Quentin Tarantino is known for placing pivotal scenes in his movies that create a great deal of tension both on the screen and in the audience, before they ultimately escalate to the point of shocking violence. In his 2009 film, Inglourious Basterds, there are several scenes that fall into this category. The movie opens with Mélanie Laurent’s character, Shosanna, narrowly escaping a French farmhouse after her whole family has been slaughtered right in front of her eyes, and it ends with a spectacularly destructive event that completely neutralizes all of Nazi Germany. In the middle of the film, however, there is a scene that takes place in a basement tavern called La Louisianne that becomes the turning point for the entire movie. The Basterds are meeting the German turncoat, Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) for the first time, and are shocked to discover that their rendezvous is to take place in a cramped, underground bar with only one exit. They have no choice but to go on with the meeting, where the situation quickly becomes even worse than they expected since the bar is filled with drunk German soldiers, one of whom will not leave von Hammersmark alone. Tarantino skillfully raises the tension in the scene through almost 25 minutes of dialogue, where the power shifts from Lieutenant Archie Hicox (Michael Fassbender) who is British but posing as a German soldier, to Major Hellstrom (August Diehl) an eavesdropping Gestapo officer who questions Hicox’s accent, ending with the American lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) who must make his way carefully into the bar after a massive gunfight leaves almost everyone dead.
The audience holds their breath as the scene takes place, thinking one minute that the Basterds will survive, while being sure in the next that they will not. In creating today’s drink, I had to try to echo this dramatic tension. There is definitely some level of push and pull that occurs between ingredients in a cocktail as they fight to be perceived by our taste buds. Could I find a way to make this work in my favor? I could certainly try. I increased the amount of Pimm’s No. 1 since it’s British and Hicox’s character has control of the scene first. I wanted the Jägermeister Spice to take over next to represent Hellstrom, and then give way to the Buffalo Trace bourbon, a very American spirit that suits Lieutenant Aldo Raine very well. In the first sip of the drink I tasted the soft, fruit-forward flavor of the Pimm’s for sure, before the Jäger quickly stepped in with its unmistakeable herbs and spice. Finally, the honey syrup seemed to attach itself to the Buffalo Trace, allowing the drink to finish up with the sweet notes that are so typical of bourbon. The lemon juice kept the cocktail bright and in balance. I’m happy to say that the action unfolded in the glass for me in much the same way as it did on the screen, with the energy of each ingredient bouncing off the others and creating the exact drama for which I was hoping. Cheers everyone. Happy Tuesday!
Au Revior, Shosanna
Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Double strain into a Nick & Nora glass and garnish with a lemon peel. Enjoy!
*Dissolve 1/2 cup honey in 1/2 cup warm water.