A touch of bourbon helps plan a red-carpet-worthy Oscars party

Three tips party planners of any level can follow to impress their loved ones during the biggest night of the year

By Joseph Neese
March 3, 2018 5:00PM (UTC)
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Bartender Charles Joly makes official Governors Ball cocktails at the 89th Academy Awards Governors Ball Press Preview, Feb. 16, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP/Chris Pizzello)

The producers of Sunday's 90th annual Academy Awards have been making preparations for nearly 365 days. Whether you have a family, are married to your career, or both, chances are you probably haven't had quite as much time on your hands to plan your own Oscars viewing party.

Pastry chef and culinary personality Meghan McGarry, a Nashville resident and creator of the popular baking website Buttercream Blondie, has developed a list of three tips that party planners of any level can follow to impress their loved ones during the biggest cultural event of the year.


Tip No. 1: Keep it simple

"My number one tip is: Keep it simple. It sounds so easy, but all too often we get wrapped up in the details," McGarry tells Salon. This pro tip is especially important to keep in mind when you're planning a party at the last minute: Pick one item to serve.

"If you're hosting a dessert party, I'd recommend making mini-desserts. And I would say bourbon peanut butter cookie cups are the perfect choice," McGarry said. Click here to find the celebrated recipe, which includes the secret for creating bite-sized delicacies in mere minutes.


Tip No. 2: Add a hint of bourbon 

"Coming up with a signature cocktail is a savvy idea, and it can take your party the extra mile by helping tie your theme together," McGarry explained.

While you can, of course, feel free to use the liquor of your choice, McGarry recommends something classic and delightfully old-school for Oscar's 90th birthday — bourbon. An old-fashioned pairs perfectly with most desserts, and a classic bourbon is added to her recipe for peanut butter cookie cups, tying together drink and food while also incorporating the right amount of sass.


Tip No. 3: Get your guests involved

"Guest participation elevates an ordinary party into an unforgettable one," McGarry said. And this goes beyond printing out your Oscar ballots. (If you do, make sure to purchase a prize for the one who accurately predicts the most winners.)


Get your guests involved in the party by making your culinary selections interactive. If you were to make McGarry's red velvet whoopie pies instead of her bourbon peanut butter cookie cups, you could leave it to guests to pipe out their own bourbon cream cheese filling  back to tip No. 1 — and save yourself time in the process.

Or, as the Academy Awards celebrates its ninth decade, home in on all of the nostalgia by inviting your guests to reimagine one of their favorite childhood desserts the milkshake. Have cherries, whipped cream and nuts on hand. (Why not even try spiking it with bourbon, for those of age?)

"Whichever route you choose, don't forget the most important thing to do when hosting a party: Have fun," McGarry said.

Joseph Neese

Joseph Neese is the Managing Editor of Salon. You can follow him on Twitter: @josephneese.

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