With the Oscars just hours away, it’s time to get serious — serious about planning a little soiree with your movie-loving friends who also love to get dressed to the nines.
The Oscars are a fun event in my house. We’re big movie people, so I’m always excited to see who takes home the gold. I like to invite over a handful of friends for an Oscars viewing party, mix up a few fun cocktails that are classy, swanky and delicious, and add a few little nibbles too. I mean, let’s be honest here — it’s really all about the cocktails in this case. No one actually eats at those awards shows; it’s more about the drinks, socializing and looking fabulous.
So in honor of that, here’s my Oscar party cocktail menu that you can whip up in no time:
Bobby has a great recipe for a Kir Royale. This drink only has a few ingredients, but they’re fun and decadent, so when you mix them all together you’ve got a gorgeous bubbly concoction that’s going to be a crowd-pleaser! Bonus: you can ask your friends coming over to pick up a bottle of bubbly or two to use for these drinks.
Get the recipe: Kir Royale
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With Labor Day just around the corner, it’s evident that we need to talk about cocktails. This is summer’s last hurrah! It’s your last three-day weekend for a while, so enjoy every last sip of it.
Try my take on Marcella’s Rosemary-Infused Lemonade to get the party started. This cocktail would make the perfect addition to your party, whether it’s a huge pool party with all of your friends or a casual late-afternoon barbecue on the back patio. Either way, this lemonade makes perfect sense.
So go ahead — whip up a batch or two and have a ball with your closest local pals before school goes back into full gear and fall sets in.
Get my recipe for Spiked Gin Lemonade
Here in Food Network Kitchens, we love simple, classic recipes. We are also paid to think about food all day. So we’ve taken classic foods and drinks and reimagined them into three, four or five different ways. No standard recipes here, just the occasional technique and pictures. Think of it as a picture recipe.
With Labor Day weekend upon us, it’s time to get our barbecue menus ready for family and friends (check out Food Network’s 5 Best Labor Day recipes). But don’t forget about brunch, too. Start off with a classic: the Bloody Mary. We love cocktails but hate hangovers. Here are five of our favorite “hair of the dog” Bloody Mary hangover cures.
First, start with the classic version
A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to spend some time in New Orleans. It has long been one of my favorite cities in the United States, both for its food and its people, and I always leap at any opportunity I get to visit.
I was even more excited on this occasion, however, as the particular reason for this visit was to attend the Tales of the Cocktail convention, which was celebrating its 10th anniversary. From an event which began in 2002 with just a handful of attendees, this celebration of the mixed drink now attracts well over 20,000 people, including representatives of all the major spirit brands as well as the best bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts from around the globe.
I will admit that it is, at its heart, an excuse for the cocktail community to have a really good time. There are also plenty of fascinating seminars, presentations by brands large and small, as well as enough tasting sessions to give you a good snapshot of what the latest developments are in the drinks business.
Here are the top five trends I saw emerging from 2012 Tales of the Cocktail:
1. Shrubs and Cobblers
If you thought that “shrubs” and “cobblers” had more to do with gardening and baking than with booze, think again. They are now appearing on cocktail menus all over the country.
Read more of Simon’s Top 5 Trends
If there’s one day you deserve a cocktail this year, it’s April 17. Mail off your taxes, then unwind with a themed drink.
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Some restaurants let you have your chocolate and drink it, too.
The Peninsula, Chicago
When The Peninsula needed a cocktail to complete its chocolate buffet spread, bartender Aaron Johnson developed three, and all of them ended up on the regular bar menu. This S’mores Martini (pictured above) causes the most fuss: Patrons smell the barkeeps toasting the marshmallow rim and can’t help but order one for themselves. 108 East Superior St.; peninsula.com
More chocolate cocktails »
This is a time of the year when my drinking rules and all “house” policies go out the window. I want something new. I will drink a cocktail through the cocktail hour and the dinner party instead of switching to wine. I sip smoky, tabacco-y scotch. I indulge in a snifter of brandy. Sometimes I mix drinks. Here are a few I’m enjoying this year for New Year’s.
I really like this flavor — it rides the perfect line between bitter and sweet. It goes well with salty snacks or with a full meal. Make sure everything (including the glasses) are as cold as possible.
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Nothing brings people together around the holidays quite like good food and drinks. Whether you’re hosting a Saturday night cocktail party, an after-work soiree or a casual get-together with your friends, a few festive cocktails, bite-sized snacks and good cheer are all you need to ensure your gathering goes off without a hitch. Food Network Magazine caught up with Chopped host Ted Allen and asked him what makes his Holiday Happy Hour such a success.
Instead of sweating it out over the stove, Ted suggests making simple dishes that can be cooked in the oven instead. “And serve a few dishes that work at room temperature. You’ll spend less time in the kitchen and more time eating and drinking with your friends,” he says. As for drinks, Ted prefers crimson-colored Due Campari Nuovo cocktails from Food Network Magazine, complete with bubbly prosecco and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Secrets to his holiday entertaining »
- Don't cry over melted ice cream.
Reading through Food Network Magazine’s 50 Holiday Drinks booklet, you’ll notice a couple of recipes that call for melted ice cream. Homemade eggnog usually requires making a custard, which isn’t difficult to do, but takes time and makes a lot of cooks nervous. Melting a good-quality ice cream is a great time-saving technique that can give you the same rich, luscious end-product as making custard from scratch. In the booklet, you’ll find a French Vanilla Eggnog (recipe #16), but with the same combination of liqueurs, you could easily replace the French vanilla ice cream with coffee or chocolate ice cream. And with a little tweaking, such as replacing the crème de cacao with amaretto, you could push the limits even further by using a festive, seasonal ice cream flavor like pumpkin pie. Choose a couple of your favorite ice cream flavors and see what kind of fancy eggnogs you can come up with . . . have fun with it!
French Vanilla Eggnog from 50 Holiday Drinks
Whisk 3 cups milk, 6 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon nutmeg in a pitcher or punch bowl; whisk in 4 ounces each brandy and rum, 2 ounces crème de cacao and 3 cups melted French vanilla ice cream.
By Andrea Albin, Recipe Tester, Food Network Kitchens
- Holiday drink #25 in Food Network Magazine's 50 Holiday Drinks booklet: Shirley Temple Punch.
The Shirley Temple Punch (# 25 in Food Network Magazine’s 50 Holiday Drinks insert) is a kid-friendly favorite that can easily be dressed up with a festive ice float:
Layer sliced oranges and maraschino cherries in a 10-inch Bundt pan. Cover with 3 to 4 cups of water and freeze until completely set. Run cold water over the Bundt pan to help release the ice ring. Place in the bottom of your serving bowl and top with punch.
If you’re serving adults, stir in some bourbon, gin or vodka for a spiked refreshment (they’ll still love the ice ring!).
Shirley Temple Punch from 50 Holiday Drinks
Mix 5 cups ginger ale, 2 cups orange juice and 1/2 cup grenadine in a punch bowl. Add sliced oranges and maraschino cherries. Serve over ice.
By Leah Brickley, Recipe Tester, Food Network Kitchens