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As people recently learned by watching Ronda Rousey's brutal defeat at the hands and left foot of Holly Holm, it's no joke being inside a pro fighter's ring. Cinematically speaking, Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull (1980) and Sylvester Stallone's Rocky (1976) best exemplify the lumps that come from one-on-one pugilism. Their in-your-face, kinetic fight sequences deliver film's best secondhand knockouts, leaving the viewer staggering as if he or she, too, has received an unhealthy amount of vicious right hooks.
The same can be said for Creed, directed by Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station). The film, which opens in theaters nationwide today, is the seventh installment in Stallone's Rocky franchise, and the first one Sly didn't have a hand in writing. (Creed was co-written by Coogler and Aaron Covington.) Michael B. Jordan plays Adonis Creed, the son of Rocky's late sparring partner/best friend Apollo Creed; Adonis recruits Rocky Balboa in Philly to help him train to become as great of a fighter as his pops, and once he enters the ring, Creed captures the kind of no-holds-barred physicality seen in the original Rocky. Coogler makes you feel every punishing hit and blow.
The lightheadedness caused by enduring a series of glove-covered fists to the face isn't unlike the worst morning-after hangover imaginable. Multiple stiff drinks and a succession of uppercuts are one and the same. And what better time of the year for that than late November? Between the everyone's-home-from-college anarchy of Thanksgiving Eve and the eat-and-drink-like-ravenous-savages gluttony of Thanksgiving Day, it's easy to end up resembling Ivan Drago at the end of Rocky IV come Friday morning. But, hey, Turkey Day inebriation is as much of a certainty as a Floyd Mayweather victory, so why not do it as deliciously as possible?
Enter "The Undercard," our new Creed-themed cocktail dreamt up by TribecaFilm.com's resident booze-head/webmaster Andrew Rozal. It's perfect for mass consumption at any and all Thanksgiving parties, not to mention a refreshing alternative to the vats of red wine your relatives bring over for the holiday's festivities. Because aren't wine-issued hangovers the worst? By serving and imbibing in The Undercard, you'll wake up on Friday feeling like Adonis Creed—rather than Ronda Rousey circa November 15.
For some reason my first submission of Rocky's "six raw eggs in a glass" didn't sit well with the test group or my editor. Sigh.
Back at the drawing board, I set my sights on retaining the egg reference, while also incorporating Paulie's favorite Four Roses Bourbon (attaboy Paulie). The most obvious choice here would be a whiskey sour—but I figured a big screen icon like The Italian Stallion deserves something a little more unique from a tribute drink.
After a few 'bouts' behind the bar, I landed on this concoction: a funky bourbon flip that nods gently to the tiki gods. There's a lot going on in this cocktail; heavy hitters like Campari, Fernet and Passionfruit juice aren't the most frequent of companions; however, after throwing in our egg (or egg white, in our case), you get something far more mellow than you'd expect—with a nice texture, too.
For more Reel Drinks, check out past recipes here.
Our version of a bourbon flip, worked into a pre-fight punch
Pre-chill a rocks glass in the freezer, or chill quickly by filling glass with ice water and letting sit a few minutes.
Make cinnamon simple syrup, if not already on hand.
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker without ice, and shake for 15 seconds (aka a 'dry shake'). Once frothy, add a few ice cubes and shake until the outside of the shaker is frosted.
Strain drink into your chilled rocks glass and enjoy immediately.
Combine 1/2 cup refined sugar and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan, along with several crushed cinnamon sticks (we prefer Saigon Cinnamon). Bring to a simmer over medium heat, gently stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cover, reduce heat to low and continue simmering for five minutes. Remove from heat and let sit covered for at least four hours (overnight is best). Strain contents into a liquids container and refrigerate for up to two weeks.