Monday, June 9, 2014

Thunderball (1965) Part I

It has been a while since I've visited a James Bond film as part of the Sisco Vanilla at the Movies line of posts. Thunderball is the fourth movie in the James Bond series and it might be the most controversial of the films. The script for Thunderball was at the center of an issue of plagiarism and credit between writers Kevin McClory, Jack Whittingham and bond creator Ian Fleming. Now I don't want to go too much into the drama surrounding this, so I leave it to you to look it up. One interesting article is The Non-Bonds: James Bond's Bitter, Decades-Long Battle... with James Bond by J.C. Macek III from the Website. But enough of the litigious drama. On to Thunderball.

SPECTRE unleashes their most audacious plot yet with their hijacking of a NATO Vulcan Bomber armed with atomic bombs. All Double O agents are put on notice and Bond, after seeing a dead man with the same face as Commandandt François Derval (Paul Stassino), pilot of the Vulcan, is sent to Nassau. He is make contact with Commandandt Derval's sister Domenique aka Domino (Claudine Auger) who is the paramour of Emile Largo (Adolfo Celi). Largo in turn is the number two man in Ernst Starvo Blofield's criminal organization of SPECTRE. Intrigue, romance, tension, battles and cocktails are soon to follow.

After Bond makes his initial contact with Domino, he sits and has lunch with her where he has an unknown libation.

Later on at dinner, Bond orders himself and Domino an order of Beluga Caviar with a bottle of Dom Pérignon '55.

My, it must be nice to have a Double O line of credit. For more information on the Dom Pérignon line of champagnes, please refer to my first Sisco Vanilla at the Movies posting which was for the first James Bond Movie: Dr. No.

The next day Bond is parlaying with Felix Leiter (Rik Van Nutter) about what's going on with the missing plane and mixes himself the classic James Bond cocktail: Smirnoff Vodka Martini with Cinzano Dry Vermouth. The scene shift to something else, so we never see if he actually shakes it or stirs it.

We arrive to the scene with the cocktail that I want to profile. After some cat and mouse games between Largo and Bond, Largo extends an invitation for Bond to visit him at his estate called Palmyra. It's at this location that Bond is offered a Rum Collins.

Now I've touched on a few variations of the classic Tom Collins cocktail in the posts entitled Mr. John Collins, the Raspberry Collins and the Dorothy Parker-Collins so it would be easy to simply take out the Gin/Bourbon/Raspberry Vodka that I used in the referenced posts and replace it with Rum. The issue I have with doing this is that Rum is predominately and historically linked to limes rather than lemons. So I immediately thought of using lime juice rather than lemon juice to make the Rum Collins. I decided to go online to see if the Rum Collins with lime rather than lemon juice had been listed in old school cocktail menus/manuals. Luckily for me, I came across a source I was already familiar with.

On the blog page To Have and Have Another, I came across a listing for the Rum Collins. Now if you haven't read the book To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion by Phillip Greene, I highly recommend it. Greene touches upon some of Papa's favorite cocktails and how they intertwine with his literature and real life adventures. The chapter for the Rum Collins is one and the same as the post on the blog page.

The post is very extensive, informative and I recommend that you give it a read. In terms of the cocktail, Greene posts the following picture that is part of his personal collection which is a Rum Collins recipe and rum ad, from Sloppy Joe’s 1939 Cocktail Manual.

Rum Collins recipe and rum ad, from Sloppy Joe’s
1939 Cocktail Manual, from collection of Phillip Greene
Greene states: You can use a lighter rum, a darker aged rum, or a combination of both.  Add a splash of Angostura or Fee Brothers Aromatic Bitters for an extra bit of spice. So following the Sloppy Joe's recipe and the listed recipe in the post for a Rum Collins:
Rum Collins
2 oz rum
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
4 oz sparkling water

Add all ingredients to a tall Collins glass (10 oz) filled with ice.  Garnish with a wedge of whichever citrus fruit you’re using.  Stir and serve.
Greene also states that Hemingway would have likely not had his drink with the teaspoon of sugar. Why? Well Papa was a diabetic. That's why.

Oh, in Case you're asking yourself who "Sloppy Joe" was allow me to elaborate in two parts. Sloppy Joe was one of Hemingway's favorite bars in Havana. According to the article Sloppy Joe's is back in business: Hemingway's Havana bar reopens after half-century hiatus by Parul Guliani from the New York Daily News Book Blogs section dated April 13, 2013:
Sloppy Joe’s was founded in 1918 by a Galician immigrant Jose Abeal Otero, who had worked for years as a bartender in New Orleans and Miami. During the day, says Jose Rafa Malem — a 59-year-old Cuban native who recalls spending childhood Sunday afternoons at Sloppy Joe’s with his father — the bar was a mellow, family-friendly spot.

But at night, it was a different story.

The bar was a favorite for Americans, especially the wealthy and famous ones: Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner and Nat King Cole were all regulars.

As Malem told the AP, the Cuban native himself recalls run-ins with celebrities like Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox and Cuban singer Benny Moré.

And, of course, there was Hemingway.
This location also claims to being the place where the sloppy joe sandwich was invented. Though the article states that other places also claim to have done the same. By 1965, the original Sloppy Joe's was shut down by the Castro administration's nationalizing of much private business in Cuba. According to Guliani:
It lay in abandon until Ernesto Iznaga, manager of the born-again Joe’s, began restoration work in 2010.
In the second part of the explanation, one of Hemingway's best friends was Joe Russell who often accompanied Hemingway on his fishing expeditions while at Key West, Florida. According to the Sloppy Joe's of Key West's website:
Joe Russell was a charter boat captain, rumrunner, Hemingway’s boat pilot, and the author’s fishing companion for twelve years. In his company, Papa once caught an astonishing 54 marlin in 115 days. Hemingway called him “Josie Grunts” and used him as the model for Freddy, the owner of Freddy’s Bar and captain of the Queen Conch in To Have and Have Not. Joe Russell died in 1941 of a heart attack.  He was 53 years old.
In terms of the name Sloppy Joe:
The official beginning of Sloppy Joe’s Bar, the famous and infamous Key West saloon, was December 5, 1933–the day Prohibition was repealed. The bar was destined to go through two name changes and a sudden change of location before it would become Sloppy Joe’s, seen by millions of visitors to Florida’s southernmost outpost.

Key West being a bastion of free thinkers even in the thirties, Prohibition was looked on as an amusing exercise dreamed up by the government–and Joe Russell was just one of the enterprising individuals who operated illegal speakeasies. Even Ernest Hemingway, who made Key West his home at the time, slipped over to Russell’s on occasion to buy illicit bottles of Scotch, and the two struck up an enduring friendship.

When the government’s Great Experiment ended a dismal failure, Joe Russell became a legitimate saloon-keeper-proprietor of the Blind Pig, a droll rundown building that Russell leased for three dollars a week.

The rowdy, come-as-you-are saloon was renamed the Silver Slipper upon the addition of a dance floor, but that didn’t matter–it remained a place of shabby discomfort, good friends, gambling, fifteen-cent whiskey, and ten-cent shots of gin.

It was Hemingway, a favorite patron of Russell’s bar from the start, who encouraged its name change to Sloppy Joe’s. The new name was adopted from Jose Garcia Rio Havana club selling liquor and iced seafood. Because the floor was always wet with melted ice, his patrons taunted this Spanish Joe with running a sloppy place… and the name stuck.
So there you have one backstory to the Rum Collins cocktail that both Bond and Largo feign to enjoy in each other's company.

In my next post, Thunderball (1965) Part II, I highlight a rum that is made in Trinidad, that is seen in the background of the chase scene at the Kiss Kiss Club.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla