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Mildred Pierce pitcher cocktails
July 8, 2014 12:58 PM   Subscribe

I'm hosting a Mildred Pierce (the movie, not the series) viewing party on an upcoming summer evening and want to make snacks and a pitcher of summer drinks appropriate to the movie. What should I make? Assume 12ish people coming, 1.5 hours to make drinks and food (+ prep time the night before).

I have easy access to decent liquor stores, excellent supermarkets including Trader Joe's, and have a lemon tree and a SodaStream (not into the politics, but I do already have it...), so have plentiful access to fresh lemon juice and soda water. I've read the book and seen the movie enough that I get them confused, so I'm struggling to think of what is appropriate for the movie. I also don't want to rewatch the movie before I host the screening, so I'm limited to my memory and yours. I also have a belgian waffle maker, which is thematically relevant to the chicken and waffles thing. I'm a vegetarian and don't want to cook meat.

Blending my recollections of the book and the movie, I'm circling around the ideas of...
-Scotch (mentioned in the book for sure)
-Gin (Bert's bathtub gin)
-Two drops of one of the above with a bunch of soda water (like Bert made for the girls)
-Fried chicken (out for veggie reasons)
-Pie (mini pies? something from Trader Joe's?)
-Waffles (suggestions about how to keep these delicious when served at room temp?)

Drinks at 7, movie at 8, so I thiiiink I can get away with substantial snacks rather than a full meal (feel free to disabuse me of this belief, I did read that recent Ask). I'd like things that are relevant to Mildred Pierce, ish, but nothing so obscure or un-delicious that it will mystify people who haven't seen the move/read the books.

I'm pretty into the idea of having a pitcher of drinks. This screening will be part of a series and I want that to become A Thing that happens at this series.

Recipes, suggestions, etc? Other entertaining suggestions?
posted by verbyournouns to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh god I love Mildred Pierce so much. Unfortunately I haven't seen it in a while, but I'll do the best I can.

The restaurant in the movie is definitely not chicken and waffle themed. It is just a standard restaurant with nice diner-type fare. I believe mashed potatoes were involved.

Pies for sure. Absolutely pies.

I think Kay is often seen chewing on a wad of gum, to play up her tomboyishness.

Veda spends some time singing in a tacky club, and I think they serve those ridiculous tropical drinks with umbrellas there, but I may just be making that up.

Since the movie is so melodramatic and noiry, probably anything with a speakeasy vibe would play well.
posted by phunniemee at 1:24 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


I love that movie, too. Your party sounds awesome.

I would say you definitely need pies, as there are more scenes of her cooking pies than any other food. Mini-pies might be good for the purpose of your party.

I am fairly sure the restaurant (in the original film) does serve fried chicken (this article seems to support that) but I'm not sure about the waffles.

In terms of drinks, it's really common in this era for characters to offer one another a drink but not to specify what that drink is. The quotes from the film cited here (about halfway down the page) suggest that happens in Mildred Pierce. I think you could pick any drink (here's some film noir cocktails if you want inspiration), but I'd focus on presentation if you want to go all out. A vintage soda dispenser would be awesome (see screenshots of this being used in the film here) and vintage glasses would be great too. Have fun!
posted by leitmotif at 1:50 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


Malibu Bay Breeze (The location for Monte's beach house was in Malibu)

Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria (After the song "Ida, Sweet as Apple Cider")

Make sure to have planty of Pepsi on hand - Joan Crawford was married to the Chairman of the Board of Pepsi-Cola, was elected to the board herself after his death.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:00 PM on July 8


If I were to attend a Mildred Pierce-themed gathering--and oh man, how desperately do I want that for myself!--I would definitely expect an assortment of pies. I'd ditch the waffles (since as phunniemee notes, they're not in the movie) and focus on the pies.

Mildred's fried chicken is a Big Deal, though. (It's delicious! It's Mildred's signature dish! Veda hates it!) How about some meatless "chicken" tenders from Trader Joe's?

Most of the drinks in the movie are of the stiff, non-specifically noir-ish variety. A fruity tropical drink from Wally's club could work; or, rename existing pitcher-friendly cocktails for various characters. Something extravagant for Monte, something bitter for Veda, something sweet but tragic for Kay.

Enjoy your party!
posted by 2or3things at 2:02 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


There's always the Monte Carlo and the Monte Carlo Imperial, of course, but I'm not sure either one lends itself to pitcherization that well.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:05 PM on July 8


Building on 2or3things's idea, you could rename the La Vida Loca cocktail "La Veda Loca," but it actually doesn't sound very good to me, with the pepper vodka.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:09 PM on July 8


In terms of drinks, it's really common in this era for characters to offer one another a drink but not to specify what that drink is. The quotes from the film cited here (about halfway down the page) suggest that happens in Mildred Pierce. I think you could pick any drink (here's some film noir cocktails if you want inspiration)
My grandmother loved a highball. This time of year, I'm a sucker for a gin & tonic.
posted by editorgrrl at 2:42 PM on July 8


So, thanks to this question I decided it had been far, far too long since I watched this, and so got home from work and watched it. While I was there I jotted down every mention of a consumable. Here you go:

-cheap, unspecified other than cheap liquor, straight
-unnamed liquor with soda
-a cigarette
-cake
-scotch and soda (but there is no soda) so scotch and water
-cup of tea, roast chicken HOLD the gravy, roast chicken hold veg, steak medium, club sandwich, cobb salad
-pies, many many pies, specifically named peach, cherry, berry, pumpkin
-unnamed celebratory liquor (at restaurant purchase)
-"How do you like your drink?" "Harmless"
-oxygen (poor Kay)
-hot tea from Mrs. Bert's Ladyfriend
-(at Mildred's first restaurant) short stack easy on the butter, fried chicken, (Vice President in Charge of the) potatoes (which upon closer inspection appear to be french fries), a dry martini
-more cigarettes
-champagne for Veda and Ted
-"good bourbon" straight
-alligators that eat their young
-rum collins
-beer (because it's full of vitamins)
-Veda's birthday cake and a pile of champagne ('27 Pere et Fils)

I feel that this list is reasonably comprehensive. Have fun at your party!
posted by phunniemee at 7:04 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


Damn, phunniemee.
posted by verbyournouns at 7:12 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


It was either that or fold laundry.
posted by phunniemee at 7:16 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


Mary Pickford. Initials are the same, there's a play on words with pick and pierce, it's from roughly the same era, and it's a good summertime drink.

2 oz. white rum

1 oz. pineapple juice

1 barspoon grenadine

1 barspoon maraschino liqueur

Tools: shaker, strainer

Glass: cocktail

Garnish: brandied cherry

Combine all ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish.
posted by Jawn at 7:25 PM on July 8


You can't get more noire than a gimlet half roses and half gin. If you're looking for a noire cocktail that's why I'd suggest.
posted by Carillon at 10:23 PM on July 8


So, thanks to this question I decided it had been far, far too long since I watched this, and so got home from work and watched it. While I was there I jotted down every mention of a consumable. Here you go:

...
-cup of tea, roast chicken HOLD the gravy, roast chicken hold veg, steak medium, club sandwich, cobb salad
...
-champagne for Veda and Ted
...
-Veda's birthday cake and a pile of champagne ('27 Pere et Fils)

I feel that this list is reasonably comprehensive. Have fun at your party!


First, just let me say, "Wowee-wow-wow!" to your research!

Mini club sandwiches would make great party foods. You could make them on those little cocktail breads, or make them packed tightly on regular bread, cut in triangles, and make sure they're well-skewered on long-frilly toothpicks. Vegetarien versions are delicious with or without saoy meat and/or bacon replacements. You could have big platters of varied minis or quarters.

Pitcher cocktails based on champagne would also be awesome, seeing as how there are two whole champagne-drinking scenes in the movie! Any white-wine sangria can be made with champagne, but here are some specific recipes: This one isn't pitcherated, but I noticed in later movies that Ann Blyth had red hair, so I thought honorable metion had to go to a cocktail called the Redhead in Bed.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:29 AM on July 9


You could decorate with streamers of oil-spotted "fifty-dollar bills" that smell like bacon.
(I was going to suggest serving hamburgers, but it turned out that I remember this favorite quote incorrectly: "I don't notice you shrinking away from a $50 dollar bill because it happens to smell of grease.")
posted by mimi at 10:57 AM on July 9


Thanks, all! Menu conclusion: pies (mini-pies probably), good bourbon straight, rum collins (meeting my Mildred Pierce needs and my plentiful ingredient needs!).

The delicious cocktail suggestions here will not go to waste: other films in this series (series theme is: LGBT culturally influential films! with queer cultural criticism readings as an option!) are absolutely going to use them. I kind of want to do "Pillow Talk" with one of the lighter, fruitier cocktails and a cracker/dip combo in honor of Rex Stetson's moment in that bar with Doris Day...
posted by verbyournouns at 9:57 PM on July 9


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