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By: Ellen Mansoor Collier
You float into the ballroom to the strains of "Imagination." Your dress is black velvet; your back is bare. A mirrored ball sprays millions of glittering diamonds over the Art Deco decor. He smiles from across the room, caressing a martini glass he cocks in your direction. Slowly, effortlessly, he glides towards you, the crowd parting as if on cue. Kissing your hand lightly, he asks in a low whisper: "Cocktail?"
Cocktails were made for this: reuniting with long-lost loves over cold drinks on steamy Casablanca nights; soigne, square-jawed men who dance like Fred Astaire and kiss like Clark Gable; sleek panther women with ivory skin and jet-black hair who stepped out of an Erte poster; and sassy, sultry blondes with drop-dead looks and drop-dead lines: "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? Just put your lips together and blow."
Like moonlight, waltzes and Cole Porter tunes, cocktails are creatures of the night. They're effervescent Noel Coward comedies and Thin Man films, never the down-in-the-trenches reality of bloody war tales or Ingmar Bergman dramas. Gossamer plots demanded a case to crack, a damsel to rescue, a battle to win, a romance to ignite. You know the ending will, invariably, be happy.
In Hollywood, we'll always have Paris.