article

08.05.11

Lights, Camera, Cocktails

San Diego-based mixologist Ian Ward creates two cocktails for "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"—one for the simians and one for the humans—to toast this weekend’s battle between two dangerously similar species.

The opening lines of “I am woman, hear me roar,” might strike fear in the hearts of nervous, anti-feminist types, but even more terrifying to the greater masses is the roar of an angry, unrestrained animal.

Perhaps the reason we find so many animals utterly horrifying—besides their brute strength and giant, sharp, unbrushed teeth, and non-discriminating claws—is that they can’t speak our language, nor be reasoned or negotiated with.

Sharks provoke seemingly endless fear in the minds of the very large population of galeophobes. America’s currently under the spell of Shark Week, but our widely held communal terror was provoked decades ago with Jaws and teased and tortured with movies like 2003’s Open Water and even 2009’s Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus.

In case the shark movies don’t make you frightened enough of dark bodies of water, you can always watch Betty White encourage giant homicidal crocodiles in 1999’s Lake Placid, observe Owen Wilson, Ice Cube, Jon Voight and J. Lo try to escape an Anaconda in the 1997 eponymous film, or see how many piranhas can sink their teeth into human flesh in 88 minutes of bloody 3-D glory in the 2010 remake…because 2-D just isn’t scary enough, right?

As if the 1999 flick Deep Blue Sea didn’t sufficiently fan the flames of the public’s fear of “playing God” enough.

Climbing out of the water and back on land, we’re led to believe we’re even less safe because every animal and its mother appear to be hungry for humans.

From the creepiest, multi-legged critters to the louder, larger creatures, we’ve also seen Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas battle man-eating lions in 1996’s The Ghost and the Darkness and an out-for-blood grizzly bear make Anthony Hopkins and a really sexy-looking Alec Baldwin’s trek through the wilderness a living hell in 1997’s The Edge.

And you can forget about getting in a hot air balloon and leaving the unsafe ground, because we’ve also witnessed extreme avian aggression in Alfred Hitchcock’s succinctly titled 1963 thriller The Birds.

A small crowd of people even sat through the 1978 film The Swarm, a horror movie about a killer bee invasion in Texas. Despite having a star-studded cast including Henry Fonda and Michael Caine, who described it as “the worst film he ever made,” the stinging stinker was yanked from theaters after two weeks.

The obvious danger of being in the wild is that we’re in the animals’ territory. But it’s arguably even more frightening when the wild encroaches onto our turf, where we normally think we’re safe, and suddenly we’ve got monkeys running down our streets, snakes wreaking havoc on our planes, and Andy Dick showing up at our favorite bar.

Monkeys are probably the most threatening because we’ve always been told they’re essentially related to us, so they just might have the ability to tap into the darker traits that we’ve been able to access as members of the homo genus. Ironically, in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, humans are the ones who’ve made them even smarter than us when the simians develop superhuman mental abilities from a cure intended to help Alzheimer’s patients. Suddenly, the apes we’ve brought out of the jungle and into the city, to serve as subjects of our humanly purpose, are capable of, and eager to, create a new system of (dis)order.

As if the 1999 flick Deep Blue Sea didn’t sufficiently fan the flames of the public’s fear of “playing God” enough and terrorize people with the worst, most unlikely scenario of what might happen when we take bold but necessary leaps in science and lab experimentation. In that sci-fi thriller, scientists searched for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and tinkered with a set of Mako sharks only to wind up accidentally making them sharper, faster, and  more calculating. Hey...wait a minute!

After devoting plenty of space to detailing animals’ beastly thirst for human blood, here are two cocktails that will complement your thirst for Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

This week we consulted mixologist Ian Ward, who, together with Lucien Conner, forms the creative team of the Snake Oil Cocktail Company, a cocktail design and consulting agency. Ward previously served as the mixologist at Whisknladle, and since forming Snake Oil Cocktail Co., has designed drinks for several major national events as well as for the restaurant Searsucker  and the Quality Social bar in San Diego.

Inspired by Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Ward created these two recipes—“The Apes” and “The Humans”—which were also recently featured at Searsucker during San Diego’s Comic-Con.

Ward admits that Snake Oil Cocktail Co. loves working on projects with inherently interesting themes but “when we were charged to create drinks for the new Rise of the Planet of the Apes film, we were kinda stumped.” To get things rolling, he turned his focus to creating the first cocktail, “The Apes.”

“The obvious answer was to use bananas, you know, because apes like bananas. But how do you use bananas and make a serious cocktail? Something with substance, not just bananas for bananas’ sake. For a while we were playing with a version of a Last Word cocktail at Searsucker, substituting in cachaça. The banana, cachaça, lime, and green chartreuse combination seemed like it would work, and would also taste like a cocktail, not just a banana smoothie with booze. After playing with proportions and minor tweaking, we felt like we had made something that not only would make the Comic-Con client happy, but also something that would please any passer-by who sat at Searsucker's bar in the mood for a good cocktail happy as well, dressed like a Wookie or not!"

The Apes

Created by Ian Ward of Snake Oil Cocktail Company

4 tsps banana and Green Chartreuse jam*

1 ½ oz. cachaça

½ oz. freshly squeezed lime juice

1 plantain

Combine jam, cachaça and lime juice in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice and garnish with a semi peeled baby plantain.

*To make the banana & Green Chartreuse jam: Place eight pureed bananas in a pot with six ounces of green chartreuse, 32 ounces of water and ¼ pound of granulated white sugar. Place on stove and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, bloom five sheets of gelatin in a bowl of warm water. Let sheets sit five minutes, then remove from bowl and discard any excess water. Place sheets in a mixing bowl. Once the banana/chartreuse mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat and whisk the gelatin and the mixture together in a mixing bowl. Refrigerate in an airtight container; will keep for up to one month.

The Humans

Created by Ian Ward of Snake Oil Cocktail Company

1 ½ oz. Kanon Organic Vodka

1 pinch arugula

2 celery stalks

1 oz. water

1 oz. simple syrup

Juice from 1 whole lemon

In the base of a mixing glass place the arugula and one celery stalk diced fine. Muddle hard until the celery is completely pulverized. Add ice, lemon juice, simple syrup, water and vodka. Shake and then strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with one whole celery stalk with the leaves left on.