Retro Oscar Party: Make the Perfect Old Fashioned

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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.


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