Jeff Bridges as The Dude in The Big Lebowski

1. Schnapps on white bread, Taxi Driver (1976)

According to Hollywood legend, acclaimed film composer Bernard Herrmann wasn’t interested in scoring Taxi Driver. But Martin Scorsese did enough arm twisting to make Herrmann read the script, and when the maestro got to the scene where Travis Bickle pours schnapps onto his breakfast cereal, he realized that he had no choice but to work on the film. The scene as filmed is even more striking because of Bickle’s choice of cereal—it appears to be torn-up white bread with milk, sugar, and booze. Poor, maladjusted Bickle is so far removed from society, he can’t just open a box of corn flakes like the rest of us. [Mike Vago]

2. Scotchka, The Room (2003)

While there are many terrible pairings in Tommy Wiseau’s cult disaster The Room, arguably the most ill advised is the Scotchka, a libation created from equal parts scotch and vodka that’s served neat with a garnish of sloppy dialogue. “Don’t worry about it. It’s good for you,” Juliette Danielle’s Lisa says after pouring Smirnoff into a rocks glass that’s clearly already filled with perfectly good scotch. Wiseau is skeptical—his character’s sole moment of recognizably human behavior—but she forces him to down it with the words, “If you love me, you’ll drink this.” Of all the many ways in which she is tearing him apart, Lisa, the Scotchka may be the worst: Soon, Wiseau is as convinced that the Scotchka is delicious as he is that his film makes sense, eagerly quaffing it all before he absconds to the bedroom for more awkward thrusting among the roses. It’s a baffling “What? Why?” in a glass—The Room in potable form. [Sean O’Neal]

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3. Alaskan Polar Bear Heater, The Nutty Professor (1963)

Professor Julius Kelp and his suave, take-no-prisoners alter-ego Buddy Love were among the most memorable characters Jerry Lewis ever created, and of Buddy’s spotlight scenes, few are as unforgettable as his snappy request to a bartender for an elaborate beverage. First of all, when ordering, be sure to emphasize the “Alaskan,” lest you get a different drink altogether. After that, be very sure that you’re paying attention while it’s being made: If it doesn’t include two shots of vodka, a shot of vermouth, a shot of gin, a little rum, a little brandy, some bitters, some scotch, lemon peel, orange peel, cherry, and a smidgen of vinegar, then it’s not a proper Alaskan Polar Bear Heater. (Interestingly, Buddy’s recipe actually involves the phrase “some more scotch” without having mentioned scotch in the first place, but we’re presuming that he considers the initial inclusion of scotch to be a given.) Lastly, once the ingredients are all in place and it’s been mixed nice and poured into a tall glass, just remember: Passing out isn’t just a possible side effect, it’s effectively guaranteed, so indulge at your own risk. [Will Harris]

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4. Whiskey, vodka, whiskey, and chocolate syrup; Loaded Weapon 1 (1993)

Jack Colt is a man on the ragged edge, a loose cannon who can’t get over the loss of his one true love, Claire. (She’s a golden retriever.) Like all emotional wrecks with a badge, from Riggs to Velcoro, Colt dulls the pain that “shatters your heart, rips at your soul, and keeps your days forever gray” with a near-lethal dependency on alcohol and unmotivated butt-in-the-moonbeam walks. He lives in a dilapidated trailer on the beach. Owing maybe to the light colors, the inside looks less like a mobile home and more like a palatial Italian villa. When Colt returns from a tough day of shooting bad guys, he likes to unwind with a large glass of Jack Daniel’s, Stoli, and Bushmills (equal parts), rocks, and two dashes of chocolate syrup, neither shaken nor stirred—the secret is in the layering. [Drew Toal]

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5. Whiskey and wine, Jaws (1975)

There’s a point in Jaws where water-phobic Sheriff Brody knows he has to take on the monster that’s been menacing his town but hasn’t yet enlisted grizzled sea dog Quint and his not-big-enough boat. Overeager oceanographer Hooper comes by the sheriff’s house with a bottle of wine, ready to celebrate what he sees as a big adventure. Brody, who knows he could be staring death in the face, pours a measured glass for his wife and his guest, then pours the rest into his own glass, which is already half-full of whiskey. You know you’re in a bad place when you don’t care what’s in the glass, so long as it gets the job done. [Mike Vago]

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6. Non-dairy Caucasian, The Big Lebowski (1998)

A White Russian (vodka, Kahlua, and cream) is an acquired taste even when made correctly. The Dude (or El Duderino, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing) drinks White Russians steadily as he stumbles through a mystery that involves kidnapping, nihilists, and a peed-upon rug. In one scene, The Dude is desperate enough for a “Caucasian” that he improvises a cream-free variation on the White Russian, substituting powdered non-dairy creamer—a substance you’d be ill advised to put in coffee, let alone use as a mixer. [Mike Vago]

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7. Redeye, Cocktail (1988)

“I’m looking for… something better,” says Tom Cruise’s Brian Flanagan to bartender Doug Coughlin when Flanagan comes sniffing around for a job behind the bar in Cocktail. So Coughlin gives him a quickie interview, asking whether he has any experience, knows how to make a vodka martini, or has the guts and know-how necessary to boot a belligerent 400-pound customer. Most importantly, he asks whether Flanagan knows how to make a Redeye. Coughlin doesn’t offer a recipe, but he’s in the process of making one throughout the scene: The ingredients include half a beer, half a glass of tomato juice, a couple of aspirin, and a raw egg, all gulped down without shaking, stirring, or giving the pills a chance to dissolve. It’s clearly either a hangover cure or a hazing ritual, but since Coughlin’s the one who ends up sucking the mess down, it’s clear the whole business isn’t just a gag at Flanagan’s expense. If it were, Flanagan would be wise to keep looking for something better, in a different bar. [Tasha Robinson]

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