Retro Oscar Party: Make the Perfect Old Fashioned


Thanks to movies like Philomena, American Hustle, The Dallas Buyers Club and The Wolf of Wall Street, there’s definitely a retro theme to this year’s Oscar nominations. To honor these nominees, I’ve decided to plan a retro Oscar party to celebrate.


I love pouring over cookbooks from the 70’s and 80’s and am astounded at how much the food trends and photography have changed. Gone are the garnishes of curly parsley and stuffed olives on every plate. Thankfully gone are all the aspic covered dishes in ring molds and also the mysterious dead birds that appear in far too many cookbooks from that era (see below – I wish I was exaggerating). But sadly also gone are the classic dishes that I grew up with and watched my parents serve at their dinner parties; Duck à l’Orange, Chicken Kiev, Fondues, Beef Stroganoff and so many more. I’m going to make a concerted effort this year to bring them back!



I’m also going to attempt to add a bit more glitz and glamour to my evenings and get out of my uniform of jeans. One look at the photo below of my parents at a dinner from that period is enough to inspire me to dig through the drawer of dresses that I’ve pilfered from my mother’s closet over the years but never worn. I can’t hope to look as glamorous as they did but by convincing my friends to play dress up along with me, I’ll at least have fun trying.



So for this year’s Oscar party, I’ve decided to journey back a few decades with an Old Fashioned cocktail to get the party started (recipe below) then some easy appetizers from 1970’s London like prawn cocktail, sausage rolls and devils on horseback along with a large vat of Pipcorn while we all cast our ballots. I know that the Old Fashioned isn’t technically from that era but add a cherry and it definitely looks like it could be!


I’d love to hear what your plans are for Oscar night and hope that whatever you decide on, it includes a little bit of old Hollywood glamor.



This ‘Old Fashioned’ recipe has been passed down through generations and kindly shared with me by my godmother.


Old Fashioned 

Makes 1 large batch


1 quart of Bourbon
2 oz of Cointreau

2 oz of Maraschino cherry juice
16 dashes of bitters

6 teaspoons of sugar

1 lemon peel
1 orange peel



1. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher.

2. Let sit for at least a day and serve over ice.

3. Optional: garnish with a Maraschino cherry and a slice of orange.


Hot Cilantro Margarita


This recipe is compliments of Rachel Hirshorn, long-time friend and margarita afficionado. Rachel dishes up the best margaritas! The week of my wedding she was winning over friends and family alike with another incarnation of this recipe which added watermelon chunks to kick it up a notch for summer. The result was utter bliss. She generously shared her recipe with Many Kitchens and we thought it a perfect cocktail for Cinco de Mayo!


Hot Cilantro Margarita

1.5 oz jalapeño infused tequila, method below (Patron Silver, I prefer…but don’t go more expensive than that because the balance of the liquor becomes more delicate)
2 sprigs of cilantro
1 oz Cointreau or Triple Sec
0.5 oz Fresh orange juice
Dash of simple syrup (blend to taste)
Dash of fresh lemon juice
Dash of fresh lime juice
Dash dash of tabasco
Optional: rimmed glass (lime juice and sea salt)

Infused Tequila:


Slice whole jalapeños once down the middle and marinate for one week inside tequila bottle OR, if pressed for time, muddle one very small piece with seeds)


1. Start by tearing the cilantro by hand into shaker, as small as you can (don’t muddle…never gets as much flavor in my experience).

2. Add the rest of the ingredients with exception of tabasco.

3. Shake rigorously.

4. Pour up in martini glass, or over ice in tall collins.

5. Float two dashes of tabasco on top.

6. Garnish with Cilantro sprig and lime.

7. Enjoy!

Gypsy Muse


Signature drinks can be tricky because often what they posses in novelty they lack in taste. This however, is a complex and lovely concoction soon to be a favorite with your friends.



Gypsy Muse

Serves 1

Muse Tea-infused Gin

10 ounces gin (use a mellower gin- less juniper will take on the flavor of the tea better)
2 spoonfuls of Muse Tea (or tea of choice- something herbal and mellow would work best)



2 ounces tea-infused gin
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ounce St. Germain liqueur
Splash of Prosecco
Lemon peel as garnish (your average peeler will give the perfect thickness for your garnish)



1. To infused the gin, take a loose leaf tea bag and fill with Muse tea.

2. Add to a large pitcher and pour gin over. Let sit at room temperature for 2 hours.

3. Remove tea bag.  Gin can be infused in advance.

4. When you are ready to make your cocktail, fill a shaker with ice and add gin, lemon juice, and St Germain.

5. Shake rigorously and strain into a flat champagne glass.

6. Top with a splash of Prosecco and garnish with a lemon peel.