Sip Oscar-inspired cocktails at Bambara
Bar exam • Creative mixologists get into the spirits of Academy Award season.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Voting is now under way in Bambara's seventh annual Oscar-themed cocktail contest, and the only way to cast your ballot is to order one of the movie-inspired cocktails in the bar.

"Anytime someone can vote by ordering a drink, it's a lot more fun than casting a ballot," said Guy Wheelwright, general manager of the Salt Lake City restaurant.

Mixologists in Bambara's Vault bar have created a specialty cocktail to match each of the nine Best Picture nominees.

Employees tally every drink ordered so that patrons can see how their selections fare against the real Academy Award winners, which will be announced during the annual telecast on Feb. 24.

Voting began earlier this month, and so far, the "Amour" cocktail is ahead, with "Zero Dark Thirty" a close second.

But there's still plenty of time for "Silver Lining Playbook" and "Lincoln," in third and fourth place, respectively, to catch up.

Bar employees start mulling drink ideas as soon as the nominees are announced and typically look forward to experimenting with some of the newest, high-quality liqueurs on the market, Wheelwright said.

Here are the 2013 Best Picture nominees in alphabetical order, along with Bambara's corresponding cocktails.

"Amour," $10 • The French word for love demands something alluring, and this vodka-based drink — served in a cinnamon-and-sugar-rimmed glass — fits the bill. Ginger liqueur and orange juice make this candy for the eye, as well as the taste buds.

"Argo," $10 • Creating a cocktail about the 1979 rescue of U.S. diplomats from Iran wasn't easy. Ultimately, the team decided on a mix of mandarin-flavored vodka, peach schnapps, vermouth and orange juice — a nod to the region's tropical climate.

"Beasts of the Southern Wild," $12 • The Southern setting also inspired this tequila-based drink with peach schnapps and orange juice.

"Django Unchained," $14 • Nothing says Old West like High West Distillery's double rye whiskey. The Park City spirit is mixed with Galliano, soda, bitters and lemon.

"Les Misérables," $11 • A gin cocktail finished with a splash of French red wine pays homage to this beloved musical set in 19th-century France.

"Life of Pi," $10 • With expansive scenes of the ocean, plus boats and exotic islands, this cocktail called for high-quality 10 Cane Rum and a blend of fruit juices.

"Lincoln," $12 • American bourbon, the spirit of choice during the 16th president's term, is the key ingredient in this cocktail mixed with ginger liqueur and bitters.

"Silver Linings Playbook," $19 • With a title that reminds us of clouds, it seems only fitting that Skyy premium vodka is the primary liquor. It's mixed with dry vermouth, lemon, a splash of tonic and grapefruit juice.

"Zero Dark Thirty," $15 • The decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden is a dark subject for a cocktail —and a movie — so the bar settled on a traditional gin cocktail with a bit of vodka, St. Germaine Elderflower liqueur and orange zest.

kathys@sltrib.com —

Vote for your favorite Oscar-themed cocktails

Bambara's mixologists have invented cocktails to match each of the nine Best Picture nominees.

Where • Bambara, 202 S. Main St., Salt Lake City

When • Available through Sunday, Feb. 24. The mixologists will issue their Oscar predictions on Thursday, Feb. 21.

Cost • $10-$19.

More info • 801-363-5454 or bambara-slc.com.