Hollywood’s biggest night is just a few days away. Whether you are celebrating the 90th Academy Awards with a fancy viewing party or watching from the comfort of your couch, drink something inspired by the awards themselves. If your guests are rooting for “Get Out” or “Ladybird,” they’ll enjoy sipping on beverages with ties to their favorite flick of the year. Toast Best Picture nominees with these cinematic libations you can whip up at home.
So, you’re a fan of “Darkest Hour” Winston Churchill was said to have whiskey and a cigar for breakfast. The Churchill was created in the 1940s by a bartender on one of his many visits to the Savoy Hotel in London. Measure 3 parts Scotch, 1 part lime juice, I part sweet vermouth, and 1 part Cointreau. Shake with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass.
What’s more Italian than prosecco? To conjure the sun-drenched Italian countryside of the “Call Me By Your Name” setting in a villa surrounded by apricot groves, stir up an apricot bellini. Add an ounce or so of apricot nectar to a champagne flute. Top with 4 ounces of prosecco and stir gently.
As Germany advanced into France allied soldiers struggled to defend and evacuate from the beaches and harbor of Dunkirk. A Blood and Sand cocktail evokes the character of those six intense days in the movie. The classic drink first appeared in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book, predating the movie’s event by a decade. Shake together with ice equal parts single-malt Scotch, Cherry Heering, sweet vermouth and orange juice. Strain into a cocktail glass.
In “Get Out”, when Chris spends a meet-the-parents weekend with his girlfriend, he agrees to be hypnotized by her therapist mother. Instead of curing his smoking habit, he gets weighed down in the sunken place by her hypnotizing stirring. Mix our version of The Sunken Place in a teacup for full effect. Add 2 ½ ounces rye whiskey, 1 ounce of smoky Lapsang Souchong tea and ½ ounce simple syrup to a cocktail mixing glass filled with ice. Stir hypnotically. Place a large cube of ice in a glass and strain cocktail over it.
Christine, who prefers to be called “Ladybird,” fights against – but is exactly like – her opinionated mother. All she wants to do is escape her suburban existence and go to college in New York. Crosby Gaige’s Cocktail Guide and Ladies’ Companion gives instructions for a Mother Knows Best. Take equal parts sweet and dry vermouth and shake with ice. Strain into a rocks glass and top with soda water. Garnish with orange peel. When mother isn’t looking, add a slug of gin.
“Phantom Thread” is the story of a volatile love affair between a 1950s haute couture designer and a young waitress named Alma. His muse’s name translates to “soul” in Spanish so we chose a drink as sophisticated as Mr. Woodcock’s breakfast order. For a Soul Kiss, stir 1 ½ ounce whiskey, 1-ounce vermouth, ¾ ounce orange juice and ¾ ounce Dubonnet with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass for dressed up old-style charm.
“The Post” centers on The Washington Post and it’s publisher Katharine Graham’s decision to publish the Pentagon Papers to expose government secrets before The New York Times beats them to it. What better drink to salute the work than the official sipper of Washington DC? The Gin Rickey was honored with this distinction in 2011 and the cool, dry cocktail was even invented by an army veteran in 1883. Col. Joseph Rickey originally made it with whiskey but the gin version is more popular these days. Combine 1 ½ ounces gin and the juice of half a lime in a highball glass. Fill with ice and stir. Top with soda water. Garnish with lime wedge.
The themes in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” are unpleasant, direct and unsettling. Francis McDormand’s strong performance of Mildred calls for a Negroni, a strong and bitter cocktail made with three ingredients like those important three billboards. Combine 1 ounce each of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth in an Old Fashioned glass filled with ice. Stir until cold. Garnish with orange peel.
You’ll deserve a golden statue of your own for the cleverness of associating “The Shape of Water” with your ice bucket of crushed ice and the giant cubes meant for slower sippers.