Oscar fever has taken over Los Angeles. For the week leading up to the 90th annual Academy Awards on Sunday, March 4, street closures are in place around Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre, where the ceremony takes place. Salons are booking up with blow-dry appointments for guests attending the show or any of the fancy parties taking place around town. Luxe hotels are full. And, those of us who plan to cheer our favorites from the comfort of our own living room are inviting friends to join us, planning menus and making sure we have a fully stacked liquor cabinet.

Speaking of the latter, in another Oscar tradition, Mark Addison, author of Cocktail Chamelon, has again created signature Oscar Cocktails inspired by the Best Picture nominees.

We’re not predicting winners, but here are four cocktails that are guaranteed hits.

Movie: Shape of Water

Cocktail: Swamp Fizz

  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 tsp. green crème de menthe
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp. Superfine Sugar
  • Club Soda

Garnish: lime zest
Glassware: highball glass
Directions: Add gin, crème de menthe, lemon juice, sugar and egg white to a shaker, filled with ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into glass over ice and top with club soda. Garnish with lime zest.

Movie: Call Me By Your Name

Cocktail: Apricot Negroni Spritzer

  • 1 1/4 oz. gin
  • 1 1/4 oz. French dry vermouth
  • 3/4 oz Aperol
  • 1/4 oz. apricot liqueur
  • 3 dashes of orange bitters

Garnish: orange peel and apricot wedge
Glassware: tumbler
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and slowly stir to chill

Movie: Get Out

Cocktail: The Sunken Place

  • 2 oz. rum
  • 1 oz. coconut rum
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 oz. cream of coconut

Garnish: ½ oz. blue curacao and ½ oz. grenadine
Glassware: martini glass
Directions: Combine rums, pineapple juice and cream of coconut in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into chilled martini glass. Combine the blue curacao and grenadine and slowly drizzle down the side of the glass. It will settle at the bottom and create a beautiful “black and white” layered look.

Movie: Lady Bird

Cocktail: Kiwi Punch aka Flightless Bird (serves 8)

  • 2 cups kiwi, peeled and diced 12 mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 2 cups vodka
  • 2 cups tonic water ice cubes

Garnish: Starfruit slice and mint sprigs
Glassware: 16-ounce tumbler
Directions: In a pitcher, combine diced kiwis, mint leaves, sugar, and ½ lime juiced. Muddle the contents until fully combined. Fill the pitcher with ice and top off with vodka and tonic water. Stir, pour into eight tumbler glasses over ice making sure each glass receives equal amounts of kiwi and mint leaves. Garnish with a starfruit slice and mint sprig.

Green salad, chicken, two veggies and a starch—that might have been a reasonable meal to serve group attendees in the last century, but it won’t cut it in 2020. Today, guests expect that a growing range of dietary needs will be accommodated, whether they’re eating keto, vegan, paleo, gluten free or some combination of all four. And, in a time when tech employees enjoy gourmet in-house commissaries on the job, it takes some serious culinary pyrotechnics to impress them.


Lots of folks claim to be adventurous eaters, but are the epicureans in your group ready for … toasted grasshoppers? If they are, send them to Cultura Comidas y Bebida, a year-old Carmel restaurant specializing in light, inventive and almost-too-pretty-to-eat traditional Mexican dishes tweaked to appeal to a California palate. Chapulines, a common bar snack in Mexico City and the southern state of Oaxaca, from where they’re imported, are salty/spicy/crunchy and taste a lot better than they sound.


An acclaimed chef is cooking at a new indoor-outdoor spot.