I said I wasn’t going to do themes, but here we are with our third Ferris Bueller’s Day Off inspired drink in a row. This was not my plan, but the kid really enjoyed the movie and it inspired a bunch more conversation about all kinds of things. One of our realizations is that somehow he has never been to Chicago, which is weird considering how much time I have spent there and the fact that we announced his impending arrival from the Windy City. He was also very curious about the cars in the movie. We do a lot of car stuff together so that made sense. When he asked me about that cool looking car in the movie, I immediately launched into why the ‘61 Ferrari 250 California GT was important only to have him stop me. “Not the Ferrari, I know about that, what was that cool car his sister drove?” So, in honor of Jeannie Bueller’s sweet ride, won’t you please join me now as we stand and make the El Fiero.
I get it. I really do. I never owned a Fiero, but I rode in a couple. The cabins always felt a bit cramped to me, but I’m a big dude. If I had been more compact I would have been all over the Fiero. It looked cool, especially those early ones like the white 85 model featured in the film. The boy insisted that we see if Doug Demuro had done a review of this “not quite” sports car and we were delighted to find that he dedicated a full 23 minutes to reviewing the quirks and features of GM’s first mid-engine offering. During the video he quoted the first page of the owner’s manual which says:
“”Fiero. It means Very Proud. This description applies, not only to your new Pontiac, but to individuals like yourself who have recognized an outstanding value in personal transportation.”Random Pontiac Copywriter, 1986
I had forgotten that it was marketed as a value conscious entry into the sports market and that its mileage was hyped over its horsepower. Still it was a great little car and I am sure a lot of fun to drive. When the Fiero popular, I was driving a Corvette, so I have already enjoyed the dubious charms of the two seater sports car with limited practicality. In college I had switched to Ferris’ dad’s car, the inimitable Audi 5000S, a way more practical, if somewhat boring, good German sedan, but that’s life. At least, that’s what all the people say. Still, there was something quirky and cool about the Fiero.
Of course, that put me in mind of this drink, which not only shares the name but is certainly quirky and definitely cool on the palate. The El Fiero was created by Aaron Ayala of the Ace Hotel in Downtown LA, a super cool spot that is also home to the truly amazing The Theatre at Ace Hotel, a restored 1920’s movie palace that is a truly incredible venue. The drink is a riff on the Grasshopper, but it comes at it from an unexpected direction that works in a really cool way.
Grab your mixing pitcher and pop in 1 1/2 ounces of blanco tequila I actually used Illegal Mezcal to get some smoke in there, 1/2 an ounce of cointreau, 1/2 an ounce of peppermint schnapps and a barspoon of clear creme de cacao. Add ice and stir to the beat of “Oh Yeah” by Yello. You know that one was coming, right? When your drink is well stirred, a bit diluted and nice and cold, strain into a chilled glass, express an orange peel over the top and garnish with that same peel only use your kitchen torch to burn the edges, in an homage to the car’s unfortunate tendency to burst into flames when no one was looking. Seriously, over 20% of the first model suffered engine fires, something that surely made the engineers fo the Fiero “very proud”.
This drink is sweet. Definitely in the dessert or nightcap territory, but it is also lovely. The thing is, looking at this clear-ish cocktail the flavor is super unexpected. It presents as a martini but the taste is reminiscent of a Girl Scout cookie, a thin mint freshly plucked from the freezer of memory. Quirky and cool, just like the Fiero. The wife says it is certainly sophisticated, considering that it is all alcohol.
So that is the last of our Ferris Bueller’s Day Off mini-menu. I hope you have enjoyed this little stroll down memory lane. The movie holds up in a lot of ways. Having fun is still cool, helping your buddies break out of their shells is still rewarding. Making shower fauxhawks is still as good as advertised and singing Danke Schoen to crowds of thousands, yeah that is still good family friendly fun. If you haven’t seen it in a while, fire it up and watch it with the kids. Make these drinks and have a laugh at the people we once were, or at least wanted to be. Seriously, though, watch it again. It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.