The Celluloid Pantry: Champagne and Casablanca (1942)

The Celluloid Pantry: Champagne and Casablanca (1942)

Nora Maynard
Feb 13, 2007

One of the most romantic movies of all time, the champagne just flows in Casablanca (1942).

Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart, left), the cynical proprietor of a stylish nightclub in Morocco during WWII, nurses a broken heart with bourbon and brandy, but recalls happier days in an unoccupied Paris with old flame Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman, right) and Mumm Cordon Rouge champagne.

And while the corrupt Nazi officials at Rick's splurge on Veuve Cliquot 1926, Ilsa's husband, the Resistance fighter Victor Lazlo (Paul Henreid), orders a classic champagne cocktail, and the jilted Yvonne (Madeleine LeBeau) drinks a French 75 (a cocktail made of champagne, lemon juice, sugar, and gin), the most memorable bottle is popped open during a flashback to a tiny cafe, la Belle Aurore, in Montmarte.

Sam (Dooley Wilson) is playing "As Time Goes By" and Rick and Ilsa are beside him, glasses set atop the piano.

Rick goes to the bar for a bottle: "Henri wants us to finish this, and then three more. He says he'll water his garden with champagne before he'll let the Germans drink any of it."

"Kiss me," says Ilsa. "Kiss me as if it were the last time." Her hand falls to the table and knocks over a glass.

Here's looking at you, kid.

Classic Champagne Cocktail
(makes one)

2/3 oz cognac
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 sugar cube

Place sugar cube in a champagne glass and soak with Angostura bitters. Gently layer in the cognac, then top up the glass with champagne. Garnish with an orange slice and a Maraschino cherry.

- Nora

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