Dita Von Teese on How to Live (and Drink) Well

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The positively distracting Dita Von Teese. Photo courtesy of WireImage.

The incomparable Dita Von Teese was in town for the exclusive launch of La Maison Cointreau and, lucky me, not only did I get to see her perform, but I was granted an interview with her as well. I hope you enjoy this little chat we had (I sure did). I have to admit, I was utterly distracted while interviewing her. She’s as charming and kind as she is gorgeous.

Marcia Gagliardi: So a gentleman would like to order you a cocktail. What would you request?

Dita Von Teese: Well, my favorite drink is a margarita, as long as it’s made properly. I can’t stand margarita mixes or simple syrups. It has to be fresh lime juice, silver tequila, and Cointreau on ice; no salt.

MG: Done. Who makes you a proper one in Los Angeles?

DVT: Me. Unfortunately I always find that I’m the one making the cocktails for my gentlemen friends. But, you know, that’s just because I’m savvy at it, I’m used to it. I’ve been working with Cointreau; I know how to make cocktails. Most men only know how to pop a cork. (Both laugh.) That’s OK.

MG: (Laughs.) You’ll show them a few new tricks.

DVT: Yeah, yeah that’s for sure.

MG: So you’re readying your Trav-L-Bar for a weekend jaunt in the Packard. What would we find in the travel bar?

DVT: You would find Cointreau, tequila, lemons and limes, rose liqueur, and spicy fresh-ground chipotle pepper, and I’d make the MargaDita.

MG: Lovely. Do you have a preferred hangover cure?

DVT: I believe in mostly—well, I drink my green smoothie first, that usually sets me right. And then I have something greasy for lunch, you know, like Mexican food or something like that. That usually works. First I try the green smoothie; if that doesn’t work, then I go for a heavy meal.

MG: Well done. I call mine the green menace.

DVT: Oh yeah? Does it do the same thing?

MG: I have “Green Vibrance,” but I drink it in the morning and if it doesn’t work then it’s time for Excedrin and eggs. (Laughs.)

DVT: (Laughs.) Right, exactly.

MG: Sooo, it’s been said that martinis are like breasts: one is not enough and three are too many.

DVT: (Laughs.) That’s true! I never heard that before.

MG: Would you say the same about sidecars?

DVT: (Laughs.) Definitely! That’s definitely—I would definitely relate the two. (Both laugh.)

MG: You are quite the international dame, and I would love to hear some bars that have really captivated you while traveling.

DVT: Well, the Hemingway Bar, which was in the Ritz in Paris, was a really spectacular place. It’s closed right now. I also love the Fumoir, which is at Claridge’s in London. Um, let’s see, I’m trying to think of where else. God, there was this one bar I went to in New York that was so great and I can’t remember the name of it, I wish I could. What about LA…in LA I like the Good Luck Bar.

MG: Mmmm, uh-huh.

DVT: You know it?

MG: I have matches from there still by my jewelry box.

DVT: Oh, it’s my favorite, it’s so good.

MG: It’s funny because I read an interview with you once and you talked about going to raves back in the ’90s.

DVT: Yeah. (Laughs.)

MG: That’s when I was in Los Angeles as well, and I remember that’s when Good Luck Bar was really really hot, ooh, between that and the Formosa, to have those beautiful chinoiserie bars.

DVT: Yeah, I love that style; can’t get enough.

MG: Quite! So if you could have a cocktail with anyone living or dead, who would it be? And you can pick a few that come to mind too. Maybe it can be a party with a little corner booth.

DVT: Gosh, that’s so tough, I’m trying to think of who’s, like, wild and fun, you know? (A bystander suggests Mae West.) She didn’t drink, she was totally sober. (Bystander: Creepy.) I know…

MG: Gypsy Rose?

DVT: She didn’t drink either.

MG: Oh, ladies, how interesting.

DVT: I know.

MG: Way to turn it around. Well, at least you’re having a drink. You’re drinking for them!

DVT: I know. Somebody’s going to come to mind, like right after I’m done. I don’t know, I guess I wouldn’t mind, like, having a drink with Marilyn Monroe would probably be pretty good, as long as she was, like, naked in bed, as she was known to be. Sounds fun, like, hey, two girls in bed, drinking cocktails.

MG: (Laughs.) All we’re wearing is Chanel No. 5!

DVT: Yeah, hi! (Both laugh.) I would have liked to choose a guy, but I have to think about it, a lot of the men in the ’40s were really heavy drinkers and probably not very, you know…

MG: You’d have to cut them off at a certain point.

DVT: Yeah, I mean, maybe Clark Gable, I bet he was… Clark Gable, let’s go with him. Because maybe, like—remember when he was drinking, and he throws Scarlett O’Hara over his shoulder, he’s like “You’re not putting me out tonight.” You know, that’s like, that’s how you want your man to be.

MG: (Laughs.) I love it! OK, one final question. Is there anything that’s next for you and Cointreau that you can talk about?

DVT: Well, I have a little, like, Travel Bar that’s coming out with them, that we have. It’s in the U.S., right? Yeah, that is. It looks like a little ladies’ handbag and it has a recipe book and Cointreau and all the accoutrements for mixing a cocktail and little jars of spices for making spicy cocktails, and even tea bags for infusing the cocktail.

MG: That’s sounds fabulous, I love it. I was wondering if they were going to throw in some like, bubble bath. Cointreau bubble bath!

DVT: Well, you have to bring your own bubble bath, but I do love a cocktail in the bubble bath.

MG: Oh, cheers! Ms. Von Teese, it has been such a delight and a pleasure to be able to speak with you.

DVT: Thank you, thank you so much.

MG: And thank you for coming out to San Francisco tonight; it’s always such a pleasure to have you here.

DVT: Thank you, and go have fun.