Forget drinking games. Here's 7 classic cocktails and the best movies to watch them with

All movies should be watched with a drink. I’m not talking about those loutish cauldrons of life-sapping fizz they serve in cinemas, though; good God, no. As a valued GamesRadar+ patron, I intend to mix you something more distinguished. Even the nice chianti of Silence of the Lambs is beneath us. I’m talking about cocktails.

Below you’ll find a selection of classic drinks and the movies to watch them with. Book yourself an exploratory week off to try them all, or do them in one sitting and see what happens next. (Just don’t blame me when you’re having your stomach pumped.) I’ve also included the recipe for each cocktail, so don’t read any further unless you’re old enough to drink. 

1. Singapore Sling

Drink it while watching: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

You could drink anything with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The entire movie is a mescal slide of dangerous excess, and trying to keep up with the substances consumed on screen would be enough to kill an adult hippo. Seriously. Don’t even consider it. Instead, if you’re going to drink one thing while watching Fear and Loathing, make it a Singapore Sling. Your excuse is that Raoul Duke and Dr Gonzo are seen drinking these at the the Pogo Lounge of the Beverly Hills Hotel (with mescal on the side, naturally). 

Recipe:

1 1⁄2 oz gin
1⁄2 oz cherry brandy
1⁄4 oz Cointreau liqueur
1⁄4 oz benedictine
4 oz pineapple juice
1⁄2 oz lime juice
1⁄3 oz grenadine
1 dash bitters

Shake with ice, strain into an ice filled collins glass, garnish with cherry and slice of pineapple.

2. Gibson Martini

Drink it while watching: North by Northwest (1959)

The Gibson goes with North by Northwest because Cary Grant’s Roger Thornhill drinks one when he first meets Eve Kendall. More than that, there’s something crisply Hitchcockian about the Martini. It’s a meticulous celebration of simple things done well, and the Gibson is the most Hitch incarnation of all. Forget the drab predictability of an olive, the clinical sting of lemon; your garnish here is a challenging cocktail onion. The drink itself is your grey flannel suit - elegant but obvious, tailored to your tastes - and the onion represents romance

Recipe

2 oz gin
0.33 oz dry vermouth

Stir well in a shaker with ice, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a cocktail onion (or three) and serve.

3. White Russian

Drink it while watching: The Big Lebowski (1998)

This is the opposite of the Gibson. A dishevelled, almost accidental drink, as drunk by The Dude in The Big Lebowski, perfect for spilling on yourself in a torporific fug. It takes no effort to make, drink or taste. The only thing you’ve got to do is make sure your milk isn’t off. There’s a more elegant version of the White Russian out there - one that uses cream instead of semi-skimmed milk - but that’s not for us. This is an lolling, indolent cocktail, perfect for easing yourself into a day of doing absolutely shit all. 

Recipe:

2/3 oz coffee liqueur
1 2/3 oz vodka
1 oz milk (or fresh cream)

Fill an Old Fashioned Glass with ice. Pour in coffee liqueur and vodka. Pour in the milk (or float fresh cream on top), stir slowly, and serve.

4. Manhattan

Drink it while watching: Some Like It Hot (1959)

There’s something extremely Marilyn Monroe about the Manhattan. Beyond the lurid, intoxicating appearance and plump garnish (careful now), lies a delicate, fascinating depth. To properly recreate the drink from the 1959 comedy classic Some Like It Hot, you’ll have to mix it in a hot water bottle, with ice chipped using a drumstick, served on a cymbal as an improvised tray. The rubber taste will put some people off, mind - you’re better off using a cocktail shaker instead.

Recipe: 

3/4 oz sweet vermouth
2 1/2 oz bourbon whiskey
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 maraschino cherry
1 twist orange peel 

Combine the vermouth, bourbon whiskey, and bitters in a mixing glass (or hot water bottle) with ice. Stir gently. Place the cherry in a chilled cocktail glass, strain the mixture over the cherry. Rub orange peel over rim of glass, twist over drink, discard, and serve. 

5. Daiquiri

Drink it while watching: Our Man in Havana (1959)

Your first daiquiri is a zesty metaphor for Our Man in Havana. You are Alec Guinness’s James Wormold: a vacuum cleaner salesman thrust into a world of espionage, out of your depth but gently enthusiastic. The good news is that, like Wormold, you’ll get better with practise. And practise you must, because there a many types of daiquiri to try, and it’s of vital importance that you familiarise yourself with them all. 

Recipe:

1 1/2 oz white rum
1/2 oz simple syrup
1 oz lime juice

Pour all ingredients into shaker with ice cubes, shake well, strain in chilled cocktail glass, and serve.

6. Vesper

Drink it while watching: Casino Royale (2006)

The Vesper is a thuggish, aggressive chokehold of a drink - the spirit equivalent of Daniel Craig wrapping his meaty forearm around your throat and squeezing until you pass out. If you’re still feeling brave enough to try it, the recipe is below. Kina Lillet, the original ingredient specified by Bond in Casino Royale, is no longer available, but Lillet Blanc will do instead.

Recipe

1/2 oz vodka
2 oz gin
1/4 oz Lillet Blanc

Shake over ice until chilled, strain into a deep goblet, garnish with a lemon peel, and serve.

7. Old Fashioned 

Drink it while watching: Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)

If this list included TV, we’d have Don Draper from Mad Men in this slot, but I’m committed now. Instead, you’re getting lovely Ryan Gosling making lovely Emma Stone a lovely Old fashioned in Crazy, Stupid, Love. This is a fun, tactile drink to make, and you can use pretty much whatever booze you can find. Try a decent, North American whisky to start with, and it’s like drinking a glass of history. 

Recipe: 

1 1/2 oz bourbon or rye whiskey
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 sugar cube

Place sugar cube in Old Fashioned glass, saturate with bitters, add a dash of water. Muddle until dissolved. Fill the glass with ice cubes and add whiskey. Garnish with orange slice and a cocktail cherry, and serve.