The Celluloid Pantry: Dirty Martinis and Sabrina (1954)

Pin it button big

Was director Billy Wilder a kitchen renegade? Maybe. Let's take a look at the evidence so far:

We've already witnessed Sugar Kane's (Marilyn Monroe) cocktail improvisation in Wilder's 1959 classic, Some Like It Hot (1959). When the sultry singer can't find a shaker, she re-purposes a hot water bottle to mix Manhattans on the run.

And then there's Wilder's Academy Award-winning drama The Apartment (1960), where C.C. "Bud" Baxter (Jack Lemmon), famously "serves" hot spaghetti without a colander, straining it through a tennis racket at the kitchen sink.

And now let's consider the director's 1954 romantic classic Sabrina. While we've already seen Sabrina Fairchild's (Audrey Hepburn) first disastrous attempt at a souffle, we've barely scratched the surface of this classic foodie film. Here, even Wilder's minor characters get in on the action, serving up martinis with a whole new twist.

Cigar-chomping tycoon Oliver Larrabee (Walter Hampden) likes his cocktails. So, while his son Linus (Humphrey Bogart) discusses gardenias, indoor and outdoor pools, and invitation lists for an upcoming wedding-slash-business merger, Larrabee Sr. turns his attention to more important things.

Poised at the elegant bar in his office, Larrabee Sr. mixes himself a martini, stirring it in a pitcher, then pouring it into an ornate cocktail glass. But when it comes to a garnish, Larrabee Sr. hits an unexpected roadblock: There's only one olive left at the bottom of the jar - and it's wedged there tightly, tantalizingly out of reach.

Larrabee Sr. tries dislodging it with a spoon, but doesn't make it past the jar's narrow neck. Then he tries his fingers, but they're just too short. He even attempts to spear the garnish with a paperclip, but no luck. He taps the bottle, shakes it, raps it sharply, but the olive just won't budge.

Then inspiration strikes: Instead of bringing the olive to the martini, why not bring the martini to the olive? With a flourish, Larrabee Sr. pours the cocktail out of the glass, and sips it directly from the jar.

Pin it button big

Dirty Martini
(makes one cocktail)

2 oz gin
1 tbs dry vermouth
1 tbs olive juice (or more, to taste)
1 olive

Pour the gin, vermouth, and olive juice into a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake gently and strain into a glass. Garnish with an olive.

- Nora

You might also like

Recommended by Apartment Therapy

Categories

Drinks, Cocktail, Drinks, Liquor, The Celluloid Pantry

Nora Maynard is a freelance writer based in New York City. Her recent work has appeared in Salon, Drunken Boat, and The Millions. She recently completed her ninth marathon and her first novel, Burnt Hill Road. Nora wrote for The Kitchn from 2006 to 2011.

2 Comments