Cocktail Party

15 Award-Worthy Snacks & Sips That *Always* Steal the Show

From concession-stand favorites to sparkling cocktails.

February 20, 2019

Growing up, the Academy Awards were always a family affair in our house. In the nights leading up to the big show, we'd debate which film would be crowned champion, which actors were most likely to get snubbed (Leonardo DiCaprio, every year), and who would end up on the best- and worst-dressed lists (sorry, Björk). And even though our viewing party was just for my mom, dad, and me, we always made sure to have enough drinks and snacks (read: pizza and Twizzlers) to power us through the hours-long affair, from the red carpet to the exciting announcement of Best Picture.

Not much has changed since then, except that I've swapped the pizza delivery and candy from Blockbuster (RIP) for homemade concession-style bites and fun, bubbly cocktails that feel like they'd probably be poured at the Dolby Theatre. Because while the Oscar parties I throw today are still on the small side (to fit in my small New York City apartment), that's no excuse to skimp out on a fancy spread during Hollywood's most important evening. Plus, if I'm not getting the chance to squeeze into a couture gown, I might as well enjoy the food.

From homemade Almond Joys and spicy Korean-style meatballs to a handful of sparkling drinks, here are all of the award-worthy snacks and sips I'll be making this Sunday.

Concession-Stand Classics

1. Sea Salt & Caramel Popcorn

Regular old movie theater popcorn is great and all (butter and salt for the win), but I daresay this sea salt and caramel–coated version is the true zenith of what simple kernels can become.

2. 'Almond Joy' Candy Bars

Have this no-bake, vegan (!) take on traditional Almond Joys on the table—and in your mouth—in just 30 minutes.

3. Pretzels

These pretzels might require a little bit of extra effort and preparation, but the soft, salty results are worth it every single time.

4. Raspberry Fruit Roll-Ups

Add a dash of nostalgia to your viewing party with these three-ingredient raspberry fruit roll-ups (you can also mix up the flavors with peaches and blueberries). They're sure to be a hit with kids and adults.

5. Nacho Cheese Sauce

Enjoy all of the spicy, velvety goodness of concession-stand nachos without any of the processed ingredients, thanks to this extra-easy cheese sauce served alongside quick-pickled jalapeños.

One-Bite Wonders

6. 10-Minute Parmesan & Mustard Pinwheels

These delightfully flaky Parmesan and mustard pinwheels are ready in just 10 minutes, but are impressive enough to fool any guest into thinking they took you all day.

7. Blistered Shishito Peppers

Tangy and occasionally spicy (some shishitos have kick, some don't), these blistered peppers are ultra-addictive—blink and the plate might already be empty.

8. Spicy Korean-Style Gochujang Meatballs

These quick and easy-to-make (about 35 minutes from start to finish) meatballs get a smoky kick from gochujang, a Korean chili paste that's about to become your new favorite condiment.

9. Devils on Hatchback

These finger-friendly Devils on Hatchback pack in loads of flavor using very few ingredients, like roasted green chile peppers, smoky bacon, and a generous drizzle of honey.

10. Serrano Ham & Manchego Croquetas

For a bite-sized, crowd-pleasing snack that'll be gobbled up in minutes, prep these smoky ham and cheese croquetas the night before and fry them golden brown right before your guests arrive.

Sparkling Sippers

11. Cherry Lime Rickey

This non-alcoholic soda gets its tangy sweetness from a maraschino cherry and lime simple syrup, and refreshing effervescence from seltzer water.

12. Angostura Sugar Cubes for Champagne Cocktails

These DIY champagne sugar cubes call on Angostura bitters for a touch of spice and bite, but can be riffed on to your heart's content, from honey or lavender to cinnamon or maple. Once the cubes are ready, all you need to do is add your favorite bottle of bubbly.

13. Pom Fizz

This homemade, one-ingredient pomegranate syrup is set to become your bar cart's best friend. Simply reduce pomegranate juice until it thickens, then mix with Prosecco or sparkling wine for an easy yet impressive cocktail.

14. Negroni Sbagliato

If you love a Negroni, then you'll love this bubbled-up twist on the original, which swaps in Prosecco for gin.

15. Gin Spritz

Speaking of gin, if you're a fan, then try this spritz—a light and herbal mix of mint, lime juice, gin, and bubbles.

What do you like to serve at your awards show viewing parties? Tell us in the comments below!

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Erin Alexander

Written by: Erin Alexander

Erin Alexander is the Managing Editor of Food52.


Suzanne C. February 24, 2019
See recipe for Carmel popcorn: the directions mention adding 2 Tablespoons salt to make the Carmel sauce. This can’t be right. Can you please revise the recipe? Thanks.
nancy A. February 24, 2019
love the cheese tutorial