How to make signature drinks for the Oscars

Feb 1, 2013 at 12:23 p.m. ET

Leave the wine, the boring gin and tonics, and the beer at the door of your Academy Awards party and have a few of these signature cocktails on the menu instead. Learn how to make your own unique drink for your party and check out three of our favorite Oscar-inspired libations!

Signature cocktail

Creating a signature cocktail for your Oscars viewing party doesn't have to be tough — simply follow these easy guidelines for creating the perfect sip. If you're still stumped, whip up a red carpetini, a French 75 (for Les Miserables) or a Southern-inspired sangria (for Django Unchained).

Step 1: Use inspiration from the event

Create a signature cocktail that reflects the event it's being made for. With the Academy Awards, there are so many ways you can create a fun recipe that reflects the awards show. For starters, have fun with the movie titles. Create an 1800s-inspired cocktail with moonshine or whiskey for Lincoln, use champagne and lavender in a pretty flute for Les Miserables or create a bourbon drink to celebrate Django. You can also base cocktails on the glamour of the event, like whipping up a red carpetini, a glitzy champagne spritzer or an Oscar gown wine cooler.

Step 2: Pick ingredients & liquor for the crowd

Pick ingredients & liquor for the crowd

As with any menu, you want to feature a signature drink the people at your party will enjoy. According to Herb Westphalen on Esquire, certain ingredients please some crowds more than others. Men prefer brown liquors with bitters and savory ingredients, while women prefer fruitier, exotic drinks made with vodka or champagne. Pick liquors and cocktail ingredients that will appeal widely to all the people at your party. If you aren't sure what your guests will like, send a poll with your invite asking which kind of drink they'd prefer.

Step 3: Plan a drink that pairs well with food

Are you having a formal dinner party or just a cocktail soiree with appetizers? Pick a signature drink that will pair well with what you are serving. Use the same fresh herbs, fruits or flowers in your drink that you do in your food or add bite-size edible garnishes that match your main course. To keep your guests from being overwhelmed, pair a bold menu, like spicy Asian fare, with a light, refreshing and airy cocktail. If you're having a milder menu, like fish or chicken, serve up a bolder cocktail with strong flavors.

Step 4: Add fun props & pretty packaging

Mason jar with twine

After all that work you put into making your signature drink, it would be a shame to serve it in a boring tumbler, don't you think? If your cocktail is more Southern inspired, serve it in a Mason jar and add a fun piece of twine around the lid. If you're doing something inspired by Les Miserables, serve your drinks in champagne flutes and add French flags glued to straws. You can also play up the Academy Awards by adding fun printable tags to the bottoms of your glasses, like these from Hostess with the Mostess.

Up next: Signature cocktail recipes >>

1 of 2