Lights, Camera, Cocktails

Oscars Drinking Guide: Recipes For Film-Inspired Cocktails

A mint julep for "The Help." A gin and whiskey blend for "War Horse." Spice up your viewing party with nine do-it-yourself punch recipes, each tailored to a Best Picture nominee. By Brody Brown.

02.24.12 8:20 PM ET

Though The Oscars are the most prestigious awards in film, draw Hollywood’s biggest stars, and attract nearly 40 million viewers each year, the job of putting on the show seems like one only a masochist could be interested in.

Producers have the practically thankless task of creating a long, technically complicated telecast that most viewers will likely only grumble about anyhow. Honestly, when was the last time anyone got up after watching an awards show on TV and shouted “NAILED IT! Encore!”

Despite this fact—and the Los Angeles Times’ recent, not-so-surprising revelation that the “overwhelmingly white, male” body of Oscar voters doesn’t reflect Hollywood’s demographic makeup, let alone the movie-going public—we still gather in homes across the country to watch a show that, in the best case scenario, ultimately leaves us only partially satisfied.

So whether you’re someone who tries to dazzle your guests by cooking up the toughest recipes from Heston Blumenthal at Home, or more of the sort who chops up a bunch of Ho Hos and Sno Balls and passes them off as finger food, the surefire pleasure of your viewing party lies in themed potables.

Since we doubt you’d like to be stuck behind a bar all Sunday night, shaking up margaritas and muddling mojitos for every Billy, Meg, Harry and Sally at your shindig, we’ve collaborated with nine mixologists from across the country to create punches perfect for your at-home Oscar soiree.

We assigned each mixologist a film from the Best Picture category and asked them to translate the action of the silver screen into something that could easily be served from a punchbowl.

Of course punches are preferable because they can be prepped in advance, and left on a table so your guests can help themselves, leaving you free to watch the show. Is it safe to assume that most of you are hoping the host will peel off his remarkably youthful looking Billy Crystal mask and reveal—ta da!—Eddie Murphy is really hosting after all? Or is that just us?

Each punch recipe delivers 10 individual servings, which you’ll find especially great if you’re inviting multiples of 10 to your party, or only hosting nine guests and the type who likes to leave a glass out for Elijah or “pour one out for your homies.”

And yes, we’ve had a punch made for every film in the category, even if the possibility of Hugo or War Horse winning is about as likely as The Human Centipede 2 stealing the win as a surprise write-in candidate.

Though the point is that you’ll end up having a distinctive punch for each of the nine nominees, we did try to re-use ingredients when we could or at least offer easier alternatives if your preparation time or sourcing is limited. Certainly you could always try to whip up an even easier recipe if you find any of these particularly daunting; we promise we won’t tell, and bet your guests will be distracted enough by the other more complicated offerings so they’ll be none the wiser. 

Also, unless you have an embarrassing but wildly fashionable hoarding problem, you probably won’t have nine punch bowls, but grab a pitcher, a giant pot, borrow the goldfish’s aquarium…heck, put two thick plastic bags as the lining in a boot if you feel so inclined, and let those guests ladle the liquids into their own glasses.

After all, they’ve got nine punches to try, from The Tree Of Life-inspired punch by Paul Sanguinetti at Ray’s & Stark in Los Angeles to the War Horse Punch from Jim Meehan at New York City’s PDT. And P.S., you’re welcome that we’ve armed all your guests with the convenient excuse of: “But I had to try all nine!,” just in case anyone does happen to imbibe a bit too much this year.