Don Draper drinks an Old Fashioned because he’s a man. Rocky Balboa drank his protein shakes—five raw eggs—for strength. Phil drank sweet vermouth because it was Rita’s favorite libation in Groundhog’s Day (and he was trying to get her into bed). And Alex and the gang from A Clockwork Orange drank their opiate-laced Moloko Plus’s to gear up for “ultraviolence.”
Some characters drink only what they can afford (not pictured: Homer Simpson’s cheap orders of the skunky Duff beer), and others are associated so closely with their drink of choice (also not pictured: Seabiscuit’s penchant for Budweiser, which personified both the horse and the beer as true Americans) that it’s difficult to separate the two. But when it’s an author or screenwriter playing puppet master, no drink gets ordered by accident.
The Cocktail Chart of Film & Literature, a new print from Pop Chart Labs, shows exactly where narrative storytelling and libations dovetail. “We started with what characters and drinks we could pull from the top of our heads. Then we researched, and got sort of lost in the close marriage of story and booze in the course of fictive history,” William Prince, Pop Chart’s managing editor, tells Co.Design. The team—whose past work charts the labyrinthine worlds of beer, wine, and martinis—had labored to create a literary-themed poster for some time. “As in all things, once we added alcohol," Prince says, "everything started to seem more attractive.”
Some notorious drink orders were easy to come by, like The Dude’s White Russian and Daisy’s Mint Juleps. Some stories actually need to be told without any alcohol at all, like the alien Edgar’s sugar water in Men in Black. But with only 49 signatures on the poster, some tales were, sadly, left on the bar room floor. “There were ultimately some tee-totalers that didn’t make the cut,” Prince says. “Captain Jean-Luc Picard’s, 'Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.’ was a hard omission to stomach.”
The Cocktail Chart of Film & Literature is available at Pop Chart Labs for $27.