Friday, March 29, 2013

TV and Drink Pairing

Note: I am re-posting this as I had some glitches with Blogger and not sure if it was every posted the first time.  Sorry if you've already read this.

TV is the new great American art form.  It's more versatile for telling stories than film, and allows for rich character development.  But with scene after scene of hour long dramas, directors have to use plenty of scenarios and props to keep the story moving along.  One of those props is alcohol.  How many times have you seen one of your favorite characters sipping a drink, and you suddenly have the urge to join him/her?  This post serves as lighthearted guide to what to drink with some of the best shows on television, and why.

Mad Men
While Don and Roger pound straight pours of brown and clear liquids, respectively, you'll want a classic cocktail in your hand while you follow the exploits of Madison Ave. advertising executives and their lackeys.  A few suggestions: Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Sazerac, Martini, Aviation, Gimlet, Negroni, Daiquiri.

Breaking Bad
Unless you want to become a meth head, than have some whisky to steel your nerves while on this thrilling show that seems to ratchet up the tension, scene after scene, through the whole series.  Whistlepig Rye is a Canadian rye out of Vermont that has been featured on the program, but any brown pour will do.  Alternately, staring at the desert of the American southwest might cause you to get thirsty for something quenching like a wheat beer or a crisp IPA.

The Walking Dead
Anything you can get your hands on.  In the zombie apocalypse, anything goes, and any booze counts as premium.

Top Chef
Here I'd say something modern and creative to match the efforts of the cheftestants. A cocktail like the Porch Swing, which is like a grown up lemonade. Or perhaps the Rubicon, which involves lighting rosemary on fire. There are cocktails that involve food, one that I saw uses chorizo as a garnish. Or make a Dark and Stormy with homeade ginger beer by making a batch of ginger syrup and mixing with club soda.

The Americans
This new FX drama is quite promising.  A Cold War tale of KGB living undercover as average Americans.  If you like spy stuff this one is pretty neat.  I would recommend incorporating some kind of drinking game involving potato vodka shots.  Maybe a shot for each time the main characters put on a new wig.

Any Medical Drama
The Penicillin cocktail.

Timothy Olyphant plays U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens, a modern day gunslinger.  At one point he says, "I'm going to go home, open a bottle of Jim Bean."  Yes he seems to pronounce it "bean."  Jim Beam white is pretty boring stuff though.  I'd recommend spending the extra few bucks for the black label, or the new Devil's Cut.  The bad guys generally drink Wild Turkey 101 on the show, but when they run their own bar Boyd, the main criminal, says "give us a pour of that "Elmer T" (Elmer T. Lee is a Buffalo Trace single barrel hand selected by it's namesake, one of only two living men with bourbons named after them).  Raylan's boss drinks Blanton's in his office.  Yeah, you can pretty much drink any bourbon with this show.

Parks and Recreation
Ron Swanson's favorite is Lagavulin 16 year single malt.  But I'd say the show would pair best with a fizzy, bubbly cocktail.  Gin rickey, or champagne with hibiscus flowers.  Fun and light.

Amazing Race
Something with exotic ingredients to savor as the contestants travel the globe.  We made a cocktail with blood orange and tamarind paste.  It wasn't my favorite, but fun to try new things.

Bloody Mary.  Alternately, Dexter drinks a lot of Presidente Beer in early seasons.  Anything that would help with the stifling Miami heat and pair well with lots of blood.

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