This awards season, drink in the glamour and the Oscar-worthy cocktails
As it happens every year in early spring, a ritual begins of gathering together all of last year’s stock and bringing it back to the lots where they began. Some will be cash cows. Some will be put out to pasture.
No, not rodeo season. It’s the month for the Academy Awards, which is round-up time in Hollywood.
The scaled-down event will be held April 25.
Long, long ago in normal times, before these pandemic years, millions of people would have seen the chosen films in movie theaters around the world. This year, some people have seen them in theaters, some at home and many more don’t know where to even find them. Netflix or Amazon? HBO or some streaming service no one can remember?
Sadly, the old glamour, excitement and dazzle of the Academy Awards still is muted this year, but there is a way to drink it all in. In fact, the whole history of movies and the Oscars is no farther away than a well-stocked bar. Pick a genre and start pouring.
No Oscar awards ceremony begins without the famed red carpet, so that may be the place to start a cocktail trip on the silver screen.
One only needs vodka, Campari, pomegranate liqueur and simple syrup to produce the Red Carpet Cocktail. There are a number of recipes for this drink, some more complicated than others, but with this particular one, simply shake all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and then walk the walk.
Want to relive some great Oscar-worthy movies?
Put on the eveningwear for a sip to “Casablanca” and Rick’s Café Americain. While one famous line in the movie referred to the nightclub as a “gin joint,” the only specific cocktail prepared in the 1942 movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman was a classic, non-gin drink called the French 75. A World War I classic cocktail, the French 75 is a mixture of brandy, simple syrup, lemon juice and Champagne.
After wiping away the tears from “Casablanca,” a happier ending along with an equally-potent cocktail can be had from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” the 1961 film starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard. In this film, Hepburn’s character, Holly Golightly, sips Mississippi Punch on the sidelines at a dance. The drink, made with cognac, bourbon and rum, was at least a century old when the film came out, but it was Hepburn and the film that made it one of the most popular cocktails in the country for years after.
If musical-comedy movies are on the agenda, try frothing up some rum, vodka, orange juice and cream then joining John Candy for an Orange Whip. It’s the drink of choice in “The Blues Brothers.”
While one might prefer using a traditional cocktail shaker as opposed to the hot water bottle used by Marilyn Monroe in the movie “Some Like it Hot,” the drink she brought new fame to is the Manhattan, traditionally made with rye whiskey and sweet vermouth. She used bourbon instead of rye.
Romantic thriller fans would be committing a crime if the drink on the bar isn’t a Bronx. Nominated multiple times for the original “The Thin Man,” and its many sequels, these films made in the 1930s starring William Powell and Myrna Loy feature married detectives Nick and Nora Charles. Rarely without a drink in their hands, the couple were nothing but cocktails and sophistication. Most people think their drinks were usually martinis, but what they regularly sipped was the Bronx, a mix of sweet vermouth, dry vermouth, gin and a squeeze of orange.
Other classic drinks that found renewed fame for their movie roles include The White Russian from “The Big Lebowski,” the Singapore Sling with Mezcal on the side from “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” and the Vesper Martini, one of many drinks downed in the many James Bond films, but made most famous in “Casino Royale.” It’s a martini made with vodka, gin and Lillet Blanc.
Of course, what would Oscar night be without actors and actresses, right? Well, there are no shortage of bar stars.
Two of the oldest would have to be the Mary Pickford, created in 1920s Cuba using rum, grenadine, maraschino liqueur and pineapple juice, and the Charlie Chaplin, made with dry gin, sloe gin, apricot liqueur and lime juice.
Gin may be a perfect way to end the awards evening, toasting the movie industry with a cocktail specially created for the Academy Awards by the famed Loews Hollywood Hotel in 2019, the last year of normal times. The drink was called the City of Stars.
So while the lights may be a little less bright this year, the tinsel in town a little less abundant, Oscar can still have his night right here on the Third Coast. Stock the bar. Chill the glasses. Mix the magic.
This recipe was created by the Loews Hollywood Hotel for the 2019 Academy Awards presentations.
City of Stars
½ ounce lavender syrup
1½ ounce The Botanist gin
½ ounce lemon juice
Combine all ingredients and shake. Strain into a flute glass and top off with prosecco.