by Karen Miner
Is there a better movie to VHS and chill to than Dirty Dancing? I think not. Except if we're being honest, it'll probably end up being more like "VHS and fall asleep on the couch after a couple cocktails." Which is perfectly fine too. Really, doing anything with Dirty Dancing playing in the background is acceptable, and I have yet to find a limit to my Dirty Dancing (or more precisely Patrick Swayze without clothes on) intake. Yes, I'm that annoying super-fan who can quote the whole movie right along with the actors, and that annoying drunk chick who thinks perfecting the lift "right here, right now" is a very good idea. (Spoiler alert: It never is.)
There is just something irresistible about this movie, and I will never quit it. Oh, how I wanted to be Baby in her angsty, awkward transformation from do-the-right-thing daddy's girl to sultry dancing queen under the tutelage of the super-smooth Johnny Castle. And obviously, once you're in Johnny Castle's presence, you don't not fall in love with him, even when it's forbidden and even if you do dream of joining the Peace Corps. Because as soon as he runs that powerful mitt down your outstretched arm and continues on down your side, well, that's all she wrote. Sure, you giggle, but inside you've melted. You're done. Johnny Castle is the only man for you. And nobody, not even a disapproving Jerry Orbach, will change your mind.
And that's exactly what makes Baby such a relatable leading lady. She's self-conscious and unsure of herself and has less than zero clue how to dance. And yet. She pulls it together. No, scratch that. She pulls it together like a bad ass-mother fucker. She learns that "this is her dance space." She learns how not to have "spaghetti arms." She keeps going, even though she's terrified "of walking out of that room and never feeling the rest of her whole life the way she feels when she's with him."
Baby even made carrying a damn watermelon and all its awkward aftermath seem like something I needed in my life. Of course, when it happened, I silently cursed Baby for making me wish for such a stupid thing. Because when you run into your crush at the grocery store with a tube of cookie dough in your hand and all you can manage to stutter out is, "I'm... making cookies?" you feel like a total jackass. And then you're just like Baby, kicking herself for blurting out "I carried a watermelon." Because now you're living the rest of your life with "I’m making cookies" playing on loop on the "Things I've Said That Make Me Want to Smack Myself in the Face" soundtrack in your head. If only the cookie episode had ended as well as the watermelon debacle...
It's that watermelon, obviously, that became the inspiration for our inaugural Maximum Middle Age VHS and Chill cocktail pairing. It HAD to be a watermelon cocktail, and to dirty it up a bit, it's got a spicy kick from a serrano pepper.
Baby's Dirty Watermelon Daiquiri
Makes 1 | Total time: 5 minutes
- 5 slices serrano pepper (or other hot pepper)
- 1/4 lime (cut into 2 pieces)
- 1-1/2 ounces rum
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- 1/2 cup fresh watermelon juice (see note)
- Watermelon slice, serrrano slice, lime wedge (optional for garnish)
- Muddle the serrano and lime in a shaker. Add rum, simple syrup, watermelon juice, and ice. Shake until chilled.
- Serve up (strained), or over ice.
- Garnish with a watermelon slice, lime wedge and serrano slice, if desired.
Notes: Use more or less serrano depending on desired spice level. To make fresh watermelon juice, puree watermelon cubes in a blender until liquified.