Heublein Cocktails - Mister fancy.

Heublein was a company that made premixed cocktails you could buy in a bottle. If you were really jonesing for a vodka martini but couldn't be bothered to shake-not-stir one up for yourself, Heublein was your go-to. This 1966 ad for Heublein kind of makes me wish I had a li-bary full of what look like the opening titles from Frazier Thomas' Family Classics.

The marketing bullshit being used here is the well-worn "You will be just like George Sanders if you drink our product." The copy insists that George said "Pour a Heublein Martini. Most  people can't make one as good." This could easily be true. Maybe many people are useless at mixing drinks? Maybe he agreed to say whatever they want for a nice little check? It doesn't mean Heublein cocktails were any good. Nor does it mean they were terrible. It's the perfect advertising copy, in that it doesn't mean anything, but sounds like it should.

If you have a library like that in your house (and maybe you do?), do you put on your corduroy blazer and your ascot, just to sit down for a bit of a read? Heublein wanted you to think George Sanders did. It paints a nice fictional image of sophistication and refinement - exactly what Heublein needed to polish up the image of their lazy man's cocktail line. So who was George Sanders, and why did Heublein invite him to pitch their stuff?

Here's why. Listen to this guy's voice. George Sanders is all baritone Britishness and cleverness. He was the voice actor for Sher Khan in Jungle Book. This scene is brilliant, with the voice acting and the animation. Any time you get to animate characters being sneaky or evasive, it's a scene you can really have some fun with. All the guile and barely controlled emotion give an animator a lot of opportunity to have the eyes betraying what the character is feeling, while his/her voice is trying to convince you of something else.

So, Heublein went out of business in The Eighties, but premixed cocktails are still made today by other companies. Are they any good? Here's an un-blinded taste test by Eater in which they found out. Here's the verdict:
Our overall consensus was that made-to-order cocktails trump most of the bottled versions we tried. Although the idea of enjoying a solid cocktail at home—without the effort of actually making the drink and potentially spending too much money on ingredients—was appealing.
So premixed cocktails are okay, but not as good as a freshly made one. No surprise there. They list the best brands in the article, if you're interested.

Now that it's getting all Autumn outside, maybe you need a hot drinky-poo for when you cozy up with volume 2 of "How to Wear an Ascot and Not Look Like a Complete Tool", by George Sanders? A few Thanksgivings ago, I tried a recipe for mulled wine, found on the ultranet. It called for a lot of sugar and far too many ingredients. It was thick and syrupy, and if you ask me, sugar plus alcohol equals headache. So, I just tried heating up some wine instead. Well, heating wine brings out different flavors. Acidy, vinegary flavors came to the front, and the steam carried these flavors up my nose when I took a sip, stinging my nose holes a little. It was bad. So, I hit upon the idea of throwing in a little grape juice to knock that edge off the taste. Bingo. I will now give you the recipe as if I'm dying from multiple wounds in Danger 5, breathing the secret as my last, into the sympathetic ear of Pierre, the team's bartender.

Four parts red wine.
One part grape juice.
Cough! Cough!
Microwave for one and a half minutes.
Garnish with cinnamon.
The perfect Hot Mon Deiu.
I die.

You're welcome!

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