These 8 Wow-Worthy Cocktails Are All Winners in My Book

Mix one—or a few—up tonight.

March  1, 2019

We're revealing the finalists and grand prize-winning entries for our partner Cointreau's Hollywood-inspired cocktail contest! The lucky winners will receive a trip for two to the Cannes International Film Festival in France. Here are the nominees.

If you happened to watch the Academy Awards this past Sunday, you might have seen the dazzling red carpet couture, watched Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper's live performance of "Shallow" in complete and total awe, and laugh-cried with Olivia Colman as she gave her "Best Actress" speech (I know I did). Of course, my Oscars night wouldn't have been complete without the requisite snacks and a special cocktail inspired by one of my all-time favorite movies.

It's no surprise that I had cocktails on the mind, because last week, we wrapped up the ultimate cocktail contest with our partner Cointreau. The challenge: create a Hollywood-inspired drink using the premium orange liqueur. The reward: a trip for two to the star-studded Cannes International Film Festival in France. Submissions closed on Sunday, and after lots of careful deliberation (and tasting), we're excited to announce the eight recipes (out of 195 total!) that really caught the judges' eyes.

So without further ado, here are the six finalists (in no particular order) and two (yes, two) grand prize-winning cocktails of Cointreau's The Art of the Mix contest (the judges were so impressed that they couldn't pick just one winner). Drum roll please...

And the first winner is...

"Hollywood can have a dark side," says Southern photographer Marianna Massey (aka @eatwithmeyall), who created this champagne-based cocktail called "The Black Dahlia," named after the 1920s aspiring actress whose life was tragically cut short. Made using "your favorite champagne," Cointreau, crème de violette, and a few drops of Angostura bitters, this contest-winner captured the essence of the film industry's bright and shady sides in one drink—and one gorgeous, dahlia-colored photograph.

And the second winner...

Inspired by one of Hollywood's most iconic films, Casablanca, this cocktail from Lance Bowman (@thecincinnatibarman), beverage director at Monnie Burke's in Chicago, is called "Laszlo & The Gin-Joint." The name, Bowman says, was inspired by the moment when Laszlo (a Czech freedom fighter) orders Cointreau at Rick's Café. This drink's seamless Hollywood tie-in pushed it towards the top of the judge's list, and the taste—a refreshing yet punchy blend of gin, Cointreau, Quady essensia (a sweet orange wine), lemon juice, serrano pepper syrup, and sparkling wine—made it a clear winner.

Finalist #1

This simple shot by bar manager @joelanthonybarron quickly caught our eye with its intense hue and moody scene. The recipe for his Wes Anderson-inspired cocktail, "She's My Rushmore" (Cointreau, gin, vanilla syrup, and bitters) showed off "nostalgic orange and creamy flavors" that locked in this entry as an early front-runner.

Finalist #2

This exquisitely garnished cocktail, inspired byJean Renoir’s 1936 French featurette Partie de Campagne, is almost too pretty to drink—until you realize that mixologist @steve_wood has created the ultimate springtime sipper. And then you want to go ahead and drink it.

Finalist #3

We couldn't stop talking about this brilliantly named cocktail, "The Benicio del Oro," from New York City-based comedian @leonarda__jonie. Luckily, the recipe is just as a brilliant: Cointreau, mezcal, seltzer, lime juice, sugar, and a salt-cayenne rim if you want to (you want to).

Finalist #4

This recipe from NYC bar Saxon + Parole's head bartender, @maximebelfand, intrigued us right from the get-go. Greek yogurt, fennel bitter, and egg white all in one cocktail? There's no way that could work. But indeed it does.

Finalist #5

This elegant cocktail (dubbed the "Method Actor") from San Francisco bartender @esalehi casts Cointreau as the lead, with gin and tart yuzu as the supporting roles. The result: a balanced and beautiful drink that tells a story from the first sip to the last.

Finalist #6

Rounding out the finalists is this creatively-styled number, "Excuse me, Mr. President..." from @plstarlight in California. Inspired by the 2019 Academy Award nominee, Vice, this presidential drink has "complex layers to evoke the power of your tastebuds," she says.

In partnership with Cointreau, the premium orange liqueur at the heart of hundreds of original cocktail recipes, we're excited to highlight different ways you can show off #TheArtOfTheMix. Whether you’re hosting a movie night or inviting friends over for a special get-together, Cointreau is the must-have on your bar cart for cocktails that elevate the occasion.

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Erin Alexander is the Brand Partnerships Editor at Food52, covering pop culture, travel, foods of the internet, and all things #sponsored. Formerly at Men’s Journal, Men’s Fitness, Us Weekly, and Hearst, she currently lives in New York City.