Cocktail Corner: Red Carpet Cocktails

Posted on Feb 22 by SEASONS Magazine

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

The Academy Awards are on Sunday. My money’s on Argo to take home the biggest prize of the night—and firmly cement the Santa Barbara International Film Festival as the must-stop red carpet event to strut your stuff on the way to the Oscars. I’m still marveling at how many Oscar-bound stars made it to the festival this year.

Meanwhile, for those of us who won’t be at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre this weekend, the competition for Oscar-inspired libations is every bit as fierce as the race for Best Picture. Here are some red carpet cocktails to make your home viewing party a hit!

Do your favorite films and your favorite cocktails match up? You’ll have to watch—and try—them all to make an educated decision.


While beautifully shot and acted, to say this movie is a downer is the understatement of the year. However,’s version of The Amour cocktail is a sparkling champagne cocktail designed to invoke the earlier romance of the movie’s couple. Plus, a few sips of this might help you brace yourself for the intensity of the movie.


Bacardi USA mixologist Manny Hinojosa (how’s that for a cool-sounding job title?) has come up with a delicious-sounding Argo-inspired Scotch-Campari cocktail with elderflower liqueur, basil and ginger ale, The Diplomatic Escape.  Certainly one of the most purely entertaining movies in the bunch, a little Scotch can only help this film go down even smoother.

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Cajun Lemonade is a great treat to celebrate this bayou-themed beast. This spiked version from Food & Wine includes a generous splash of Vodka (or Rum), but nine-year-old star (and nominee) Quvenzhané Wallis—who gives an amazing performance in this haunting film—should probably stick to good old lemonade.

Django Unchained

Grey Goose Vodka did a whole series of Oscar-inspired cocktails, but this Coco Django is a standout—it even alludes to a quirky coconut drink that one of the characters has in a pivotal scene.

Les Misérables

The Les Misérables Cocktail from, featuring French brandy, is worth taking your time to absorb, just like this sprawling, epic movie set in 19th-century France.

Life of Pi

The Citrus Seas, from Dallas’s SideDish Magazine,  is sublime and sea-worth salute to Ang Li’s beautiful film. They recommend Shellback Silver Rum, but like the Cajun Lemonade, this one would be equally tasty with Vodka.


Basil Hayden’s Bourbon pays tribute to Lincoln with this take on a traditional cocktail, Lincoln’s Manhattan, mixing Bourbon, both sweet and dry vermouth, and maple syrup. They had me at Daniel Day-Lewis.

Silver Linings Playbook

Word on the street is that Robert De Niro loved this Purity Silver Linings Playbook Martini at the Weinstein Company’s Silver Linings Playbook event. Another one of my favorite movies of the year … and there’s certainly not much to dislike about a pure Vodka and spring water cocktail!

Zero Dark Thirty

The Drake Hotel in Chicago has come up with Zero Dark Worthy, a “heavy martini made from Vodka, Cherry Brandy and Dark Crème de Cacao to commemorate the very heavy substance of the film. The title of the Zero Dark Thirty is, as director Kathryn Bigelow explains, “a military term for 30 minutes after midnight, and it refers also to the darkness and secrecy that cloaked the entire decade-long mission (to capture Osama Bin Ladin).”

Pass the popcorn! Cheers!

Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”



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