Irish coffee

EMILY: You’re not needed here, Lorelai. Go get your coffee, relax. You’re going to redo your makeup later, aren’t you?

LORELAI: Maybe an Irish coffee.

Irish coffee is an alcoholic drink consisting of Irish whiskey, hot coffee, and sugar, topped with cream. Although coffee and cream cocktails have been around since the 19th century, the modern recipe is attributed to Joe Sheridan, head chef at the coffee shop of Foynes Airbase flying boat terminal, in Limerick, Ireland. He added whiskey to passengers’ coffee around 1942 to give them a pick-me-up.

American travel writer Stanton Delaplane claimed to have brought Irish coffee to the US, after drinking it at Shannon Airport, 15 miles from Foynes. Due to his influence it began to be served in San Francisco in 1952.

Lorelai jokes that because she has to put up with Emily, she’s going to need alcohol to relax, not just coffee.

“You drank some Boone’s Farm out of a bota bag and knocked a beach ball around?”

MICHEL: It was dignified, as most French ceremonies are. Poetry was read, a string quartet played, a ballerina performed.

LORELAI: You drank some Boone’s Farm out of a bota bag and knocked a beach ball around?

Boone’s Farm, originally an apple wine, now a flavoured malt beverage, due to changes in tax law. It’s made by E&J Gallo in California, one of the biggest wine producers in the world. It’s popular with college students because it’s cheap and sold in convenience stores.

A bota bag is a traditional Spanish wineskin or canteen, often made from goatskin. Modern bota bags have a plastic lining and nozzle.

Beach balls are commonly tossed around by US college students on spring break or at graduation celebrations. Lorelai is teasing Michel by pretending that his graduation in France was the sort of drunken frolic stereotypically enjoyed by American college graduates.

Beer Bash and Rush Hour

EMILY: Lorelai, there you are. You’re late.

LORELAI: Well, you scheduled this beer bash during rush hour.

A beer bash is slang for an informal party, often organised in the context of a university or office social event. It seems to be used particularly in Commonwealth countries like Canada, and doesn’t appear to be common in the US. Emily doesn’t rise to the bait of having her corporate event described as a “bash”.

Rush hour, the name given to the time of day when traffic is heaviest, the times of day when most people are going to or from work. Unlike its name, it usually lasts more than an hour, and far from rushing, traffic is generally slow.

Egg cream

LORELAI: Egg cream? Now, I never had an egg cream but it sounds just disgusting enough to be fabulous.

An egg cream is a cold soda fountain drink made from milk, carbonated water, and flavoured syrup (usually chocolate or vanilla). Despite the name, there are no eggs or cream in it. The egg cream originated at the end of the 19th century among Yiddish-speaking Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe in New York City.

“Michel ate pasta?”

GISELLE: I am. I will miss him so much when I go home, but thank goodness, he will have an extra five pounds to remember me by after eating all my pasta today, that dirty thieving boy.

LORELAI: Michel ate pasta?

GISELLE: Well, yes. Michel loves pasta, he eats it all the time.

LORELAI: Not around us. Here it’s all no-carb, low-cal, let me see if I can eat less than the lab rats do.

Michel and his mother Giselle are having a wonderful time together treating themselves to luxurious meals, and there must surely be some malice involved when Lorelai decides to “out” Michel as a fad dieter to his mother (it feels like a subtitute for a different kind of “outing”, and just as much of a betrayal).

When Michel and his mother leave together laughing and joking over coffee, Lorelai looks utterly disgusted by them, and mutters, “That is so wrong”. It seems that it’s wrong for any other mother to befriend her child and joke with them while pigging out and drinking coffee!

Jehovah’s Coffee Girl

LUKE: Not everybody likes it that strong.

LORELAI: Well, then I shall convert them. I am the Jehovah’s coffee girl.

Jehovah’s Witnesses is a non-mainstream Christian denomination which emerged from the Bible Study Movement founded in the 1870s by Charles Taze Russell; after his death, a breakaway group headed by Joseph Franklin Rutherford took control and chose the name Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1931.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are probably best known for their door-to-door preaching, distributing evangelical literature. Lorelai sees herself as similarly working to convert people to strong coffee.

Cathy Coffee, Mrs Folger, and Juan Valdez

LORELAI: We’re running out of coffee … I got it.

LUKE: Do you know how?

LORELAI: Do I . . . ugh . . . I am Cathy Coffee, mister, the bastard offspring of Mrs. Folger and Juan Valdez.

Cathy Coffee

I think a fictional coffee mascot that Lorelai has invented and is now personifying.

Mrs Folger [pictured]

Mrs Olson, or “The Folgers Coffee Woman” was in a string of television commercials for Folgers Coffee during the 1960s and ’70s. Mrs Olson was a Swedish neighbour who always recommended a cup of Folgers Coffee to other people in the commercial. She was played by an actress named Virginia Christina, born Virginia Ricketts (1920-1996).

Juan Valdez

A fictional character who has appeared in advertisements for the National Federation of Coffee Growers in Colombia since 1958. He is an icon for both coffee and Colombia. He was portrayed by a Cuban actor named José F. Duval until 1969, then by Colombian actor Carlos Sánchez. Since 2006, Juan Valdez has been portrayed by Carlos Castañeda, a coffee grower from a small town in Colombia.

“A big, pretty dish of lovin’ with a spoon”

LORELAI: A big, pretty dish of lovin’ with a spoon made especially for you.

This sounds like a reference to the rock band The Lovin’ Spoonful, founded in Greenwich Village in 1965 by singer John Sebastian and guitarist Zal Yanovsky. Their hits include Do You Believe in Magic? (1965), Summer in the City (1966), and Daydream (1966). The band broke up in 1969, but have had a few revivals and reunions over the years. An influence on British bands such as The Beatles and The Kinks, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, and into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2006.

The band’s name is taken from a line in the song Coffee Blues, by blues singer Mississippi John Hurt, a tribute to Maxwell House Coffee. There is a link in blues songs between a “spoonful” of something and sex (sometimes drugs); it has been conjectured that the “lovin’ spoonful” in the song refers to the amount of ejaculate in a typical male orgasm.

This connection between coffee, sex, and love seems very apt for Lorelai! It’s as if the coffee Luke makes for her is a metaphor for something else that’s hot and wet.

Lemon Coke

LORELAI: Sorry, it’s just. . .so excited about the ducks that, uh . . . do you want something to drink? You have good timing ‘cause we shopped yesterday, and in addition to a case of Maybelline Fresh Lash Mascara, I also bought some of that new, uh, freaky Coke with the lemon in it. It’s very addictive.

Coca-Cola with Lemon is a brand owned by the Coca-Cola company, introduced in 2001.