movie and fifth interpretation of The Fast and the Furious story in April, a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean, second Kung Fu Panda and second Hangover in May, and a fifth X-Men and second Cars movie in June.

Maybe they’re exhausted by stories revolving around alien life after seeing Super 8 or Green Lantern earlier this month. Or perhaps they’re fatigued by the thought of rooting for yet another handsome protagonist beating the odds and triumphing over evil in an epic, explosive battle after cheering on Thor, the first class of X-Men and Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Okay, so perhaps not that last one, but definitely the first two.

Coming up with cocktails to honor these new films can be a bit of a challenge as well.

In this space we’ve already explored the concept of movie sequels, trilogies, four-quels and so on this season. Aliens were addressed earlier this month, as were the heroes who star in the summer’s big action movies.

Therefore, what unexhausted theme or inspiration could be plucked from the movie and shaken into a cocktail for Transformers: Dark of the Moon?

- A cocktail made with Captain Morgan Parrot Bay rum to pay homage to the film’s director, Michael Bay? Eh, a bit of a stretch.

- A cocktail inspired by the metallic looks and coloring of the Transformers, made with blue curacao, Midori, Campari, Chambord, Peach Pucker, and Goldschlager, and shaken in a metal shaker with a Matchbox car for that authentic, metallic taste? Disgusting.

- A cocktail designed to express one’s sadness over the absence of Megan Fox from the newest Transformers film? Perhaps it could be a tempting concoction intended to lure Fox back to the franchise, cheekily made with all the foods a fox would eat, which appear to be fruit, rabbits, mice, birds, reptiles, crayfish and…trash. Okay, scratch that.

- A drink for the film’s consistent star, Shia LaBeouf, whose name translates to “Praise God for Beef?” Perhaps a riff on the mixology trend that emerged in the past few years that featured fat-washed cocktails, i.e., drinks that use liquors infused with meat, leading to the creation of a cocktail that calls for only the finest, most praiseworthy meats to be infused into its ingredients? But with little experience in this area, the wrong meat in the wrong liquor could lead to something disastrous and downright diabolical.

- One pint glass filled with room temperature Absinthe plus 3 ounces of heavy cream. Stir…if you feel like it. Chug. Perform 20 cartwheels + 20 forward rolls. The resulting sort of wild destruction and chaos should be an appropriate way to pay tribute to a disaster flick.

Thankfully, when we’re at an apparent dead end, we can turn to an expert like Justin Hockemeyer, who creates cocktails at Whisknladle in La Jolla, San Diego.

Hockemeyer decided to use the “dark side of the moon” theme for the Transformers-inspired cocktail, and uses dark flavors mixed with Blue Moon Bavarian wheat beer.

“I decided to play on the words of the movie title,” he explains, “and use Blue Moon Bavarian style wheat beer as the base of the cocktail. Blue Moon has some really nice orange zest and coriander flavors that finish with a wonderful smoothness. I also wanted to use fresh, seasonal fruit in the cocktail as this is the common theme we use at Whisknladle. The “dark” fruit that seemed to work best with Blue Moon was blueberries. I also wanted to use a dark liquor that had some dark molasses and brown sugar flavors to it, so Cruzan Black Strap Rum was an easy choice. The last thing I needed to incorporate into the drink was some unique alcohol that you wouldn’t otherwise pair with these flavors, and Fernet Branca seemed a good choice. The drink itself is unique and dark, not for the faint of heart.”

The Dark Side of the Moon

Created by Justin Hockemeyer of Whisknladle

2 oz. Blue Moon Bavarian-style wheat beer

1 oz. blueberry syrup*

¾ oz. Cruzan Black Strap Rum

¼ oz Fernet Branca

1 orange slice.

Mix ingredients in a pint glass and garnish with an orange slice soaked in Fernet.

*To create the blueberry syrup, cook blueberries with orange juice, orange zest, and coriander. Strain through a chinoise (a sieve with extremely fine mesh) and let cool. Mix this juice with brown sugar and bring to a low bowl, thus creating the syrup.