You'll Thank the Academy for These Oscar Cocktails
This Sunday is the 86th annual Motion Picture Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars. If you plan to watch it on television along with millions of people around the world, consider yourself lucky that you won’t be judged by the fashion police, the camera won’t try to find you in the audience when your ex is at the podium (or when someone of the same ethnicity is speaking), nor do you have to pretend to be happy for all the nominees. And the best part? You can eat and drink for as long as you stay tuned!
Along with some bartender friends, I came up with cocktail recipes to suit a variety of movies and themes. For people who love cinema or just the spectacle of the award show in general, there are a couple here just for you celluloid geeks. Of course, there are drinks to compliment some of this year’s nominees. Keep in mind, this is meant in good fun, a celebration of the fantasy that helps us escape our own lives for a couple of hours. Just as some of the best movie scenes are un-reenactable, I don’t expect every one of these cocktails to be made at your Oscar viewing party. But most, most, of them can be.
Yoda once said: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Sure he could levitate, but he clearly never made anyone a cocktail.
If you have other recipe ideas we'd love to see them! Feel free to share them with us in the comments.
The Red Carpet Smash
Abigail Gullo, Sobou, New Orleans
Says Abigail: This drink is Red Carpet ready for the Oscars and all the big award shows this season. It’s sweet, hot and juicy with a hint of bitterness, just like all those just happy to be nominated.
- 44 ml (1.5 oz) Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka
- 22 ml (.75 oz) Campari
- 15 ml (.5 oz) Cinnamon syrup
- 15 ml (.5 oz) Pineapple juice
- 15ml (.5 oz) Grapefruit juice
- Healthy pinch of mint
Shake all ingredients hard to smash the mint. Strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass and garnish with a lemon wheel and a sprig of mint.
Planet Earth is Blue and There’s Nothing I Can Do
- 37 ml (1.25 oz) Bourbon, such as Basil Hayden’s
- 7 ml (.25 oz) Apple brandy or Calvados
- 15 ml (.5 oz) Fresh lemon juice
- barspoon of Honey Syrup (equal parts honey and hot water, dissolved)
- Hard Apple Cider
- scant barspoon Peychaud’s bitters
Shake Bourbon, brandy, lemon juice and syrup with ice until well-chilled. Pour into pre-chilled flute glass. Top with cider. Carefully float the bitters of the top in an even layer.
An ode to Matthew McConaughey, who was always great, but in the past year proved himself to be among the greatest. Once a mostly shirtless whippersnapper with Southern charm, now channeling that crazy energy and killer bod into new and complex roles. Here’s a sophisticated Tequila drink for the Texas native.
- 44 ml (1.5 oz) Reposado Tequila, such as Milagro
- 15 ml deep Amaro, such as Brovo Amaro #14, (double gold winner in the 2013 NY International Spirits Competition) or Rabarbaro Zucca
- 15 ml Sweet Vermouth
- dash Bittermen’s Burlesque Bitters (an ode to Magic Mike, but also for added aromatics)
Add all ingredients to mixing glass with ice. Stir until well chilled. Strain into chilled coupe glass. Don’t garnish this bad boy, it’s fine just as it is. But have a cherry if you’re hungry.
The Main Event
Logan Ronkainen, Trattoria Il Mulino, New York City
It looks tedious, but the infusion and syrup are well worth it and pretty straightforward. If you happen to be in the NYC area, this cocktail is also served at the restaurant.
- 60 ml (2 oz) Popcorn Infused aged Rhum Agricole, the restaurant uses Damoiseau VSOP1
- 30 ml (1 oz) Caramel Syrup 2
- 1 egg, whole
- Top with lager style beer, the restaurant uses Peroni, medalist in the 2013 NY International Beer Competition
- Garnish with a rim of caramel and gold dusted popcorn (optional)
Dip the outside rim of a chilled highball glass into the caramel syrup and roll on the gold dusted popcorn crumbs. Add rhum, syrup and egg to a shaking tin. Dry shake without ice for 15-20 seconds. Add ice and shake another 15-20 seconds. Double strain with a hawthorne and mesh strainer into a chilled highball glass. Top with beer.
1 Popcorn Infused Rhum
In a large container, add about a gallon of popped popcorn (better if buttered) to 1 bottle of Rhum (750ML). Let infuse for 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Strain popcorn out.
2 Caramel Syrup
- 550 ml (1 pint dry) Sugar
- 473 ml (1 pint liquid) Hot (boiling) Water
Add sugar a bit at a time, 4 times total, to a saucepan on medium heat. Melt each addition of sugar before adding the next. Once sugar turns brown/caramel colored (reaching upwards of 300 degrees!) SLOWLY add hot water. It will steam up a lot at first so be careful! Bring up to a boil to ensure all caramel is dissolved. Let cool before transferring to a storage container.
BONUS: While you have your Popcorn Infused Damoiseau and Caramel Syrup... make yourself a Caramel-Corn Old Fashioned. Take 60 ml (2 oz) of the Rhum and a little less than a 15 ml (.5 oz) of the syrup, stir with ice to chill and enjoy!
Josh Wortman, Añejo, New York City
An ode to the Wolf of Wall Street, Martin Scorcese's cultural exploration of Wall Street greed and excess through the sleazy shysterism of Jordan Belfort's Long Island pump-and-dump shop, Stratton Oakmont. The only way to toast to this masterpiece of self-indulgence and depravity is with this classic, booze-filled, alcohol-delivery-mechanism known as a Long Island Iced Tea.
Just because it gets you buzzed fast, doesn't mean it can't be delicious! Using high-quality, dry, white spirits, fresh juice and non-HFCS Mexican Coke may alleviate post-Oscar night pain. Warning: Do not consume with more than one Quaalude.
- 22 ml (.75 oz) Vodka with attitude, such as Ivanabitch
- 22 ml (.75 oz) dry Gin
- 22 ml (.75 oz) Caña Brava Rum
- 22 ml (.75 oz) Tapatio Blanco Tequila
- 7 ml (.25 oz) Combier Liqueur d'Orange
- 15 ml (.5 oz) Fresh Lemon Juice
- 15 ml (.5 oz) Simple Syrup
- Top with Mexican Coca Cola
Add spirits, lemon juice and simple syrup into shaker. Shake vigorously with ice until very cold. Strain into tall collins glass over fresh ice. Top with Mexican Coke. Garnish with lemon wedge.
Or, just for fun, a Wolf of Wall Street cocktail could be the ultimate triumph of excess…
First, put on your bespoke suit. Then find someone to make you the following:
Rim a glass (nothing too extreme, a Zalto will be fine) with uncut cocaine. Put in the fridge to chill. Then combine the following in a mixing glass:
- 60 ml (2 oz) Bas-Armangac (such as Chateau de Laubade 1893, but if one must slum it the 1900 is considered acceptable)
- 60 ml (2 oz) Vintage Green Chartreuse VEP
- 3 dashes Quaalude tincture (dissolve a bottle of quaaludes in a few oz. of Everclear, bottle and store)
Strain this into the cocaine-rimmed glass and garnish with a slice of truffle which has been studded with Beluga caviar. Before taking a single sip, throw this - glass and all - at the face of an FBI agent and then have another one made for you immediately afterwards.