Cocktail fans of a certain age may remember the movie Midnight Cowboy. Jon Voight’s naive cowboy and wanna-be hustler Joe Buck and Dustin Hoffman’s con man Ratso Rizzo inhabited a dark and seedy side of New York that city fathers would probably rather keep hidden.

Based on the book by James Leo Herlihy, the movie was an absolute scandal when it was released in 1969. Although the MPAA originally gave the movie an R rating, concerns about the content and its ‘possible influence upon youngsters’ changed that, and Midnight Cowboy became one of  the few mainstream movies released with an X rating. (When it was reissued in 1971, it was re-rated back to R, even though no edits were made. Apparently, American youth were not nearly as impressionable as the MPAA and studio execs thought.) It remains the only X-rated movie to ever win the Best Picture Oscar (it also won awards for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay).

The Midnight Cowboy cocktail is also dark, but it’s definitely not seedy. In fact, it’s rich and delicious. For those of you that worry about being impressionable, don’t let it fool you – it packs quite a wallop.

Yields 1

Midnight Cowboy bourbon cocktail recipe
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  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. dark rum
  • 1/2 oz. heavy cream


  1. Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake well.
  2. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Unsolicited movie review: If you haven’t seen Midnight Cowboy, it’s worth taking an evening to watch it. It’s not just a good movie, it’s also had a lasting effect on pop culture. If you’ve ever wondered why so many movies have a scene where someone crossing the street slaps that hood of a car and yells “I’m walking here!” – well, this is it. Be warned, though. The adult content that so horrified the MPAA in 1969 could probably squeeze into a PG-13 movie today.

Random trivia:  According to Dustin Hoffman, the famous “I’m walking here!” line wasn’t actually part of the script. For that matter, neither was the taxi. As the story goes, a real taxi driver, frustrated by the street being blocked for filming, chose to ignore the barricade and drive into the scene. Hoffman never broke character to ad-libbed the response, and a classic movie moment was born.