Lights, Camera, Cocktails
If you were watching television in the 1950s and still watching last year when NBC debuted Minute to Win It, you might have recognized what is essentially just an updated version of the old game show Beat the Clock. During the show, people perform very simple tasks under the pressure or a ticking clock. It’s a cheap trick, but America loves it.
30 Minutes or Less shares the popular premise of these game shows, and audiences can anticipate they’ll love watching Jesse Eisenberg squirm, stress, and squeal as he tries to beat the “ticking clock” device in this weekend’s new comedy about a bank heist.
It’s certainly not the first time Hollywood has dipped into this bag of tricks. We’ve seen the threat of running out of minutes played out across the canon of cinema as a—brace yourself for the pun—timeless theme.
Playing a mostly unlikable retired car thief in 2000’s Gone in 60 Seconds, we watch as Nicholas Cage is given only 72 hours to steal 50 cars with Angelina Jolie and Robert Duvall before his brother is crushed in a car compactor.
Denzel Washington races to figure out who really murdered Sanaa Lathan and Dean Cain in 2003’s Out of Time before he gets framed for the crime, and Al Pacino plays a psychiatrist who races to find out who is out to kill him before they’re able to in the critically loathed and barely seen 2007 thriller 88 Minutes. Equally big fans of ticking devices, screenwriters often love to combine the nervousness we feel watching countdowns on clocks with our fear of fiery explosions, and put timers on bombs to really make the protagonists of our favorite films and TV series sweat.
Many of us also spent years shouting at our TVs, nervous that Kiefer Sutherland, playing the role of our hero Jack Bauer, wouldn’t be able to successfully defuse bomb after bomb as he did for the eight seasons of the dramatic thriller 24.
And on the big screen, in movies from 1994’s Speed to 2008’s The Hurt Locker, filmmakers have proven they’re quite willing to play into our fears of bombs going off when the timer hits zero.
We have real-life, recent examples of this “time’s running out” terror, seen just last month when President Obama and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner took turns warning America that we were “running out of time” on raising the cap on the debt ceiling. And we saw how they all worked under pressure. They needed some Jack Bauer up in that business.
This week, for a cocktail inspired by the release of 30 Minutes or Less, we asked for a recipe from Toby Maloney, a man so celebrated and extremely committed as a creator of quality cocktails that he is currently the head mixologist of The Violet Hour in Chicago, The Patterson House in Nashville, and Bradstreet Craftshouse restaurant in Minneapolis. On top of that he’s the cofounder and chief creative officer for Alchemy Consulting, a company that promotes creative cocktail design as a means of improving the profitability of bars and restaurants across the U.S.
The drink Maloney created is a riff on a line Eisenberg’s pseudo-empowered character shouts at a police officer trying to impede him in the film: “Guess what? You just brought a gun to a bomb fight, officer!”
“This is a take on a Ramos Gin Fizz but done as a ‘bomb,’” Maloney explains. “The Gunpowder green tea simple syrup adds complexity, and the hopped bitters add a whiff of cannabis.”
“The Ramos is usually thought of as an easy-drinking morning drink,” he adds. “This takes it to another level. This is only to be made at home, when you do the shaking. Order this in a bar and the barkeep might just pull a gun.”
Bomb to a Gun Fight
Created by Toby Maloney of The Violet Hour
2 oz. Ransom Old Tom Gin
½ oz. fresh lime juice
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
1 oz. Gunpowder green tea simple syrup*
1 oz. heavy cream
1 egg white
5 drops Bittermens Hopped Grapefruit Bitters
1½ oz. soda water
Shake all ingredients (except soda water) without ice for one minute. Don’t panic when you get a whiff of the Bittermens Hopped Grapefruit Bitters; it hasn’t gone bad, but Maloney does warn that “it smells like skunk.” Add ice and shake vigorously for four minutes. Strain into a pint glass. Drop in a shot glass of soda water. Chug!
*To make the Gunpowder green tea simple syrup, add 23 grams of freshly ground Gunpowder green tea to one liter of simple syrup (1:1 sugar to filtered water, dissolved into syrup form and used at room temp). Let sit for 30 minutes, or slightly less. Strain and refrigerate.