Cocktails and a Tony Award

2024 Tony Awards Watch Party: Where to Celebrate the Best of Broadway

Live theatre is exactly like our favorite cocktails — filled with the same key players we love to see again and again (be it whiskey and rum or Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane), unexpectedly sour twists, and bittersweet finishes. With the 77th Tony Awards airing live on June 16, what better way to celebrate the art than with a host of beverages that are equally as complex as the shows and characters represented?

While you may have all the best unconventional hors d’oeuvres recipes down pat, your drinks menu needs to be equally as impressive. Filled with on-theme ingredients for every guest’s preference, you can use these cocktails and mocktails to simply get through the endless commercials or take a few sips during your personal Tony Awards drinking game. Did Ariana DeBose put on yet another spectacular, viral-worthy opening performance? Sip! Will “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Stereophonic” sweep the awards as predicted? Sip! Even if you only mix and muddle your drinks for a cozy, theatre-themed night with a few close friends, these drinks play the perfect role for every moment of your watch party.

Tequila Sunrise

Tequila sunrise with cherry and orange slice

Tequila, orange juice, and a splash of grenadine with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry on top — the sunny cocktail isn’t exactly what comes to mind when you think of rock and roll, and yet, it’s perfect for fans of “Stereophonic.” The rock ‘n’ roll history of the tequila sunrise shares close roots with the dramatic play, as the cocktail was popularized in Sausalito, California, exactly where the stage play takes place.

The characters in the most Tony-nominated play of all time, rumored to be loosely-based on the legendary members of rock band Fleetwood Mac, are a fame-chasing quintet of Brits and Americans who are steps away from true stardom. While the play takes place entirely within the confines of their studio, the audience can only imagine the hazy, orange California sunsets and easygoing, tequila-tinged freeness that inspired the band’s songwriting, and thus, propelled their rise to fame. Serve up your citrusy Tequila Sunrise cocktails in some groovy, ’70s inspired glasses with their signature orange and cherry garnishes. They can also be spiced up with some jalapeño peppers or made fruitier with pieces of melon as a nod to the popular fruit grown throughout the Bay Area.

Classic Colorado Bulldog

Classic Colorado Bulldog with cherries

The Classic Colorado Bulldog cocktail may look like a drink straight from a picturesque 1950’s movie filled with poodle skirts, romantic (yet respectful) slow dances, and kitschy soda fountains — but one sip quickly reveals that the drink has been corrupted with some perverse spirits. The cola and heavy cream concoction is mixed with vanilla vodka and coffee liqueur, a seemingly random combination that sounds like the brainchild of delinquent adolescents bored with their virgin ice cream floats. That said, the ingredients actually mesh extremely well, with the flavor of a boozy cola deepened by earthy coffee. A salute to the ragtag cast and production crew of “The Outsiders” with 12 Tony nominations between them, this falsely innocent drink is absolutely golden.

The creamy Sodapop-inspired creation has something for every member of the tight-knit Greasers — it’s similar to the deep yet innocuous Ponyboy character, with a rebellious streak similar to Dally’s. Classic cola works well for the cocktail, but you can switch it up with vanilla or cherry Coke. After stirring the heavy cream into the blend of vodka, soda, and coffee liqueur, top it off with a spritz of boozy whipped cream and a maraschino cherry or two.

Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea)

Agua de Jamaica in short glass

Michelle McGlinn/ Look

A glass of agua de Jamaica is the perfect salve in between heady, ingredient-heavy drinks. Made with dried hibiscus petals, water, fresh lime juice, and a bit of sugar if you like it sweet, it’s layered, refreshing, and a little sour — a drink that mirrors the highs and lows of finding community in a foreign place. The refreshment draws parallels to the experiences of the stylists in Best Play nominee “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding,” which chronicles the lives of West African immigrants in a Harlem braiding shop, and the intricate nuances of their sisterhood.

Hibiscus, also known as sorrel or roselle, is a flower widely used across the Black diaspora. There’s a great significance of hibiscus drinks throughout African history, although the name of the drink is slightly disparate. Depending on where you are, no one can agree on whether it’s dubbed zobo, bissap, or sobolo. Despite the variations, agua de Jamaica continues to be constant and reliable, shape-shifting into whatever you need it to be. While its foremost nature is a revitalizing one, you can mix it with something stronger if desired. Stir in some rum, tequila, or vodka as an ode to the melting pot that is Harlem, or combine the drink with palm wine, a frothy, fermented West African drink derived from the sap of palm trees.

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Rhubarb Ginger Fizz

Rhubarb ginger fizz with candied ginger

Jennine Rye/ Look

An intricate mix of gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, club soda, and egg whites, the gin fizz is a classic cocktail with roots in postbellum New Orleans. Our Rhubarb Ginger Fizz spruces up the original, infusing it with deeper flavors. While a gin fizz itself is refreshing, one sip of the amped up offshoot uncovers a drink that’s much more than you bargained for — a sentiment shared by the characters in Best Revival of a Play nominee “Appropriate.” The estranged Lafayette family must return to their deceased patriarch’s Arkansas plantation home where they discover truths as bitter as rhubarb’s bite.

The red plant was never a fixture of the antebellum South, a period that marred and continues to define the convoluted history of the region. It doesn’t even take to the soil, preferring the drawn-out winters of the North. Despite its resistance, rhubarb does find itself used in Southern-style pies, crisps, and refreshments, forming a reluctant relationship. The vegetable brings a delightfully complicated touch to the classic gin fizz, with the slight, sweet flavor further coaxed out by spicy ginger. While it ultimately goes down more easily than the secrets the Lafayettes hoped would remain buried, the journey is just as layered.

Grown-Up Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple with orange slice

Ksenia Prints/ Look

The Shirley Temple is rumored to come from a child’s desire to be older. Ginger ale is doubly sweetened by a splash of grenadine and a maraschino cherry — a compromise for a young girl who truly wanted a sip of her parents’ old fashioneds. The Shirley Temple is iconic and remains the grandmother of all mocktails. Despite its fame, it’s a somewhat stodgy remnant of the past, similar to the bubbly image of its namesake early 20th century star. In comes the Grown-Up Shirley Temple Mocktail. It’s a lot spicier, sassier, and grown — just like Ali, the overprotected teenage musical prodigy at the center of “Hell’s Kitchen,” which is up for Best Musical.

The drink swaps soda for nonalcoholic ginger beer, which is just as fizzy but packs a fiery punch. This revamped version also includes freshly-squeezed juice from a cara cara orange, the Venezuelan original that’s a cross between the Brazilian Bahia and Washington Navel. Leaning more sour than its counterparts, the cara cara orange blends beautifully with grenadine’s mouth-puckering pomegranate flavor. Rather than garnishing this Grown-Up Shirley Temple with maraschinos, opt for Amarena cherries. The sour Italian fruit, which is often used to finish off true cocktails, remains a playful nod to a child’s fervent wish to speed up time.

Smoky French 75

French 75 with lemon peels

Ksenia Prints/ Look

Although the lively parties at speakeasies made up some the most defining moments of Prohibition in the U.S., the restrictive era still resulted in drinks created from desperation. A notable one, the French 75 relied on hastily-made bathtub gin and Champagne to keep the imbibers satiated. Meanwhile, in 1930’s Berlin, where “Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club” is set, the alcohol flowed more freely. The revived Smoky French 75 celebrates this greater access to spirits, and makes the perfect toast to the musical’s nomination for Best Musical Revival.

Instead of gin, the upgraded version of the cocktail calls for smooth tequila. Most notable is the addition of absinthe, an herbaceous liquor that loosens one’s inhibitions — perfect for a racy night of cabaret. Aside from the potent quality of the spirit, absinthe balances out the lighter elements of the Smoky French 75 with its unique anise flavor. Red vermouth and Cointreau also make an appearance, boosting the tart taste of the lemon curl garnishes. Fun, flirty, and dangerously inviting, this cocktail is sure to be the main event of the night.

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