Mad for Mad Men? Scary-obsessed with American Horror Story? Whatever your (guilty) viewing pleasure, this Sunday, September 22 marks the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards—a time to cheer on your favorite actors and TV programs, not to mention, dissect red carpet hits and misses. But instead of noshing on chips while curled up on the couch, invite a few friends over and use this guide for an award-winning viewing party, It’s complete with tips, tricks and tongue-in-cheek recipes inspired by the programs you love.
· Ask your guests to arrive an hour before the show dressed in the style of their favorite characters. Check out the official nominee list nominees for ideas.
· Put out some inexpensive props like long gloves and faux-diamond tiaras (referencing Downton Abbey), blue gloves and goggles (Breaking Bad), lacy ruffles or collars (Behind the Candelabra) or cigarette holders and fascinators (Boardwalk Empire).
· Download the official Emmy voting ballot here and have your guests make their selections before the show goes live. Have a few prizes on hand—like bottles of bubbly or kitschy plastic trophies—to give the winners.
Boardwalk Empire: “Nucky” Sandwich
Adapted from Seven Hundred Sandwiches, Florence A. Cowles (Little, Brown: Boston, 1929)
In addition to keeping plenty of rye on hand to evoke the most stylish show about bootlegging—Boardwalk Empire—serve up these finger sandwiches, which became popular during the Jazz Age thanks to the invention of sliced bread. Finger sandwiches of the ’20s often had a meaty kick, like the bacon sandwich. Here’s a modified version for BLT lovers:
4 slices white bread, cut ¼-inch thick
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 small (2-inch) tomatoes, thinly sliced
4 strips of bacon, cooked and drained on paper towels
4 lettuce leaves
Salt and pepper, if desired
Spread white bread slices each with a thin layer of mayonnaise. Making 2 sandwiches, top 2 of the mayo-topped slices with 2 strips of bacon each, followed by 1 lettuce leaf. Top with thinly sliced tomato. Sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper and place the second slices on top, mayonnaise side down. Neatly cut the crusts off of the sandwiches, then slice diagonally in half and in half again to form four triangles each. Spear each finger sandwich with a toothpick before serving. Serves 4 as finger sandwiches.
Downton Abbey-inspired Classic Deviled Eggs
Elaborate dining scenes are a delicious staple on PBS’s favorite drama, Downton Abbey, and while most dishes are too complex (read: they require a butler) to serve at your Emmy’s viewing party, deviled eggs are always a hit on and off screen. Fun fact: They were a must-have item on Edwardian-era party platters, too.
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
⅛ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Paprika (for garnish)
Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan or pot and submerge completely with water, until approximately 1½ inches of water can be measured above the eggs.
Heat on high until water reaches a boil, then cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 1 minute. Remove saucepan or pot from heat and leave covered for 15 minutes. Rinse under cold water continuously for 1 minute.
Drain and remove eggs from pan. Crack the eggs carefully, peeling under cold running water. Gently dry with paper towels.
Slice the eggs in half lengthwise, and gently remove yolks (scoop into a bowl). Place the egg white halves on a serving platter. Mash the egg yolks until they are finely crumbled using a fork. Add mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Mix well to combine.
Using an icing bag or spoon, carefully fill the egg whites with egg yolk mixture. Sprinkle with paprika and refrigerate for one hour before serving. Serves 4.
Panna Cotta with Gingered Peach Compote
Courtesy John Keller, chef, Apartment 13, New York City
Showtime’s hit drama Homeland picked up 11 Emmy nominations, and its handsome main character is surely everyone’s favorite redhead this year (sorry Christina Hendricks). In honor of the show’s is-he-or-isn’t-he-a-terrorist Nicholas Brody (played by Damian Lewis), we offer this dangerously good panna cotta, topped with a ginger-peach compote (see if your guests get the reference). Tip: Make this panna cotta, which requires 6 hours of chilling time, the night before to cut down on prep time during the party.
For the panna cotta:
17 ounces heavy cream
5 ounces milk
½ vanilla bean, scraped
1 ounce sugar
4 ounces white chocolate
4 sheets gelatin
3 ripened peaches, peeled and cut into 8 wedges each
2 ounces sugar
1 star anise pod
1 cinnamon stick
1 ounce brandy
½ ounce freshly grated ginger
Heat cream, milk and vanilla in a saucepan until mixture just starts to simmer. Whisk in sugar and white chocolate until smooth. Bloom gelatin sheets in warm water for 5–10 minutes. When gelatin softens, gently wring out excess water. Add to the warm cream mixture and whisk gelatin until it dissolves and the mixture is smooth. Pour mixture into 5 6-ounce ramekins and chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.
To make the gingered peach compote, add peaches, sugar, star anise and cinnamon stick in a pot. Cook for 5–8 minutes over medium heat until slightly caramelized. Remove cinnamon stick and star anise. Stir in freshly grated ginger. Deglaze with brandy and flambé until flame dies out. Remove from heat and chill in a refrigerator.
To remove the panna cotta, place bottom of ramekins in hot water to loosen. Turn ramekins upside down in the desired dish and top with the gingered peach compote. Serves 5.
Angel of Death
Courtesy Chad Pozmantir, Manager, The Florentine, Chicago
This bold, briny cocktail is based on a character portrayed by Frances Conroy in FX’s gothic miniseries American Horror Story: Asylum, which earned 17 Emmy nods.
1 cup olive brine
1 teaspoon squid ink (available at grocery and gourmet stores like Whole Foods)
3 ounces Bombay Sapphire East Gin
Calabrian chile, for garnish
Combine olive brine with squid ink in a glass jar and set aside. In a shaker, combine gin with ½-ounce olive brine-squid ink mixture over ice. (Reserve remaining ink mixture for additional cocktails, about 16.) Shake well and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with Calabrian chile.
The Perfect Mount Gay Manhattan
Courtesy Mount Gay Rum
On the show that makes everyone wish they had an office bar cart, Mad Men, it’s no surprise to see Scotch or vodka appear in nearly every scene. But spirits fans got a surprise when a bottle of Mount Gay Rum made a cameo in one episode (it appeared on a tray behind Joanie’s desk). This cocktail references the classic Manhattan but calls for rum instead of the frequent favorite of the show, Canadian Club.
2 ounces Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum
½ ounce Carpano Punt E Mes sweet vermouth
½ ounce Noilly Prat Original dry vermouth
2 dashes of bitters
Lemon twist, for garnish
Stir rum with vermouth and ice and strain into a chilled rocks glass. Add dashes of bitters and garnish with lemon twist.
Courtesy O’Niell’s Pub, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Set and produced in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Breaking Bad is perhaps the fan favorite building up to the Emmys. This cheeky vodka-based drink is pretty sweet—but not just because of the Curaçao and blue sugar: It’s a direct reference to the designer blue sky meth featured on the show.
Blue sugar, for rimming
1 ounce Smirnoff Raspberry Vodka
2 ounces Red Bull
2 ounces lemonade
5 ounces blue Curaçao
Ginger beer, to top
Rim the edge of a cocktail glass with blue sugar. Combine vodka, red bull, lemonade and Curaçao in a shaker filled with ice. Shake well, strain into glass. Top with ginger beer.