What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? was a hit in 1962, but what people didn’t realize back then was that the animosity between the lead actresses was so intense, Bette Davis got a hit of her own in on costar Joan Crawford during filming; Crawford accused Davis of actually punching her during a scene where the latter's character beats her sister. The whole story comes out this month thanks to FX’s Feud: Bette and Joan, a Ryan Murphy project starring Susan Sarandon as Davis and Jessica Lange as Crawford. Bottom line: the two Golden Age actresses HATED each other -- so much so that Baby Jane ’s campily horrific plot about two sisters trying to drive each other mad might have involved less deliberate antagonism than its filming.
To fête the premiere, we enlisted Ian Hardie, head bartender at Brooklyn’s Huckleberry Bar, to create two cocktails, both coming with a formidable serving of bitters, but with one drawing further inspiration from Crawford, and the other from Davis. The Bette Blue -- named for the eyes that inspired, among other things, the Grammy-winning song that spent nine weeks at number one in ‘81 -- contains a shot of scotch, the spirit of choice for its namesake. Its dark blue hue, like her peepers, is at first sweet, but contains an unexpected smokiness appropriate for an actress known for playing difficult characters. The spicy and citrus flavors of orange, lemon, and cinnamon give a complex tang to the whisky.
While you savor its flavor, remember that it pairs well with a viewing of Feud: Bette and Joan, premiering Sunday, March 5 at 10pm on FX.