We’re mixing the Spaghetti Western cocktail on May 31 for Clint Eastwood’s birthday. You may just be thinking of Dirty Harry and his 44 Magnum, but there’s a lot more to his career than that, even if he no longer drinks cocktails. That he doesn’t drink cocktails makes us sad, but perhaps it’s understandable now that he’s in his 90s.
There are some drinks out in the wild that call themselves the Clint Eastwood cocktail. But we’re making the Spaghetti Western cocktail Drink of the Day because that genre is where Mr. Eastwood got his first big break in the movie business. Besides, who doesn’t love a low-budget western filmed in Italy with primarily Italian cast and crew?
Clint Eastwood was born May 31, 1930 in San Francisco. He was our kind of guy, being asked to leave one high school for writing an obscene suggestion to a school official on the athletic field scorecard. It’s unclear whether he graduated, but interviews with his friends noted he wasn’t around school very much.
Eastwood was drafted during the Korean War but ended up as a lifeguard at Fort Ord. There a man with contacts in Hollywood met him and later managed to sneak him into Universal Studios. He auditioned, was deemed amateurish, but hired at $100 per week. Eastwood was criticized for delivering his lines through his teeth, but that became a lifelong trademark.
After some minor roles in short-lived TV series, his first big break was in the series Rawhide. His film break came in Sergio Leone’s trio of Spaghetti Westerns: A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
Those films were big successes, and Eastwood’s star rose to the point that he was offered the role of James Bond after Sean Connery left the franchise. That was a bad idea, and didn’t come true, but he broke out of being typecast in Westerns with his directorial debut in the thriller Play Misty For Me. Following that came his most iconic character, Dirty Harry, after Frank Sinatra turned down the role. There were five Dirty Harry films.
Eastwood has won 5 Academy awards. He scored the triple crown for best picture, director, and actor for Unforgiven, and best picture and director for Million Dollar Baby. While his on-screen persona gave him a reputation as a tough guy, he’s known for being beloved by cast and crew by being calm and easygoing on set when directing a film.
The Spaghetti Western Cocktail
The Spaghetti Western cocktail comes to us from the venerable New York bar Death & Co. We’ve mixed a few drinks like the Manhattan Transfer and the Oaxaca Old Fashioned that came from there. Those were invented by Phil Ward. Today for the Spaghetti Western we turn to what Jessica Gonzalez came up with in 2011.
The Spaghetti Western falls into the camp of variations on the Old Fashioned. But instead of a sugar cube or simple syrup it relies on the more complex flavors of Amaro Nonino. It’s a soft amaro you should have, as it’s a prerequisite to making the delicious Paper Plane. You may, in fact, look at the Spaghetti Western as a variation on the Oaxaca Old Fashioned. The key difference is just that Amaro Nonino replaces the agave syrup as a touch of sweetness.
Spaghetti Western Cocktail
- 1 oz Tequila Choose a reposado tequila here.
- ½ oz Mezcal
- ¾ oz Amaro Nonino
- 1 dash Orange bitters
- Garnish: grapefruit twist
- Add all ingredients to your trusty mixing glass.
- Add ice and stir to chill.
- Strain over ice, preferably a single large cube, into Old Fashioned glass.
- Express twist over drink and add to glass.