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  • Brian Maxwell

Film Noir Cocktail Series Installment 2: Norma Desmond


In this installment of my Film Noir Cocktail Series, we take a little journey to the golden age of Hollywood.

In the film Sunset Boulevard, struggling writer Joe Gillis happens upon former star Norma Desmond while evading the repo-man. Norma hires Joe to be her "script doctor" while re-writing her comeback script. She eventually becomes obsessed with Joe, and the film culminates with Joe floating face-down in the swimming pool. Norma descends the staircase to the lights of the paparazzi, who turn out to be the police.

I like to re-imagine this playing out in modern-day Hollywood. Joe is moonlighting at a high-end LA cocktail bar. Every night, upon returning home, Joe is asked to make Norma her favorite drink, a Gimlet. Being the savvy cocktail expert he is, Joe creates something with a touch more balance than the tired old classic. This sends her into a fit of rage, and Norma murders Joe for tampering with her beloved Gin-laced Lime Bomb.

Here is the cocktail I imagine Joe making for Norma - a refreshing gin libation with a touch of mid-century tropics as well.

Norma Desmond

2oz Watershed Four Peel Gin

.75oz La Quintinye Extra Dry Vermouth (of course French Vermouth only for a lady of sophistication)

.5oz Pineapple-Lime Shrub

2 Dashes Orange Bitters

Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with a Lime peel cut into a film strip.

Sip with pretension.

"All right Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."


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