Hollywood shines this Sunday for what many consider to be the biggest night of the cinematic year, especially in the Cogill house. This Sunday night the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present the 88th Annual Academy Awards, or simply, the Oscars. And, as with any celebration, cocktails are required. Here are a few movie inspired sips to enjoy throughout the show. (Some wine and spirits samples were sent for editorial consideration.)
What better way to toast the night than with the exclusive Champagne of the Oscars. Piper-Heidsieck, with roots dating back to 1785 when Florens-Louis Heidsieck aimed to create a wine worthy of a Queen. The winery has a long history of supporting the arts, both in France and America, and has been a multi-year partner of the event, this year creating an elegant Oscar decorated magnum to be served exclusively at the awards ceremony and at the Governors Ball directly after the awards. Only 1000 of these gorgeous bottles were made exclusively to be enjoyed throughout the event.
However you can enjoy their stylish red and gold adorned Piper Heidsieck Cuvée Brut Champagne, filled with apple, pear and juicy citrus with texture, body and balance. And, of course, all of those beautiful dancing bubbles. $40, available at Total Wine and More. If you care to do a little Oscar party cooking, the Champagne house partnered with long time Governors Ball Chef, Wolfgang Puck, to create a Champagne inspired treat. Recipe at the end of this post.
I have noted many times that Chardonnay and popcorn are the perfect combination, often when paired with a great film. If you are celebrating with both then open a bottle with a film tie. Chateau Montelena, as featured in the film “Bottle Shock” with the great Alan Rickman, who sadly passed away earlier this year, was one of the early wineries to help put Napa Valley on the international wine map with their stellar Chardonnay. In 1976 a group of influential wine aficionados gathered outside of Paris, France at the invitation of wine merchant, Steven Spurrier, as played by Rickman in the film, to blind taste great white Burgundy and red Bordeaux against the Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines of California. Much to the chagrin of the French, Montelena’s balanced, apple and pear filled wine with bright citrus and well integrated richness, won, putting the winery and the region at the forefront of wine from then on. Chateau Montelena Chardonnay is available at Pogo’s and Dallas Fine Wine. Make sure to stock up on Live Love Pop (also available at Pogo’s,) as the healthy popcorn treat makes snacking guilt-free.
If a red wine is always on your menu, Screenplay Red Wine, from owners Trent and Colleen Moffet, blends Napa Valley grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Syrah and Petit Verdot for a broad, chewy wine filled with black cherry, espresso and chocolate. The couple was inspired to create the wine while visiting a writer friend, discussing his latest work and the struggles every writer, and winemaker, faces every day to create that perfect story on paper, or in a glass. Their wine is like a screenplay filled with nuances, layers and interludes that meld together for an intriguing story-line, filled with depth and character. $50, available via their website.
Movie Star Mule
2 parts Reyka Vodka
1 part Ginger Beer
1 part Apple Cider
½ part simple syrup
Preparation: Add vodka, apple cider, and simple syrup into a mixing glass, add ice, shake, strain over ice. Top with ginger beer and garnish with a cinnamon stick and apple slice.
1 ½ parts Courvoisier® VSOP Cognac
½ part Cherry Heering® Liqueur
6 Black Cherries
Dash of Simple Syrup
Mint to garnish
Preparation: Muddle the cherries in a mixing glass before adding all the other ingredients. Shake well and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Top with soda and garnish with a sprig of mint and a single cherry.
The Star Gazer
1 1/2 parts Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
2 parts sour mix
1 part apple juice
1 part ginger syrup
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Preparation: Add ingredients into mixing glass, add ice, shake, strain over ice into a rocks glass and garnish with an apple slice and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
For the golden Oscar, Basil Hayden’s Golden Spice
1 part Basil Hayden’s Bourbon
Sparkling Apple Juice
Preparation: Add Basil Hayden’s Bourbon to a champagne flute. Fill the remainder of the glass with sparkling apple juice. Garnish with a sliced apple.
“Red Carpet Ready” Raspberry Panna Cotta with Lychee-Champagne Gelee
Recipe courtesy of Wolfgang Puck Catering, Executive Pastry Chef Tyler Atwell
Yield: 24, 4-oz glasses
Lychee Champagne Gelee:
1/2 ounce sheet gelatin
7 fluid ounces Piper Heidsieck Cuvée Brut Champagne
7 fluid ounces lychee puree
Raspberry Panna Cotta:
1/2 ounce sheet gelatin
21 fluid ounces cream
1 cup granulated sugar
24 fluid ounces raspberry puree
Preparation: First, make the Lychee Champagne Gelee: Put the gelatin sheet in a small bowl and add ice water to cover. Leave the gelatin until it blooms, turning soft and pliable, 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put the Champagne and lychee puree in a saucepan and warm, stirring, over medium-low heat. When the gelatin has bloomed, gently lift it out and gently wring to remove excess water. Add the gelatin to the warm Champagne-lychee mixture and stir until fully dissolved and blended in. Spoon the mixture into individual small serving glasses or bowls to form a thin layer in their bottoms. Add a few raspberries to each glass. Place the glasses on a tray and refrigerate until set completely.
While the Lychee Champagne Gelee sets, prepare the Raspberry Panna Cotta: Put the gelatin sheet in a small bowl and add ice water to cover. Leave the gelatin until it blooms, turning soft and pliable, 5 to 10 minutes. Put half of the cream and all of the sugar in a saucepan and cook, stirring, over medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Gently squeeze excess water from the bloomed gelatin, add the gelatin to the pan, and stir until completely dissolved. Stir in the remaining cream and the raspberry puree. Immediately place the bottom of the pan in a large mixing bowl filled with ice cubes and water and stir until the mixture feels cool to the touch. Spoon the Raspberry Panna Cotta mixture evenly over the Lychee Champagne Gelee in each glass and return to the refrigerator to cool until completely set, 2 to 4 hours, before serving.