Some Like it Hot

A Hot Drink Connoisseur’s Guide to Finding Your Inner Movie Lead

Admit it, we’ve all fantasised about playing a leading role in one (or more) of our favourite films. Maybe it was an action hero, an irresistible romantic lead, a brooding rake, or passionate adventurer. It’s how we relate to all those amazing stories that take us away to different and exciting worlds. And as we’re cosying up to our favourite movies or TV shows just a little bit more often in the winter months (there’s nothing wrong with that), we’re often found indulging in our favourite hot drinks at the same time. And each of those has its own character. So, while we’re making abstract connections as we think about what leading character we might be most like, what hot drink might describe our fantasy self best?


Rich, velvety and deeply satisfying, few of us can resist hot chocolate’s charms. It’s the kind of star that, even if he or she is not strictly your type, you couldn’t resist their gaze. It’s the Marylin Monroe or Elvis Presley of hot drinks – that classic fantasy that gets us all hot and bothered at first, but soon we ease into it and relax, until we find ourselves surrendering completely. We can worry about the consequences later. Whether the seducer or the object of seduction, pleasure really is the operative word here. See it as self-care and leave your guilty feelings at the door.


Whether straightforward and sensual or enticingly involved, there’s something invigorating about someone who oozes intensity, but whose sole focus seems to revolve around the thrill of the chase, on whatever side of the fence. It’s Sophia Loren brimming with joie de vivre, or a brooding Marlon Brando giving you that look. One of the sexiest things about cappuccino is that, in Italy, it’s considered a meal all unto its own – a perfect pick-me-up that doesn’t result in that unsexy, bloated feeling you get after devouring a bowl of pasta, for instance.



Some might consider this multi-layered lead to be something of an antihero, a “bad example” for lack of a better expression. Well, they can have their 1950s American dream. It is, after all, the era that gave us James Dean and Rebel Without a Cause. No one wants squeaky clean. We like a bit of spice to get the heart racing, but not in outlandish amounts – just enough to feel a tantalising tingle. While chai can, in no way, be considered a bad example of anything, its complexity of flavour is by no means the puritan’s choice. It’s bold – flamboyant even – and just so good.


Back in the day (we’re talking post-WWII here), movies took a dark turn that resulted in a type of thriller that became known as film noir. You know the type of film; stuffy cigar-smoked rooms lit through half-opened Venetian blinds, shadowy streets echoing high heels running away from the crime, broads you couldn’t trust and a tortured male protagonist remedying his sea of regret with too much booze. The worlds of film noir were fraught with suspicion and questionable characters, and we loved it! We all have a supressed dark side. If ever there was a hot drink that personified the conflicted souls we love to hate – Humphrey Bogart or Lauren Bacall at the top of their game – it is Irish coffee (or polisie koffie to put a local spin on matters).


Admittedly on the wayward side of the cappuccino scale – and we’re including lattes, macchiatos and cortados here – the red cappuccino takes a walk in generally unfamiliar territory (outside of South Africa, of course). It’s arguably more adventurous than the cappuccino, but remains a lover, not a fighter. It’s a dreamy Brigitte Bardot or a pensive Alain Delon in one of those classic arthouse hits; the kind you might not have seen before, but now you’re so glad you did – an acquired but exhilarating taste.



When able to side-step labels like “dry muesli” or “tree hugger”, there’s something so attractive about someone who embraces their natural selves without compromise; the thinking man or woman’s crumpet, if you will. Ingrid Bergman falls squarely into this category, as does someone like Clint Eastwood, both of whom have always remained true to self, and as the years went by, have gotten wiser with age. Often banked under the nondescript label, “tea”, tisanes provide an almost infinite variety of herbal infusions, as there’s scarcely a limit what you can steep in hot water. You can also crank up the exoticism or tone it down depending on your mood – whatever you put your mind to.