In the 1987 film Wall Street, we actually start out liking Charlie Sheen’s Bud Fox very much. He’s young, handsome, and idealistic, and he seems in over his head in a world that is accurately portrayed in the movie as cutthroat and alarmingly fast-paced. In the first of the movie’s two pivotal bar scenes, Bud meets with his father Carl, played by Martin Sheen, at the Owl Tavern, a roadside bar near the airport where Carl is a union leader for the maintenance workers at Bluestar Airlines. It’s your standard blue collar spot filled with guys finishing up their day with a few beers while watching ESPN. Everyone is loud and friendly, and it actually looks like a whole lot of fun. Carl and Bud appear to have a typical father-son relationship, with Bud admonishing his father for smoking too much and Carl returning with “I told you not to get into that racket in the first place” when Bud complains about the day he’s had. Yet it’s also clear that there’s real affection between them. The scene is important for two reasons. First, it sets up Carl as representative of the working class, and the conversation clearly shows his disdain for anything related to the greedy world of big business. He calls Bud a salesman, a job title that does not sit well with his son at all. Secondly, Carl reveals a price of insider information about Bluestar that will eventually grant Bud a foot in the door with Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas). We also see how much Bud wants his father to be proud of him, and sense some foreshadowing in Carl’s line, “It’s yourself you gotta be proud of…”
The second scene takes place in NYC’s famous 21 Club where Bud meets Gordon for lunch. The difference between the two bars, and the people who are in them, cannot be more blatant. The 21 Club is all hushed tones and dark suits, to the point where Gordon tells Bud that he needs to actually buy a decent suit because he can’t come to 21 looking the way he does. This scene cleverly sets up Gordon Gekko as another father figure for Bud, paying for his lunch and a new suit, even though we can see right through the fake warmth and charm. It’s also where we hear the first mention of the illegality of insider trading, Bud’s resistance to it, and Gordon’s ever so subtle condescension as he assures him, “Relax pal, no one’s gonna blow the whistle on you…” Oh the irony, right?? Gordon also tells Bud to save the cheap salesman talk, a clear reference to the earlier bar scene, but leaves Bud with a check for a million dollars, marking the beginning of their alliance. The scene ends with Bud being served a huge plate of steak tartare, recommended and paid for by Gordon, and a clear symbol of the predatory and excessive nature that is so very much the hallmark of this Wall Street World.
For today’s cocktail, I decided to create a slight riff on a drink I made for my Beer Series back in the spring, which was in itself a variation of a Manhattan that used an IPA in place of bitters. I did this purposely because beer is still often thought of as the working class drink, and their way of unwinding at the end of the work day. The Manhattan, on the other hand, typically belongs to the business world, and is their cocktail of choice when their workday comes to a close. Neither world can exist without the other, and that’s one of the themes of this movie that’s played out in the actual confrontation between Carl and Gordon, and in the moral crisis that Bud experiences when he is forced to choose between the two with such disastrous results. What better way to show that than to make a Manhattan with beer as one of the key ingredients. The IBU (International Bitterness Units) of the Sixpoint Resin is 125, so it’s plenty bitter enough to stand in for the Angostura in a traditional Manhattan. I used a blend of Punt E Mes sweet vermouth and Cherry Heering in place of my original Bonal Genitiane Quina, to give a nod to one of the drinks on the actual menu of the 21 Club called a Cherry Envy. The Sixpoint Resin brings a brightness and cleanness to this Manhattan, contrasting nicely with the sweetness of the Cherry Heering and the richness of the Punt E Mes. Have one while rewatching Wall Street… Cheers everyone. Happy Monday!
Money Never Sleeps
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir until very cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe and garnish with an Amarena cherry and a grapefruit peel that you’ve expressed over the drink. Enjoy!