What is this stuff René?
May 22, 2010 9:09 PM   Subscribe

What do Marion and Belloq drink at Tanis in Raiders of the Lost Ark?

It looks like vodka (its a clear liquid), but comes in a wine-like bottle and Belloq says "its my family label." He's a frenchman, so it makes me think of a wine, but they drink it like a liquor (small amounts done as shots/sips). Any thoughts, or is it likely just completely made up?
posted by ish__ to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: My guess is the French version of grappa, Marc.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:14 PM on May 22, 2010

Best answer: Unsurprisingly, this has been the subject of a few discussions on the Internet.

The bottle itself appears to have Arabic writing on it.
The Indiana Jones wiki says he was from a wine-making family.
posted by madajb at 9:39 PM on May 22, 2010

Don't forget that he's a stereotypical Frenchman trying to seduce a pretty girl by getting her drunk. He probably was lying when he said it was his "family label". I've always assumed that it was local rotgut.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:28 PM on May 22, 2010

My money is with MrMoonPie: if it's clear, and it's a family thing, it's probably grappa / marc.
posted by komara at 11:53 AM on May 23, 2010

Hmm. That particular scene is not in the Kasdan script (at least the version online). It is in the novelization, but Google Books preview isn't letting me see enough of it. In any case, that suggests that the drunk scene may have been partly improvised.

Some of the internet comments seem confused by the Arabic on the label, but this implies to me -- if we take the dialog as canon -- that Belloq's family might be pieds-noirs French Algerian. (Most Algerian wines, though, had Latin lettering with North African imagery such as camels.)

That said, Bellocq the town is in the Pyrénées, and that is the region best known for its liqueurs -- so it might have been almost anything. Although in that case, again, why the Arabic on the label?
posted by dhartung at 5:27 PM on May 23, 2010

Response by poster: Many thanks.

Assuming it is grappa / mark - can anyone suggest a reasonably priced but not horrible quality brand that would be available at Virginia ABC?
posted by ish__ at 5:19 PM on May 24, 2010

Response by poster: marc, dammit.
posted by ish__ at 5:19 PM on May 24, 2010

Do you ever get up to Capitol Hill? Schneider's has a great selection. I have a bottle of Giorni Grappa di Moscato that's quite good; at $15 a fifth, it's not at all expensive. I'm also down to my last bottle of a case of Quorum I got there; that ain't $15, but it is really, really good.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:35 PM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Cashion's Eat Place has a freakin' grappa sommelier. I mentioned to my server that I was interested in an after-dinner grappa, and she brought the guy over; apparently, there are a good many off-menu choices if you're cool like me.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:15 AM on May 26, 2010

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