The Velvet Rope Cocktail

I've never been to a party in Hollywood that wasn't pouring some kind of Champagne cocktail, and the Academy Awards is no exception. Instead of Champagne, opt for Cava in this cocktail, a variety of sparkling wine produced in Spain. Why Cava? Well, for one thing, Cava is less expensive, and since you'll be mixing it with other ingredients, it doesn't pay to spend big bucks on a high-end Champagne when you'll hardly taste the difference. You can find a quality Cava at any wine store, and since it's not as mainstream as Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine), the cocktail benefits from an extra oomph of hipness.

Then, source a few exotic ingredients like guava, a tropical fruit that tastes somewhere between a pear and strawberry, and Creme de Violette, which evokes feelings of old Hollywood with its floral-forward flavor that was once popular in pre-prohibition American cocktails. This cocktail is the ultimate prelude to the awards, from the velvet rope to the main stage.

Wiley is head mixologist at Riff Raffs at The Hurricane Club in New York City.

The Velvet Rope Cocktail
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  • 1 ounce créme de violette
  • 1 ounce fresh guava juice
  • juice of half a lemon
  • lemon twist
  1. Lace first 3 ingredients over ice in pint glass.
  2. Julep strain directly into champagne glass.
  3. Top with a splash of Cava and garnish with a twist of lemon.
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