Pairing wine with certain movies requires a leap of faith. How would you really feel having fava beans and Chianti while watching “Silence Of The Lambs”? Arsenic And Old Lace presents a similar difficulty.
Frank Capra’s film rendition of Arsenic And Old Lace stars Cary Grant as a newlywed who discovers his two sweet, old aunts are inviting old men to their home and offering them elderberry wine dosed with poison.
They do this as a sort of public service. They figure the old guys had nothing to live for, so they give them a little push toward everlasting peace. So, two sweet, little old ladies are revealed to be murderers. Sweet, little, old murderers, but murderers nonetheless. It’s a dark comedy with plenty of laughs.
While noodling around on the internet – we call that “research” – I found an interesting wine factoid about Cary Grant. Supposedly, Grant once beat Winston Churchill in a wine tasting contest! The score was evened later when Churchill beat Grant at cigar tasting. Is it true? Who knows? It was on the internet. But I like to think it’s true.
You can “pick your poison” for Arsenic And Old Lace, but how could you resist pairing it with elderberry wine? Manischewitz offers an elderberry wine that’s easy to find and keeps the cost of date night down – it’s less than $5 a bottle. It’s a very sweet wine, just like those little old ladies.
The trouble is, it’s not really elderberry wine. It’s made from grapes with some flavoring added. Not so bad, considering what’s being added to the wine in the movie.
You can make your own elderberry wine, or have someone you really trust make it for you. Just don’t use the recipe given in the movie, which calls for “one teaspoon full of arsenic, half a teaspoon full of strychnine, and then just a pinch of cyanide.”
Whatever wine you choose for Arsenic And Old Lace, we recommend opening the bottle and pouring in plain view of all present. We want the only “funny stuff” to be that which is in the movie.