OSCAR NIGHT COCKTAILS FOR RAVE REVIEWS
WE’D LIKE TO THANK THE ACADEMY
When it comes to celebration, nobody does it like the Academy Awards. From pre-Oscar dinners to post-ceremony galas, the season is replete with glitz, glamour and glory. Although most of us will never know what it’s like to attend the Vanity Fair party or mingle with A-listers, we can all get in on the action by throwing a viewing party of our own. Whether you’re hosting at your venue or in your home, one of the best way to shine is with show-stopping cocktails that put your technical talent front and center. We’ve put together some buzz-worthy drinks in a variety of categories that will infuse your viewing party with Oscar-worthy decadence and drama.
BEST SPIRITS IN A LEADING ROLE
Putting together an Oscar viewing party is like producing a film – quality matters. You wouldn’t cast an inexperienced actor in a leading role and expect a box-office smash; nor should you depend on lesser spirits to earn rave reviews for your cocktail creations. Whether you’re a fan of the vodka, tequila or bourbon drink genres, it’s important to choose your talent wisely. Here are our nominees for best performers:
Ketel One Vodka: Voted the #1 Best Selling Vodka by Drink International’s 50 Best Bars Brand Report in 2016, Ketel One uses carefully selected European wheat and a combination of modern and traditional distilling techniques to produce an exceptional product – crisp to taste and soft on finish.
Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka: The world’s most famous and most popular vodka earns the “lifetime achievement award” for its popularity across the globe and throughout generations. Triple-distilled and filtered 10 times over charcoal for the ultimate in purity and mixability, it offers a clean taste, light fragrance and cool finish.
Don Julio Tequila: Unlike many other tequilas on the market, Don Julio’s La Primavera distillery produces only one ultra-premium tequila. Its laser-focus on quality, craftsmanship and tradition sets the brand apart and makes it the world’s finest luxury tequila.
Bulleit Bourbon: Inspired by the whiskey pioneered by Augustus Bulleit over 150 years ago, Bulleit Bourbon provides a subtle yet complex flavor with tones of maple, oak and nutmeg. And due to its especially high rye content, it’s renowned for a bold, spicy character balanced with a distinctively clean, smooth finish.
Tanqueray London Dry Gin: Comprised of four key botanicals, Tanqueray uses the same premium ingredients and recipe pioneered by Charles Tanqueray in the 1830’s. Dry and perfectly balanced, it remains one of the most celebrated gins in the world.
BEST CROWD PLEASERS
One of the first things to consider when hosting an Oscar viewing party (or any viewing party for that matter) is the size of the crowd you’re hosting. For larger groups (over 10 people), batch cocktails are a smart way to satisfy guests while saving time, effort and money. With this option, choreography is everything. By combining ingredients in advance and then serving in elegant glassware with inspiring garnishes, you’ll maintain a Hollywood sense of glamour while freeing yourself up to mix, mingle and enjoy yourself. Here are some of our favorites:
Blueberry Lavender Vodka Spritzer:
- For blueberry simple syrup: Add 5 blueberries, 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce heat and add 4 lavender sprigs then simmer on low heat for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Cool and strain mixture, pressing berries to release their juice.
- For blueberry ice cubes: Divide 1 cup blueberries between 2 ice cube trays and fill with water. Freeze until completely solid.
- To assemble: In a large pitcher or punch bowl, combine 2 cups Smirnoff Vodka, blueberry simple syrup, juice of 2 limes and 1 cup soda water.
- To serve, fill a glass ¾ full with ice, then pour drink mixture over top and garnish with a sprig of lavender.
Bourbon & Cider Cocktail
- To a larger pitcher or punch bowl, add 1 quart spiced apple cider, a 750ML bottle of Bulleit Bourbon and the juice of 10 lemons (be sure to remove seeds before adding).
- Just prior to party add a tray of ice and left-over lemon rinds (for garnish and flavor) to the mix, plus one liter ginger ale and one liter sparking water. Mix well and it’s ready to serve!
Pineapple & Sage Gimlet
- To a large pitcher or punch bowl, add 7½ oz. Tanqueray Gin, 3¾ oz. simple syrup, 7 sage leaves and 5 oz. fresh pineapple juice. Mix well.
- Just prior to your party, add plenty of ice and mix again.
- To serve, pour drink mix over a glass ¾ full with ice and garnish with a pineapple wedge
BEST ORIGINAL DEBUT
Distilled with real botanicals and infused with natural fruit essences, Ketel One Botanincals Vodka is the first and only vodka of its kind. Using only real ingredients, it contains no sugar, artificial sweeteners or artificial flavors and offers three fresh varieties: Grapefruit & Rose, Cucumber & Mint and Peach & Orange Blossom. For guests seeking a refreshing new take on a timeless classic, offer the following:
- Ketel One Botanical Cucumber & Mint Vodka and soda served on the rocks with a mint sprig garnish.
- Ketel One Botanical Grapefruit & Rose Vodka and soda served on the rocks with a grapefruit wedge.
- Ketel One Botanical Peach & Orange Blossom and soda served on the rocks with an orange slice.
BEST AMERICAN ORIGINAL
We may enjoy foreign films, but there’s just something about American stories that stir the soul. The same may be said for our cocktail favorites. The Mint Julip is an enduring classic that harkens back to the days of Gone With The Wind. In fact, Scarlett O’Hara was said to adore the fragrance of good bourbon and mint!
- The Mint Julip: Muddle mint leaves, sugar and a splash of water in a rocks glass or julep cup. Add Bulleit Bourbon, soda water, crushed ice and stir. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
BEST ADAPTATION OF A CLASSIC
Hollywood has had a long love affair with the Martini. Most often associated with James Bond books and films, this classic cocktail keeps evolving with the times. The Oscar Martini traces its roots back to the original but features a sweet/tart zing that makes it positively cinematic.
- The Oscar Martini: Combine Smirnoff Raspberry Vodka, a splash or raspberry liqueur and pineapple juice in a shaker with ice. Strain into a Martini glass and garnish with an elegant orange twist.
BEST DRINK DESIGN
Like set design, the best drink design employs nuance and balance. A deft ability to tease the tongue with tartness and then tickle it with just the right amount of sweetness always leads to accolades. Treat your guests to the Grapefruit Paloma for rave reviews. (For a larger audience, check out our big-batch version of this drink, above.)
Grapefruit Paloma: Combine Don Julio Blanco or Reposado, fresh grapefruit juice, fresh lime juice and agave nectar in a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a tall glass with ice. Top with a splash of soda water and garnish with a lime wedge.
PREVIEWS YOU CAN USE
Whether it’s at your bar, restaurant or home, an Academy Award viewing party is an event – and should be treated as such. Take the time to estimate the size of your crowd and consider the types of drinks that would most appeal to them. Using the drink inspirations above, assemble a cast of cocktails worthy of the occasion. Then create some Oscar-worthy buzz by getting the word out early and often using your social media channels!