Pick your favorite film out this year’s best-picture Oscar nominees. Now, make a drink that plays into that movie — inspiration can come from the movie’s setting, characters, plot, era, or a play on words with the drink’s name. Maybe do it with your top three favorite films if you’re hosting an Oscars party. For those who are going to drink while watching the Academy Awards on Feb. 26, you might as well do it in style and in celebration of the transporting art of moving pictures.

We have more cocktail recipes and tips as well as the appetizers to go with them, but these are our favorite pairings:


In 1961, women weren’t good at math, and surely not black women. That was the assumption and stereotype in the rampant, normalized racial and gender discrimination of that era before the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We get a glimpse of the three math geniuses who played critical roles in forming NASA’s space program. Yet because they were black women, they were hidden. The far-away “colored bathrooms” and other injustices leave a sour taste in our mouths. But this cocktail, one of that decade’s most popular mixed drinks, hits the right note of sour and sweet, and we don’t want to hide it any longer. Get our Whiskey Sour recipe.

LA LA LAND: French 75

Let’s sip a speakeasy, Jazz-Age cocktail, the French 75 for this idealistic/realistic Hollywood film about the relationship and career arcs of two struggling creative types. Mina is an aspiring actress working in a movie studio’s coffee shop and Sebastian is a jazz pianist whose traditional-jazz ideals conflict with employers’ needs. Get our French 75 recipe.

LION: Chai

Sip on some warming chai (not exactly a cocktail, but it’s a mixed drink with a bunch of ingredients that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside) as you sniffle about that beautiful tearjerker, Lion. It’s about a 5-year-old Indian boy who got lost on a train and ended up being adopted in Australia, where he grew up. Now a man, memories are resurfacing, and he becomes obsessed with finding his birth family. There are flashbacks to the adorable boy he once was and the danger he was in. You’ll need a comforting cup of tea flavored with the spices of India, as you root for this movie based on an amazing true story. Get our Chai recipe.

FENCES: Pink Gin (Gin and Bitters)

Denzel Washington stars as a former professional baseball player, now a middle-aged sanitation worker in Pittsburgh. He unleashes his bitterness on his eldest son and his loving wife, which is why we thought of this cocktail using London Dry gin and Angostura bitters. Get our Pink Gin (Gin and Bitters) recipe.

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA: Rear Admiral Swizzle

Casey Affleck stars in a film set in a New England fishing town, rocked by a family tragedy. The 2 hour, 17-minute movie comes at you from all directions and you’re not sure what happens when, but the course becomes clear almost halfway in. There’s a boat, and some heavy drinking with consequences, something you might want to watch out for if you have more than a few of these Rear Admiral Swizzle cocktails, which include a high-proof rum. It’s a movie for discerning adults. Get our Rear Admiral Swizzle recipe.

HELL OR HIGH WATER: Money Green Champagne

If you’ve ever harbored resentment against big banks, fat cats stealing from the little guy just trying to make ends meet, and the Man, then you might like to sip this money-colored cocktail while watching two Texas brothers rob the banks that are trying to foreclose on their late mother’s farm, where oil was discovered. You can use more affordable sparkling wine rather than real Champagne, and it’ll still taste like money. Get our Money Green Champagne recipe.

MOONLIGHT: Liquid Cocaine

Set in South Florida, this tale of a boy growing into a man tells it in three chapters of his childhood, teenage years, and adulthood. A drug dealer takes him under his wing as a child, and he navigates bullying, confusing sexual feelings, and a drug-addicted mother. But what it’s really about is self discovery, figuring out who you are and how you’ll handle that. Be careful handling this drink while you’re at it, not having too many or operating heavy machinery soon after. Get our Liquid Cocaine recipe.

HACKSAW RIDGE: Smoky Bloody Mary

There are explosions, blood, gore, and all the violence you’d expect in the battle of Okinawa, the bloodiest battle of World War II, so what better drink than a drink to remind you of that, but a taste that makes you come alive and want to give peace a chance? Desmond T. Doss is the real-life hero of this film directed by Mel Gibson. He saved 75 men in this battle without picking up a gun because using guns goes against everything he believes in, including his Seventh Day Adventist religion. Get our Smoky Bloody Mary recipe.

ARRIVAL: Glow-in-the-Dark Gin and Tonic Jelly

This is not your typical alien movie, just as this is not your typical gin and tonic. While the latter is wobbly and uniform throughout, the former offers layer upon layer of meaning. Unlike those summertime special-effects alien attack movies, protagonist Amy Adams gives a stellar (ahem) performance in which you can feel the love and grief emanating out of her pores, with hardly an expression or word. Get our Glow-in-the-Dark Gin and Tonic Jelly.

Also, check out our elegant snacks and drinks for your Oscars cocktail party and learn what you need to host an impressive Oscars party on a budget.

— All Photos by Chowhound.


Amy Sowder is a writer and editor based in NYC, covering food and wellness in publications such as Bon Appétit, Women's Health, Eat This, Not That!, Upworthy/GOOD, Brooklyn Magazine, and Westchester Magazine. She loves to run races, but her favorite finish lines are gelato shops. Learn more at AmySowder.com.
See more articles