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Want to be an Oscar winner of a hostess? Make this low calorie cocktail and your guests will nominate you every year.
Total Calories: 105 per drink
Recipe courtesy of Coco Joy
- 3 Ounces coconut water, such as Coco Joy
- 2 ounces vodka
- Fresh cucumber, mint, and lime
Calories Per Serving149
Folate equivalent (total)3µg1%
How to Host an Oscar Cocktail Party Fit for the Stars
The 2020 Oscars are nearly here, and while they’re forgoing a host for the second year running, you can be the best Oscars host in your own home when you throw a fabulous Oscars cocktail party. Create some memorable nibbles and swanky sips for a couture-caliber Oscars party, but keep it real too. After all, you are just watching an awards show on TV.
Sure, you could just order a pizza and call it a night, but there’s a happy medium between low effort and megawatt glitz and glamour, which we think we’ve captured.
These recipe ideas wink at classic Hollywood but honor casual comfort since most of us will be tuning in from our couches. Frenchy cheese puffs, macarons, and orange truffles are kinda glamorous. But then nuts, hummus, and buffalo cauliflower are more couch-snacking worthy. While the stars sashay down the red carpet, sip a sparkling cocktail from the comfort of your living room and judge their fashion choices with your friends.
Don’t forget to bring your Academy Awards knowledge A-game: pull out trivia about the first Oscar menu and quiz your friends about the best food scenes in past Best Picture winners. Have an interesting origin story on hand to whip out during the most boring speech of the night. And also, be sure to set up your room so everyone gets a good seat (and easy access to all your wonderful snacks and drinks)!
Mini Croque Madames
The miniature nature of these appetizers (and the fact that they’re topped with precious little quail eggs, which are easily found at Asian grocery stores) makes them seem super fancy—but really, they’re just bite-sized French comfort food, and what’s more humble than a ham and cheese sandwich? Get our Mini Croque Madames recipe.
Black Pepper–Manchego Cheese Puffs
How do you make cheese even more heavenly? Make it like a fluffy cloud. These gougères—French-style cheese puffs—are livened up with parmesan, Manchego, and pepper, and perfect for sipping with a glass of Cava. Get our Black Pepper–Manchego Cheese Puffs recipe.
Cornmeal Blini with Caviar
Okay, caviar might feel like too much of a splurge, but you can get cheaper (and still delicious) fish roe from non-sturgeon species that’ll make you feel fancy without breaking the bank. Besides, caviar connoisseurs would say you shouldn’t drown out the good stuff with crème fraîche and smoked salmon anyway—but use more affordable eggs and it’s a seafood symphony. Get our Cornmeal Blini with Caviar recipe.
Caviar Restaurant Delivery
This kind of Caviar is probably a lot more affordable.
This crowd-pleasing party snack is the best of both worlds (like enjoying the benefits of a fancy Oscars gown without getting out of your sweatpants, if that was possible). You feel like you’re eating deep-fried buffalo wings, but the cauliflower reality is much less effort. And while it’s not quite keto, it’s close enough for us regular folks. Get our Buffalo Cauliflower recipe.
Red Pepper Hummus
Slightly spicy, slightly sweet, this dip combines the balance we all seek. It’s creamy yet healthy, and easy yet interesting. In short, a winner. Get our Red Pepper Hummus recipe.
Easy Cream Cheese Herb Dip with Crudités
Be just like the stars and keep your svelte silhouette by skipping the potato chips, or at least supplementing them with whatever fresh vegetables you please anything goes with this easy, tangy herbed dip studded with scallions. Just call them crudités to lend the proper cachet. Get our Easy Cream Cheese Herb Dip with Crudités.
Roasted Rosemary Walnuts
A bowl of nuts gets schmancy when toasted and infused with rosemary flavor. Don’t even think of doing peanuts. So passé. Get our Roasted Rosemary Walnuts recipe.
Macarons are a French fad that isn’t fading anytime soon. Maybe it’s because they’re so delicate and often gluten-free. Naturally, the ganache filling doesn’t hurt either this one uses white chocolate for a change, and they’re decorated like works of modern art. (But you can also try our French Macarons with Pomegranate Ganache recipe, which uses more traditional semi-sweet chocolate.) Get our Funfetti Macarons recipe.
Then again, if macarons seem like too much of a challenge, we hear you. In that case, just fancy up some easy vanilla cupcakes with Champagne and a little gold leaf. Even if you skip the vanilla custard filling, these will still be a smash hit. Get our Champagne Cupcakes recipe.
Butterscotch Potato Chip Cookies
If you can’t get enough of the salty-sweet duo, these potato chip cookies from baking queen Jessie Sheehan are a great choice for a starring dessert at your shindig. They’re also a nice way to pay homage to classic movie snacks. Get the Butterscotch Potato Chip Cookies recipe.
Orange Marmalade Truffles
Truffles add instant glamour but are actually surprisingly easy to make, and this rendition gets a triple dose of bright orange flavor from marmalade, Cointreau or Grand Marnier liqueur, and orange zest. Oh, la la, indeed. Get our Orange Marmalade Truffles recipe.
Red Carpet Royale Champagne Cocktail with Gold Leaf
Champagne is a must for a celebratory night, and a gold leaf garnish nods to the famous golden statuettes, but the addition of tequila keeps it all down-to-earth (though we can’t promise it won’t go to your head). Get our Red Carpet Royale Champagne Cocktail with Gold Leaf recipe.
Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label, price & availability varies on Drizly
Get the star treatment: bubbly delivered straight to your door.
This drink calls for some of that orange liqueur you’ll have left over from making the truffles, and combines it with white wine, lemon juice, and soda water, for a fantastically refreshing sip. It’s a great intro to wine cocktails, and while it’s perfect for summer, there’s no reason not to sip it in winter too. Get our Crimean Cocktail recipe.
Peach Melba Cooler Mocktail
Make sure to offer a mocktail for those abstaining from booze who still want something festive to sip. It’s fizzy, of course a pale shade of pink often seen on Oscar gowns and deftly balances the flavors of fruit and herbs. Honestly, it just might steal the whole show. Get our Peach Melba Cooler Mocktail recipe.
Original story by Chowhound Food Team, updated by Amy Sowder and Jen Wheeler.
Since the Oscars are all about that old Hollywood glamour, why not get fancy and make this gin, champagne, and St. Germain mix? Throw in a flower as a garnish and watch all your friends die of shock at the mixologist you’ve become. Get the recipe on Refinery 29.
Because that is the whole point of an Oscar party, isn’t it? The stars get smash, you get smashed, everybody wins. Take this sparkly version of a vodka cranberry to your Oscar party and we guarantee smiles. Grab the drink recipe at Camille Styles.
A Man for All Seasons (1966)
Fred Zinnemann's adaptation of Robert Bolt's play about the clash between Sir Thomas More and King Henry VIII's Church of England is a thoroughly elegant affair, if at times unavoidably stiff and stagey. But looked at from a historical angle, it's one of the most high-profile examples of the Academy's inability to notice when they're in the middle of a sea change. A Man for All Seasons is the sort of epic that the Academy was basically made to celebrate: sourced from highbrow material, historically minded, sweeping and self-consciously grandiose. That's why it ended up beating a superior and more forward-thinking film, Mike Nichols's adaptation of Edward Albee's play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.
Completely avoiding the pitfalls of most play-to-film translations, Nichols' adaptation captured the way real people lived, talked (this was the first time many Americans heard movie characters say "goddamn" and "son of a bitch"), drank, and, most importantly, fought. Real life partners Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton play an unhappy married couple, and they fucking tear each other a new one throughout. It's hilarious, hard to watch, and impossible to turn away from. Cringe humor starts here, but so does a new more modern language of filmmaking that made even the best epics of yore look hopelessly stuffy and out of date.
More to read this week:
- Whether you’re trying to dazzle your Valentine or avoid all the germs going around, these recipes will lead you through February and all of its occasions.
- Your perfect Oscars party recipe for each Best Picture nominee, from a Once Upon a Time…in Hollywoodchunky citrus avocado salsa to a Little Women-inspired pear skillet cake.
- Here’s your official best practices guide to properly ordering a burrito in California.
- Celebrate classic film at your Oscars party with these dishes that pay homage to some of the most iconic movies set in the West.
- Beer fans better get in line now if they want to score a bottle of Russian River Brewing Company’s Pliny the Younger. It’s available now at the brewery’s two Northern California locations, but you’ll have to wait in a (very long) line to snag a glass.
- Lean into your inner hopeless romantic with these 16 ideas for romantic meals, from Sichuan peppercorn filet mignon to breakfast in bed-worthy Stuffed French Toast.
- You’ll definitely want to try this delightfully moist and fluffy Pear Skillet Cake. Just make sure you have a trusty cast iron skillet.
Looking for more inspiration? Head over to Sunset Recipes for our winter cooking highlights.
The French Connection (1971)
It took some time for the Academy to catch up to the "American New Wave" movement that came of age in the wake of the collapse of the studio system and the rise of the sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll generation. But catch up it did indeed, as 1971 saw The French Connection compete with A Clockwork Orange and The Last Picture Show for Best Picture. A formidable bunch, but the story of Gene Hackman's "Popeye" Doyle crusade against a heroin cartel managed to come out on top.
Film historians often point to director William Friedkin's raw, near documentary-like realism (which feels like a big-budget cousin to the work indie hero John Cassavetes was making at the time) and the bravura car chase as the reason the film captured audience's attention.
It's easy to suspect that the Academy awarded The French Connection because it was essentially an old-fashioned cops-and-criminals flick dressed up in gritty new clothing. But that reading both short-changes the blood-shot intensity and cool intelligence Hackman brought to the role (he's easily one of the top five best police detectives in movie history) and Friedkin's prescient view of '60s idealism giving way to '70s decay and the narcotics-fueled collapse of the American inner-city.
Oscar-Worthy Cocktails Inspired By This Year’s Best Picture Nominees
And the nominees are… (Photo: New York Observer/Cara Genovese)
The 87th Oscars ceremony will honor the best films of 2014 this Sunday. We’ll drink to that!
We recently visited Seamstress, a new upscale bar on the Upper East Side, where bartender Jeremy Hawn concocted a collection of original Oscar-themed drinks especially for us.The beverage assemblage consisted of eight cocktails—each inspired by a nominee for Best Picture. The bar won’t be serving the drinks this Sunday, but the recipes below should make whipping one up for an Oscar-viewing party a cinch.
The delicious drinks were mixed and dressed with the extravagance characteristic of the annual film observance. From the spirits to the garnish, each ingredient was meticulously chosen to mirror an aspect of the film and was as elegant as the occasion to which we’re toasting.
Mr. Hawn said that creating these one-of-a-kind drinks not only pushed his skills and creativity, but that that the serious subject matter of the films elevated the mixing into an act of paying homage.
“It was about taking time to think about everything going into the drink and why it’s meaningful,” he said.
Selma. (Photo: New York Observer/Cara Genovese)
In a rocks glass:
2 oz Hudson Whiskey Baby Bourbon
.25 oz Ancho Reyes
.25 oz cane syrup
This smash drink is symbolic of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. breaking through the barriers of oppression. The spiciness of the Ancho Reyes represents his fiery sermons, and bourbon—the official spirit of America—makes for the perfect base to represent this American tale. Molasses bitters and cane syrup find their way into the cocktail because sugar cane and molasses production was the main reason slaves were brought to the new world. As a result, the ingredients were widely available on plantations and consequently became a staple in soul food.
Whiplash. (Photo: New York Observer/Cara Genovese)
In a coup glass:
1.5 oz Tin Cup whiskey
.75 oz dry Vermouth
.75 oz sweet vermouth
3 dashes curaçao
1 dash absinthe
It’s a new spin on the whip cocktail, a classic from The Savoy Cocktail Book. Also known as the original bible of cocktails, the 1930 book was mostly comprised of jazz-era drink recipes. In this cocktail, whiskey is substituted for the original brandy to make the drink more American, like jazz which is an American creation and “one of our greatest exports to the world,” according to Mr. Hawn. The drink is stirred in a coup, which is symbolic of the jazz era as well. And lastly, there is no garnish because of the common jazz idea that it’s as much about the notes you don’t play as the ones that you do.
The Theory of Everything. (Photo: New York Observer/Cara Genovese)
The Theory of Everything
In a mug:
2 oz Maestro Dobel Tequila
.5 oz Yellow Chartreuse
.25 oz All-spice dram
Garnish with star anise
Put simply, the inspiration is just Stephen Hawking being one of the most renowned physicists of all time. “I wanted to get molecular with it,” Mr. Hawn said, so he used a Nitrous Oxide whipped cream machine to pressure infuse Maestro Dobel tequila with spices commonly associated with hot toddies and winter cocktails like nutmeg and clove. With this method, the Nitrogen bubbles blow particles of the spices into the spirit to immediately infuse it—a process that would take days done traditionally in a jar. The added hot water , lemon and honey give it the aroma and taste of afternoon tea. The mixture of pressure and heat in the drink together represents fusion, and the star anise garnish represents the cosmos.
Birdman. (Photo: New York Observer/Cara Genovese)
In a rocks glass:
.75 oz Three Olives
.75 oz Cocchi Americano
.75 oz lemon
.75 oz Cointreau
Absinthe rinse in coup
Garnish with a feather
For Birdman, Mr. Hawn concocted a variation of the corpse reviver #2—a classic, refreshing pick-me-up cocktail that is a favorite for himself and many others. “Meant to be a breakfast drink for after a long night out, it wakes you up without putting you back under, so the symbolism is that he is trying to revive his career,” Mr. Hawn said. The Three Olives vodka symbolizes the three acts of a play, and he substituted in Cocchi Americano because of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s quote concerning The Great Gatsby, “There are no second acts in American lives.” The drink is garnished with a feather for obvious reasons, but also because it’s fun and beautiful.
American Sniper. (Photo: New York Observer/Cara Genovese)
In a rocks glass over ice:
1.5 oz Hudson Whiskey Baby Bourbon
.5 oz 1800 Tequila Silver
.5 oz date syrup
Arak spritz on top
Edible flowers as garnish
This cocktail includes Hudson bourbon for America and 1800 tequila for Texas, where the main character Chris Kyle grew up. To reference the sniper’s experiences overseas, Mr. Hawn included a lot of ingredients that are common in Iraqi cooking like date syrup and rose water floated over the top. Because flowers are laid on the graves of the deceased, they garnish the drink to honor the lives lost in the war and the death of the soldier after he returns home.
The Imitation Game
The Imitation Game. (Photo: New York Observer/Cara Genovese)
Neat in a rocks glass:
2 oz Boodles Gin
.5 oz Kirschwasser
.5 oz Jaeger Spice
1 dash absinthe
A computer chip as garnish
Inspiration for the spirits in this cocktail come from the countries involved. There’s a classic British gin and from Germany, Jaeger spice and a classic cherry liqueur. Mr. Hawn chose to include absinthe because it was the favorite drink of Oscar Wilde who, like Alan Turing, was persecuted by the British government for being gay despite his great contributions. This drink is a memorial for Mr. Turing and the rest of the gay community.
The Grand Budapest Hotel. (Photo: New York Observer/Cara Genovese)
The Grand Budapest Hotel
In a coup glass:
2 oz Jose Cuervo Reserva de Familia Tequila
1 oz Unicum
1 pinch Confectioners sugar
Top with champagne
Garnish with almond paste “Lobby Boy” hat
This cocktail features ingredients that scream luxury. This variety of Jose Cuervo is an incredibly luxurious and expensive tequila, and champagne is indicative of celebration, extravagance and the Grand Budapest era as well. Unicum—the best selling and national spirit of Hungary—alludes to the film’s setting, and the touch of powdered sugar sweetens the drink while symbolizing Mendl’s Patisserie, which plays a big role in the film. Finally, the almond paste lobby boy hat garnish speaks to one of the film’s most quotable lines, “Get your hand off my lobby boy!”
Boyhood. (Photo: New York Observer/Cara Genovese)
In a Collins glass:
1.5 oz Lard’s Applejack liquor
.75 oz Apple juice syrup
2 dashes Bar Keep Baked Apple Bitters
Top with soda
Garnish with Sour Patch Kids on a skewer
This drink is all about the flavors of childhood. It’s fizzy to represent children’s affinity for soda and packed with flavors reminiscent of apple juice like Lard’s Applejack Liquor and apple juice syrup that Mr. Hawn made himself. Kids love bright and colorful candy, so Sour Patch Kids–which mirror the sweet and sour theme of the film–garnish the drink. This first cocktail was one of Mr. Hawn’s favorite to design, and he said it was “fun and challenging to create something that’s representative of childhood while also being alcoholic.”
A good flailing through the cobwebs of antiquity is required to locate the embers of early school days and rote indoctrination to religion, but at this holiest time of the year they glow sufficiently to once again renew my faith. The catechism rings true yet.
What happened on Good Friday? The 10-shot rule was established for the cut at the Masters, sister, and we celebrate it still.
What happened on Holy Saturday? Somebody, maybe Raymond Floyd because he was kind of a dude, first called it “Moving Day at Augusta,” and we celebrate it still, sister.
What happened on Easter Sunday? Nothing yet, sister, but according to the prophet Jenkins, Arnold Palmer so loves the world that he will send his son, Jack Nicklaus, to save our wretched souls. We’ll treat him badly at first, of course, because people suck. But on a future Easter Sunday, he shall rise again and shoot 30 on the back nine to win his sixth green jacket. [Thwack! of ruler on desk] Do not say “suck!” Yes, sister.
Life is replete with traditions like the historically accurate and Vatican-verified oral tradition shared above and the green jacket, which was renamed in honor of Nicklaus. (It was originally known as “the green upper-body garment with lapels that will get you laughed out of any place other than Augusta National.”)
Other dimming but still kicking memories of this time of year include visiting a butcher called Swiacki in the section of Philly known as Port Richmond, which is the ancestral home of my lot. These visits, with my grandfather Walt, who was born in 1890 in Poland (Prussia at the time), were to secure the traditional crown jewel of Easter celebrations in our family — yards of kielbasa measured in arm lengths, slashed free with a knife and coiled into brown paper for safe passage.
The smoked meat was prepped to meet its doom in a large pot of boiling water and upon extraction left a steaming pond accented by bobbing lily pads of fat globules. Long after Walt passed on, I started another tradition with my father: After the kielbasa was readied, I would ladle a few scoops of the heated liquid grease into a snifter and offer him an aperitif of Kielboisier (pronounced to the tune of Courvoisier). Thusly was born a signature drink never drank by even the most desperate drunk.
It’s impossible to know whether we invent special occasions and events so we can drink, or we like to drink as part of celebrating traditions, but who cares so long as there are drinks enough for everyone. What’s undeniable is that to varying degrees we identify specific drinks with specific events or moments in life — champagne with New Year’s and winning things in general, mint juleps with the first Saturday in May, a Pimm’s Cup at Wimbledon and so on. The mint julep is what can safely be called a true signature drink — at the shindig for Kentucky Derby winners, the state’s governor offers up a toast using a sterling julep cup, and the cocktail’s history with the event dates back to the 19th century.
Masters week is golf ’s clubbiest bit of merrymaking and includes no small amount of tippling. There is not a drink or cocktail universally associated with the club or the tournament, however. Patrons with basic tickets have access to beer at concession stands but no hooch. For those with Willy Wonka golden tickets and friends in green jackets, a sit on the veranda outside the clubhouse or a trip to Berckmans Place will include the opportunity to knock back a few Azaleas, the unofficial signature cocktail for seven days at Augusta National.
A man in green I know informs me that you generally don’t see folks drinking Azaleas at the club other than during the Masters, so it isn’t exactly a mainstay. Nevertheless, the Azalea has qualities that recommend it for your home consumption when you tune in this month — it’s tasty, it goes down easy, its colors scream “Oh glorious spring!” and, best of all, it ranks among the most malleable of cocktails.
Mess with a martini too much and it’s not a martini at all. Get too cute with a manhattan and next thing you know you’re drinking a Newark. The Azalea, bless its heart, was made for tinkering.
It’s impossible to know whether we invent special occasions and events so we can drink, or we like to drink as part of celebrating traditions.
Some mixers and shakers posit that the Azalea was conceived as a gin-based drink. I can’t argue the point — I’ll just observe that most gin-based professionals of my acquaintance don’t muck about with fruit juice. If you want some firepower in your Azalea, go for the gin.
Vodka will result in a smoother experience, but you should make it in your own image. The mass-produced version available at the Masters seems to be a lot of ice, a shot or two of vodka, lemonade to near the brim and enough grenadine to change the hue. I mixed up a few different Azalea recipes and poured them down Corknolia Lane (my drinkhole). The Masters’ version would be my choice for a session, but were I having just one or two, I’d opt for the more nuanced recipe described above.
In the second half of my at-home taste test, I had a deep conversation with Hamilton, our newish pug (RIP Churchill), about religion and the whole god-dog thing. He hinted that his faith revolves around a saliva-covered tennis ball, then cocked his head and stared at me a bit. It was a sign to make another drink, I deduced. After a few sips, I thought about my departed cousin Jimmy Dooley, who squeezed more laughs out of life than anyone ever. A priest once admonished Jimmy, who was Port Richmond through and through, for his wayward pursuits and fondness for drink.
“Father,” said Jimmy, “all the things you call sinning are the highlights of my life.”
How to make an Azalea
-Pour 2 oz good vodka (or gin if you prefer), 2 oz pineapple juice, 1 oz lemon juice (not lemonade) and a spoonful of grenadine into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
-Shake, shake, shake, then pour through a strainer into a tall glass filled halfway with rocks.
-Note: A lemon garnish on your Azalea is lovely. Just don’t use actual azalea leaves — they’re highly toxic.
How Wolfgang Puck Cooked for the Oscars
It's true: Famous people need to eat, too. And once again, Wolfgang Puck was there to feed them at last night's Governors Ball following the Oscars (this time with King's Speech-appropriate Dover sole). The chef took over our Twitter for the occasion and managed to check in throughout the night. Below is a roundup of how things went.
In the kitchen, checking 1,600 Dover sole filets. Just got them in Friday, and they look pretty great.
Prepping some beautiful baby radishes for a trio of salads at tonight's Governors Ball.
Making paella pans for each guest. They're vegetarian &mdash so Natalie Portman can enjoy, too.
Our servers take in the poolside view before the ceremony begins. Only in Hollywood.
Going down the red carpet with a preview of what the attendees will be eating tonight.
A 24-karat Oscar waiting to be served at dessert. Everyone gets a (chocolate) Oscar tonight.
Waiting for the show to start with my son Byron and my partner Chef Lee Hefter.
Just said hello to Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban, and Matt Damon during last call. Now, the show begins.
After Best Supporting Actress, I know it's our cue to start plating.
The rule of plating: each plate must be perfect.
And the finished product: rows of beautiful salad trios. Now, we wait for the party.
Chef Sherry Yard starts the first step in plating the desserts.
Corks popped. Ready to pour.
The whole team, ready for the first orders.
In honor of tonight's Best Picture winner, some of England's best Dover sole. Time to eat.
It's been great having my son Byron in the kitchen tonight.
You can never have enough mini-burgers.
The best is yet to come: dessert.
Tonight's winners indulge in a chocolate fountain and "lollipops," en route to Oscar engraving.
Annette Bening enjoyed the mini four-cheese pizza so much, she asked for seconds.
Talking to Russell Brand. His assessment: "delicious feast all around."
My wife, Gelila, is so happy to meet Anne Hathaway, looking beautiful in a red dress.
Oscar party appetizers: 9 fancy hors d'oeuvres to serve at your Academy Awards soiree
Whether you're a dedicated movie buff, or even if you could care less about the Academy Awards, Oscar-night parties the perfect excuse to gather with friends, entertain, and try out new recipes.
Need a little inspiration? Look no further for the following appetizers, which are all fancy enough for a ritzy gala or a quiet night in front of the TV. With these unique appetizers, the food just might be the biggest winner at your Oscars party:
Pomegranate Goat Cheese Crostini
It's creamy, crunchy, colorful and chic: These goat cheese crostini from Danielle at The Creative Bite will be the talk of the party, at least until they're gone. With a total prep time of only 20 minutes and just 5 ingredients, this sweet and savory recipe is as easy on your time as it is your taste buds.