Frank Sinatra’s legendary Rat Pack was bigger than life and captured the attention of the American public. The group set the trends, style, and standards of the 1960s. The infamous pack of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford were notorious for their antics, song, dance, gags, laughs, and lots of booze in Las Vegas, TV, and film.
Sinatra rebranded his music in the late 1950s, and with an Oscar win with From Here to Eternity, he was riding on top. The group emerged from the Humphrey Bogart Rat Pack after Bogart died in 1957. Sinatra reshaped his own Pack with top talent and took the country by storm. Dean Martin was a very popular singer and actor who had split from the successful duo with Jerry Lewis. Sinatra mentored and helped singer and dancer Sammy Davis Jr.’s career. Joey Bishop was a leading comic at clubs and on TV. Actor Peter Lawford was married into the John F. Kennedy family which Sinatra helped JFK to win the presidency.
The group made several films together, including Ocean’s Eleven, Sergeant 3, Robin and the 7 Hoods, and Cannonball Run 1 and 2. Several additional films were made with only two or three of the members, such as Some Came Running, Johnny Cool, 4 for Texas, Marriage on the Rocks, and others. . Associated members included Shirley MacLaine, Angie Dickinson, Marilyn Monroe, Buddy Greco, Don Rickles, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, Juliet Prowse, and others.
Years later, Joey Bishop stated that none of them really drank while performing, it was just part of the gag. But they loved their booze and the following includes their favorite cocktails.
The Tennessee bourbon was Sinatra’s drink of choice, suggested to him by Jackie Gleason. Two parts bourbon, 4 ice cubes, and a splash of water.
Sinatra’s other drink. Martinis are a widely popular drink that can be made with either gin or vodka. The martini was also popularized in James Bond films and the recent Mad Men TV show. Recipe: 6 parts gin or vodka, 1 part dry vermouth. Mix in a shaker with ice, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with an olive with gin or a lemon twist with vodka.
The Manhattan cocktail originated in the 1870s in New York and was popular with the Sinatra Rat Pack. More recently it appeared on the Mad Men TV show. Recipe: 2 parts rye whisky or bourbon, 1 part sweet vermouth, 1 dash Angostura bitters. Mix with ice, stir, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a cocktail cherry.
Sammy Davis Jr’s favorite drink. Recipe: 2 parts whisky or bourbon, 4 to 6 parts ginger ale, ice, lemon twist. Served in a highball glass.
A Rat Pack favorite. Recipe: 2 oz. scotch, 1/2 oz. Drambuie, lemon twist. Served with ice in an old fashion glass.
Flame of Love
Dean Martin’s favorite drink. Recipe: 2 oz. vodka, 1/4 oz. sherry, large orange peel squeezed, ice. Use a lighter to flame the orange peel to draw out the oils. Served in a cocktail glass.