George Clooney and other celebrity cocktail recipes
Clooney making his spicy Margarita (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)
By Tobias Carroll / August 25, 2019 6:00 am

Sometimes, to borrow a phrase from BoJack Horseman, stars and celebrities know things. Sometimes the thing they know, other than their chosen craft, is how to make an excellent cocktail. They can come to that through a host of avenues: some actors or musicians bartended in the years before they were famous, for instance, and picked up a good sense of how to make an excellent drink there. Like Leonard Cohen, whose tequila-based Red Needle is a cocktail we’ve been crushing all summer.

Others have gone into the spirits business themselves; for them, a good cocktail recipe is an essential part of making the case for their liquor of choice. And for others, perfecting the ideal cocktail is a skill acquired through trial and error over the course of a long life. Here’s a look at 6 distinct recipes from filmmakers and actors that might increase your cocktail knowledge, or offer a welcome variation on a familiar theme. 

Luis Buñuel on signs
They’re not celebrating Luis Buñuel’s martini recipe—but what if they were?

Luis Buñuel’s Perfect Martini

The great Surrealist director is best-known for critically-acclaimed films like The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and The Obscure Object of Desire. This month brings with a new film about his life told via animation, Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles. But Buñuel is also acclaimed in certain circles for his detailed recipe for a perfect martini. It involves preparing ingredients a day in advance, using a thermometer, and a wash of Noilly Prat and Angostura bitters. It also sounds utterly delicious. 

George Clooney’s Spicy Cucumber Jalapeño Margarita

Actor, director and producer George Clooney is also the founder of a tequila company, Casamigos, which he sold in 2017 for a potentially massive sum of money. If you’re going to run a tequila business, it helps to have a couple of good margarita recipes handy. Thankfully, he has several, including one which is made with an abundance of cucumber and a slice of jalapeño for a brisk, summer-friendly drink.

Alfred Hitchcock’s White Lady

According to a BFI article on the role of alcohol in Alfred Hitchcock’s films and life, the famed director had a penchant for wine and spirits both: in addition to a lifelong fondness for gin, the article notes, Hitchcock “later became a Grand Officer of the Burgandian Order of Tastevin, building up a renowned wine cellar that at one point numbered 1,600 bottles.” He was partial to the White Lady, a blend of Cointreau, lemon juice and dry gin. The BFI article has the full recipe, as well as speculation as to whether his variety was made with or without an egg.

Singani 63 ad
Where talented filmmakers, good spirits and photo editing collide.

Steven Soderbergh’s Singani Fat Radish Spritz

For a period of time in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the director/actor team of Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney made a host of acclaimed films. In the years since then, both have broadened their horizons with forays into the spirits world: in the case of Soderbergh, the delicious Bolivian spirit Singani 63. This recipe blends it with tonic and champagne for an effervescent, complex cocktail.

Bruce Willis’ Bison Grass Vodka Tonic

As anyone who’s watched the cult television show Party Down can tell you, sometimes the bartender mixing your drink might be an actor working their way towards stardom. Before his days of fighting his way through Nakatomi Plaza, Bruce Willis was apparently quite the bartender. He later partnered with Sobieski Vodka, which yielded an ad campaign and a couple of recipes prominently featuring bison grass vodka. Unfortunately, the partnership of actor and vodka company came to an acrimonious end.

Francis Ford Coppola’s Bonita

The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola was bridging the worlds of filmmaking and alcohol before it was cool. And while he’s best-known for his forays into winemaking, he also has a fine grasp of things across the spectrum of food and drink. As the weather grows colder, this recipe for a Bonita, which prominently features vodka, Velvet Falernum and hibiscus tea, should make for a savory night’s drinking.