Drink Your Way Through '80s Teen Flicks With These John Hughes–Inspired Cocktails
Children of the '80s, take note: Dear John Hughes just launched a two-month run at DBA in West Hollywood. It's the latest production in the For the Record series, a theatrical experience that weaves legendary movie soundtracks into immersive musical narratives.
This time around, the films of the Brat Pack get the Broadway treatment. So do the cocktails. The bar at DBA is serving up a selection of $12 signatures, each inspired by the movies that made Hughes an inextricable part of our childhood. Here's a look at some standouts:
It's hard to think of Hughes without conjuring up images of his hometown — the standard setting for a number of the auteur's most memorable works. Accordingly, the Windy City is as good a place to start as any when approaching the drink menu. The Midwest might be frigid at the moment but nothing is hotter than mezcal — save for maybe this cocktail, infusing serrano chilies into the Oaxacan spirit in this margarita-minded mockup. The pepper provides only a gentle tingle on the back of the throat, a pleasing sensation for those who enjoy some spice.
A few other drinks offer subtle variations on bar classics. The Simple Mind, for example, is hardly more than a vodka cucumber gimlet — and is surely an acceptable example of such. But if you're seeking something a bit more lively, On a Bender is likely on your level. Essentially an iced Irish coffee, it unites Jame-o with coffee liqueur, Di Saronno and burnt orange zest into a sensible whole, delivering nutty, roasted, chocolatey flavors all but masking the hearty dose of Irish whiskey at its core.
As far as '80s John Hughes movies go, it's difficult to recall anything sweeter than Ferris Bueller and his infamous day off. The same can be said for the drink it informed on DBA's menu. The Day Off is a blackberry piña colada made with muddled fruit, pineapple juice, rum, and cream liqueur. With cloying flavor, and a thicker texture, the drink doesn't have the same mass appeal as its namesake movie. But if tropical drinks are your thing, it might make you twist and shout.
Also of note at DBA are its Prom Punch selections. Served from pitchers, the boozy refreshments make sense when bartenders have to navigate their service through live performers, who often act out scenes directly in front of audience tables. (It's not always possible to get a drink directly when you want it, so it's best to keep a stockpile on hand.)
The Teenage Dream feels like the most approachable option — a Screwdriver elevated with the addition of white wine and Elderflower liqueur. Served with melon wedges, a pitcher runs $42 and will fill half a dozen glasses.
Dear John Hughes runs at 8 p.m. from Friday until Sunday into early April at DBA. Tickets range in price from $39-$59, depending on seating.
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