Oscars 2014: Cocktails to pair with Best Picture nominations

From left, Out of This World, a tequila, lime, ginger and chipotle cocktail inspired by "Gravity" and its director, Alfonso Cuaron; It's Never Enough, a gin, St. Germaine and Champagne cocktail inspired by "The Wolf of Wall Street," and The Wallbanger's Hustle, a nod to "American Hustle," a riff on the 1970s era Harvey Wallbanger, made with absinthe, vodka, Becherovka, Licor 43 and orange juice. (Mark DuFrene, Bay Area News Group)

Time to get gussied up and pass out the ballots. You may not be invited to next Sunday’s 86th annual Academy Awards, but the front-row couch at home is the perfect spot to catch glimpses of glitz — and sip a few inspired cocktails.

Whether you’ll be rooting for “Gravity” with a tequila-based Out of this World or prefer clutching an updated version of the 1970s Harvey Wallbanger to accompany your “American Hustle” hurrahs, we’ve got you covered with a cocktail menu that celebrates some of the best picture nominees — and a Best Music (Original Score) nominee we couldn’t resist.

Here are five cocktails created by some of the Bay Area’s finest mixologists.

“Gravity”

Brentwood’s Manny Hinojosa, national mixologist for Bacardi USA, has a soft spot for “Gravity” and its director, Alfonso Cuarón. “We’re almost the same age and grew up in the same part of Mexico City,” Hinojosa says. In the spirit of the motherland, and its, er, national spirit, Hinojosa suggests a spicy tequila-based cocktail to represent the heart-pounding, astronaut drama-thriller. Out of this World features Tequila Cazadores Reposado 100 percent Blue Agave, unfiltered apple juice, ginger beer and a dash of chipotle powder. Hinojosa suggests setting up a tostada bar for your guests to pile on the grub as they sip and cast their votes.

OUT OF THIS WORLD

Makes 1 cocktail

Note: This cocktail was inspired by “Gravity” and its Mexican film director, Alfonso Cuarón.

Slice fresh ginger root

2 ounces Tequila Cazadores Reposado 100 percent Blue Agave

2 ounces unfiltered apple juice

3/4 ounce agave nectar

3/4 ounce fresh lime juice

3 dashes chipotle powder

Ginger beer

In a mixing glass, lightly muddle the ginger. Add all the remaining ingredients except the ginger beer. Add ice, shake vigorously and strain on the rocks in a bucket or highball glass. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wheel, a slice of ginger and a dash of chipotle powder.

– Manny Hinojosa, Bacardi USA

“Wolf of Wall Street”

Hinojosa’s It’s Never Enough represents the rise and fall of a New York stockbroker (played by Leondaro DiCaprio) who ultimately turns to crime and corruption after living the high life.

“It was definitely a roller coaster watching this movie,” Hinojosa says of the dark comedy. “(The character) wanted the best of everything, the best suits, the best cars.”

And he definitely liked his martinis. So Hinojosa created this elegant cocktail made with Bombay Sapphire East Gin, muddled white grapes and St. Germain Elderflower liqueur topped with Champagne. Serve it with prosciutto-wrapped melon slices (and a diamond-encrusted watch, if available).

IT’S NEVER ENOUGH

Makes 1 cocktail

Note: This cocktail was inspired by “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

1 ounce Bombay Sapphire East Gin

3/4 ounce St-Germain elderflower liqueur

3/4 ounce Meyer lemon juice

4 grapes

Champagne

In a mixing glass, muddle the grapes. Add the gin, St-Germain, Meyer lemon juice and ice. Shake, strain and serve in a chilled martini glass. Top with Champagne or sparkling wine. Garnish with a grape.

– Manny Hinojosa, Bacardi USA

“American Hustle”

For director David O. Russell’s fictional tale of scams and sting operations, Stephen Shelton and Jimmy Marino of Los Gatos’ The Lexington House created the Wallbanger’s Hustle, a contemporary version of the Galliano-based Harvey Wallbanger.

“That was a quintessential cocktail in the ’70s, and so fitting for this movie,” Marino says.

Shelton, in particular, felt that the Harvey Wallbanger was a decent drink with an unfortunately bad rap (like some would-be con men). The bar masters reinvented the recipe, breaking down and replacing the flavor profile of Galliano with a combination of Becherovka, a Czech liquor that tastes like “Christmas in liquid form”; St. George’s Absinthe Verte for its anise notes; and Licor 43, a Spanish vanilla liquor.

“We kept the orange juice but cut it down, so this is a boozier, modern take,” Marino says. Try it with fish tacos topped with a spicy fruit salsa.

WALLBANGER HUSTLE

Makes 1 cocktail

Note: The absinthe, Becherovka and Licor 43 in this “American Hustle” inspired cocktail is a DIY riff on Galliano.

1/4 teaspoon St. George Absinthe Verte (a rinse)

2 ounces fresh orange juice

1 1/2 ounces high-quality vodka, like Distillery 209

1/4 ounce Becherovka

1/4 ounce Licor 43

Coat glass with absinthe. Combine remaining ingredients in a shaker. Add ice, shake, then strain into a coupe or martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

– Stephen Shelton and Jimmy Marino, The Lexington House, Los Gatos

“Saving Mr. Banks”

Eric Grenier of Emeryville’s Honor Kitchen & Cocktails has the ideal cocktail on his menu for this film, in which “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers embarks on a journey to adapt her book for the big screen. Grenier calls it the Leap of Faith.

“At first she (Travers, portrayed by Emma Thompson) was unwilling to concede to the studio’s interpretations and had to take a leap of faith, so to speak, placing her beloved nanny in the hands of Walt Disney with an outcome that ultimately exceeded her expectations,” Grenier says.

He hopes the cocktail, made with rye whiskey, spiced blood orange liqueur and pimento bitters, exceeds yours. If you’re partial to sweet libations, add a spoonful of sugar. We won’t tell. Grenier likes to serve the cocktail with Honor’s winter duck sausage plate.

LEAP OF FAITH

Makes 1 cocktail

Note: This cocktail was inspired by “Saving Mr. Banks.” The pimento bitters are available at www.kingcocktail.com. You may use a rich simple syrup — 2 parts sugar to 1 part water, boiled and cooled — instead of the gum syrup.

1 1/2 ounces strong rye whiskey

3/4 ounce Cocchi Americano Rosa

1/2 ounce PUR Spiced Blood Orange Liqueur

1/2 ounce Small Hand Foods Gum Syrup (or rich simple syrup)

1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

3 dashes pimento bitters

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker, add ice and shake. Strain over fresh ice. Garnish with a thin blood orange slice.

– Eric Grenier, Honor Kitchen & Cocktails, Emeryville

“HER”

District Oakland’s general manager Danny Baker is a poet at heart. For this romantic dramedy, which stars Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore, a divorcé in love with the sexy voice of his computer operating system’s voice, Baker created a sumptuous layered cocktail, Love’s Second Chance, to represent the women in Theodore’s life.

As Baker explains, the cocktail starts the same way Theodore and his ex, Catherine, got along: as simple and familiar as a lemon martini (vodka, lemon juice, agave). But that fills only half of Theodore’s life (and this drink). The second half is Samantha, the voice, and Isabella, a sex surrogate, represented by sweet black cherry liqueur and brandied cherry juice. Like the cocktail, the candied lemon wheel garnish has two stories: At first glance, it’s a basic lemon garnish. But, a closer look — and quaff — reveals sparkling candy that dazzles the palate. Serve it with cambozola cheese fondue.

LOVE’S SECOND CHANCE

Makes 1 cocktail

Note: This cocktail was inspired by the movie “Her.”

Chocolate cookie

3/4 ounce agave nectar plus more for the rim

1 3/4 ounces vodka

1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

1/2 ounce black cherry liqueur

1/2 ounce brandied cherry juice

Lemon and sugar to garnish

Prepare a martini glass by coating the rim with cookie: First, crumble a chocolate cookie evenly onto a small plate. Moisten the rim of the glass with agave nectar about 1/8 inch deep. Then dip the rim into the crumble so it adheres.

Combine the agave nectar, vodka and lemon juice in a shaker with ice. Shake, and strain into the prepared martini glass.

Lastly, again in a shaker, mix the black cherry liqueur and brandied cherry juice, shake lightly, and strain slowly into the martini glass along one edge so that this mixture slides to the bottom of the glass and pools underneath the previously poured mixture.

Make your lemon wheel garnish by coating a round slice of fresh lemon with sugar.

– Danny Baker, District, Oakland

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