Dec. 9 Captain of Industry
“It's Christmas Eve! It's... it's the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we... we... we smile a little easier, we... w-w-we... we... we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be!” It's not the first time I've used a Bill Murray quote to sum up what I'm feeling, and it certainly won't be the last. That holiday magic seems to have a way of pulling us out of even the darkest places. It has a light we need to weather this storm.
Guess who's back, back again? You're here, my thirsty readers, and I couldn't thank you more! Yesterday was a tough one. Feeling quite exhausted, I just didn't have the mental fortitude to spread cheer as I'd hoped. Today though, we are reaching back to that most favorite, and overdone on shakerofspirits.com, tale of Christmas redemption. I'm talking about that timeless story from the mind of Charles Dickens of course, only this time I'm referencing one of the more grown-up versions.
Upon wrapping up the film Ghostbusters, beloved comedian Bill Murray took several years away form acting. Apparently, Murray felt overwhelmed by his role in Hollywood, but couldn't pass up this adaptation of A Christmas Carol, not without his own script edits of course. The film would be known as Scrooged.
Since it's release in 1988, Scrooged has become the alternative Christmas story, putting a modern American spin on the classic. It tells the tale of Frank Cross, played by Murray, a Television president who's producing an alternative version of A Christmas Carol himself. The usual series of events takes place, with new spins on the people and places. Scrooged is the modern capitalist answer to the Victorian tale of holiday spirit. This was a movie which could have only been imagined in the 80s.
Perhaps the most visually powerful scene in the film is when Cross's old mentor, Lew Hayward, makes his appearance, ala Jacob Marley, and tells him he must change his ways. "I was a Captain of Industry, feared by men, adored by women." Cross then answers "Come on, let's be honest, Lew. You paid for the women," only furthering the crude illustration of these character and their lack of empathy. As disturbing it might be to look at this through our modern lens, at the time this was pretty hilarious, so I try and take things as they were intended.
“We're gonna need champagne for 250 people, and send the stuff that you send to me. Don't send the stuff that I send to other people.” That's the vibe we're left with at the end. Like all adaptations of this classic story, we're left with the notion that anyone can change, no matter how hardened they or their circumstances may be.
Growing up in this country, our understanding of Christmas exists in the fantasy of retail. I myself had no idea how damaging this can be, it was just what we knew as Christmas. "I want this. I want that." These are the things we hear from children. Instead of writing reports on the joy of family and togetherness, we create "what I want for Christmas" lists. I don't blame them though. We created this narrative. We fancy ourselves "Captains of Industry" after all.
Captain of Industry
1.5oz Amrut Old Port Rum (If you can't get your hands on this Indian rum, I would suggest playing around with other aged, molasses based rums, as Amrut has a flavor profile of it's own.)
.25oz Orange Curacao
.25oz Islay Scotch
1oz Blanc Vermouth
1 dash Absinthe
Double Old Fashioned Glass
Smoke glass with torched cinnamon stick.
Stir and strain over large ice rock.
Express and discard lemon peel.
Garnish with cherry skewered parasol.
*If you watch the film, you'll see where the idea for the torched cinnamon came from. Lew lights a cigar, even though the smoke goes right through his corpse. I know, a bit morbid for a cheery holiday season.*
As I've mentioned before, we're all dealing with a very different holiday this year. In some ways, it's almost like Christmas isn't happening at all. In another though, we can take this time to really focus on the things that matter in life. Maybe being a "Captain of Industry" should really mean being rich in love, rich in intelligence, and rich in the spirit of generosity. Until next time, my friends, keep shaking.