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Cary Grant: A Documentary and A Drink

This twist on the classic Manhattan is inspired by one of Cary Grant’s iconic films, and the great city in which it takes place – the Big Apple. For a New York City spin on the traditional drink, add sparkling apple cider and homemade maraschino cherries.

The documentary Becoming Cary Grant aired on Showtime in early June, and it is an enthralling glimpse into one of Hollywood’s most beloved leading men, Cary Grant. Pulling together footage shot on Grant’s own camera, words from an unpublished autobiography, interviews, and movie excerpts, the documentary illustrates the inner workings of Grant’s mind.

Born Archibald (Archie) Alec Leach, Grant’s childhood was filled with tragedy and heartbreak. Before Cary Grant became Cary Grant, young Archie was pulled into the dazzling and carefree life of the entertainment business. He joined an acrobatic troop and spent time touring around the country. He made his way from New York to Los Angeles, used his contacts to get screen tests, and Paramount Studios hired him for $350 week (very good money for 1932). Paramount didn’t believe anyone would pay to see an Archie Leach, and thus, Cary Grant was re-born, with a new name and new career in movies.

With a childhood that haunted him and feelings of rejection, two decades into his shining career, Grant was introduced to LSD therapy, which he did once a week for five hours at a time. LSD opened up his universe, as it released a chemical so he could see what transpired in the depths of his mind. While Grant was a force to be reckoned with on-screen, he harbored feelings of vulnerability that he ultimately tried to address.

Watching Grant perform on-screen, you’d have no idea that he experienced such heartache as a young boy. Perhaps it is because he has genuine emotions to pull from that he was the leading man of all leading men in Hollywood. Grant had parts in films that will forever hold a place in the hearts of many, and that still have an impact on new viewers today. Classic Cary Grant films include To Catch a Thief, North by Northwest, Charade, An Affair to Remember, Bringing Up Baby, and His Girl Friday. Cary Grant may have been the ideal tall, dark, and handsome leading man, but with each character the actor portrays, he proves to be more than just a handsome face.

One of my favorite Cary Grant films is An Affair to Remember, and this drink is inspired not only by the landmark in the movie, but also the city that brings the two lovebirds together, the Big Apple. To add a twist to the classic Manhattan, I added sparkling apple cider to the mix, as well as homemade maraschino cherries.

The Empire State with Homemade Maraschino Cherries

  • Servings: 1 drink
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1 pound sweet cherries
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup water
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
¾ cup Luxardo maraschino liqueur


1. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and vanilla beans and pod. Cook over low-medium heat until the sugar has melted and the mixture comes to a boil.

2. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool.

3. Remove the vanilla bean pods from the mixture.

4. Once the mixture has cooled, add the maraschino liqueur.

5. Wash and pit the cherries (I used culinary offset tweezers to pit the cherries).

6. Place the cherries in a jar that has a tightly-sealed lid. Pour the cooled liquid over the cherries, and cover the jar. Place the cherries in the refrigerator, and allow the cherries to marinate in the maraschino liquid for 4-5 days.

*The homemade maraschino cherries will last for up to three weeks in the fridge, but they probably won’t be around for too long once you taste them.


2½ ounces bourbon whiskey
1 ounce sweet vermouth
3 dashes Angostura bitters
2 ounces sparkling apple cider


1. Add the whiskey, vermouth, bitters, and cider to a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

2. Cover the cocktail shaker and shake until the liquids are combined.

3. Pour the liquid into a glass with ice and add a couple homemade maraschino cherries. Cheers!

© A Dash of Cinema

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