Happy Hour – Classic Margarita

When your warmest day since last October falls on a Taco Tuesday, there’s really only one choice for Happy Hour – MARGARITA!!

The sun in shining. I have chips and salsa, and all the necessary ingredients to make the classic cocktail. Including the salt for the rim of the glass.

And I specifically asked for salt.

(Bonus points if you know what movie that kind of references – it’s not a direct quote, hence the bonus points.

Margarita + Chips N Salsa + Lovely Weather =
Perfect Backyard Happy Hour
  • 3 oz tequila
  • 2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz triple sec
  • Ice
  • Salt for rim

Pour liquid ingredients into cocktail shaker. Top with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into salted cocktail glass.

Salting the rim: My daughter asked how this magic came to be. She asked if I put lemon on the edge of the glass to get the salt to stick to it. So close. Since she had no idea and couldn’t put the logic together even after the zillions of baking and cooking projects we’ve done during self-quarantine, I’m assuming someone else out there would like the mystery solved and appreciate some instructions.

It’s water on the rim. And since we are in a world where we either don’t touch anything or wipe it down with antibacterial wipes before and after touching it, you can use a touch-less method by filling a shallow bowl with water, and another shallow bowl with kosher salt. Dip rim about 1/8 of an inch into the water, then in the salt, and ta-da! salted rim.

Be careful not to strain your drink on the salted rim prior to presentation. That will ruin the effect. And the effect is good. And while we like salt on the rim of the glass, we do NOT like salt IN the glass.

Enjoy your margs. And tell me if you specifically ask for salt or NO SALT. 😉

Cheers!

Happy Hour – Whiskey Fizz

Whiskey. What can we say about it?

Seems like there’s a whiskey for you regardless of what your price point, place in the world or general dispensation. I was looking at the liquor store through Instacart (yes, this is the reality right now… that the alcohol shall be purchased through an app and brought to my door), and saw ALL KINDS of whiskey. Irish, Kentucky, Canadian, Japanese. There was a peanut butter flavored one. There’s one called Redneck Riviera Whiskey. Seems like if you need to identify with your drink on a deeper level, you absolutely can.

For my Whiskey Fizz, Jack Daniels was in the cabinet. Thanks for being here today, Jack. It’s been a pleasure.

Whiskey Fizz
  • 3 oz blended or other whiskey
  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice (fresh is best, trust me)
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 3 oz chilled club soda
  • Lemon wedge

In a cocktail shaker, shake whiskey, lemon juice and simple syrup with ice. Strain into an ice-filled glass. Top with club soda and stir gently. Squeeze lemon wedge over the drink, then drop it in.

I find that you can adjust the amount of club soda or whiskey to your liking. I prefer more flavor and less fizz, if you follow what I’m saying.

This is a refreshing drink. Great for a sunny day. Or a day when you need a reminder of the sun. See how I just made it appropriate for any day? I’m a wizard.

Let me know if you make this drink, like it or not. And if there’s a drink you’d like me to make, put my snarky spin on or critique, leave me a comment. I’m happy to oblige.

Happy Hour – Vodka Gimlet

Welcome to Happy Hour!

I had to rename my cocktail posts.

I committed to making a classic cocktail every day for 2 weeks. Why 2 weeks? Because that’s how long we were originally supposed to social distance and stay home. 2 weeks seemed reasonable – a commitment, but doable.

Truth be told, I had a feeling that it would be longer, but one day at a time, ya know?

I did my 2 weeks and took a little break. Breaks are good. Gives you time to rest and think about what just happened. Evaluate how to move forward.

And moving forward, there shall be HAPPY HOUR – where I make a drink, take a picture and post the recipe and all the little things I have to say when I get around to it. So probably not every day. Probably more often than every Thursday (because shelter-in-place and all… I have some time on my hands). It’s good to have something consistent to look forward to. But just not something you HAVE to do. It’s a fine line, and I’m riding it.

And before someone goes saying, “You could make all of your drinks and take all of your pictures on one day and then do the writing on another…”, think about those logistics. Who is drinking all that booze after I’ve made it? Certainly not me and my middle schooler. And no way it’s going down the drain. So, good thought, but… no. Happy Hour is gonna have to be a little more organic than that.

Vodka Gimlet
  • 2 oz vodka
  • 2 oz Rose’s lime juice (the signature ingredient)

Add ingredients to mixing glass with ice. Stir. Strain into chilled cocktail glass.

Ok… the instructions say to chill your cocktail glass. The likelihood that you’re going to do this is low. While a chilled glass may add an additional measure of enjoyment to your experienced, do not let the lack of chilling deter or delay your happy hour. EVER. A room temperature glass will do. I won’t tell if you don’t.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Happy Hour today, been inspired to try something new, and may you return for more Happy Hours to come.

Classic Cocktail Series Day 14: Cosmopolitan

2 weeks. 2 weeks of a different cocktail every day – well except for the day when I. JUST. COULD. NOT. and I poured a glass of wine. And the day I did bourbon on the rocks. But that was at least good bourbon. ANYWAY…

The Cosmopolitan- I think I’ve had one in my life at a bar once because I was like, “I want something fancy!” Not sure what made me classify it as fancy. I mean, I guess it is fancier than being able to pour wine in a glass.

I was surprised by how much I liked this drink. I don’t love a lot of citrus in a drink. But these proportions and good vodka make my mouth happy.

Cosmopolitan
  • 3 oz vodka
  • 1 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1 1/2 oz cranberry juice
  • 3/4 oz lime juice
  • Lime or orange wedge for garnish.

Add liquid ingredients to shaker, top with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into glass. Garnish with lime or orange wedge.

Classic Cocktail Series Day 13: Irish Mule

I love all the mules. It’s the ginger beer.

And I have copper mugs. If you’re trying to get the cost per use down on your copper mugs, make ALL the mules. At least that’s my strategy.

The Irish Mule is made with Irish Whiskey (Jameson). And mint. Mint makes it extra tasty and gives it that fun green color you equate with St. Patrick’s Day. And who doesn’t love St. Patrick’s Day? I’m Chi-rish, so you know I’m down.

If you’re generally not a mule fan because of the lime, decrease the amount of lime juice or omit it altogether- of course you don’t have a mule then, but I won’t tell.

Irish Mule
  • 3 oz Irish Whiskey (I used Jameson)
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 3 oz ginger beer
  • Lime wheel and mint sprig for garnish
  • Ice

Muddle mint leaves. Add whiskey and lime juice to mug. Stir. Add ice. Top with ginger beer. Add sprig of mint and lime wheel for garnish.

I actually like how this tastes about 15 min later when the mint has had a chance to permeate the drink. Mmmmmm… minty.

If you try this, let me know what you think. And if you have a favorite mule that’s a variation of the traditional Moscow Mule, let me know – I’d love to try it!

Classic Cocktail Series Day 11: Bourbon on the Rocks

Listen, today was HARD for me. The kind of hard day that comes from within, which is to say my outer circumstances didn’t contribute to how I’m feeling (much… I mean we do have a puppy and 3 kids running around here, each with their own needs and ideas). 11 days of staying socially distant and staying home – I think it’s safe to say I’m an extrovert. I would not survive prison. And when the time comes, do NOT sign me up to live on Mars.

That said, I needed something easy. Therefore, today’s “cocktail” is bourbon. On the rocks. Well, just 1 rock actually – I’ll show you in a second.

Bourbon is my fav. I’m not quite sure how this happened. Maybe it’s when I had an Old Fashioned for the first time and wondered what the bourbon would taste like on its own. Maybe it’s when I was too lazy to make my Kentucky Mule and decided to go no further than the bourbon over ice. Maybe it’s when I was out of all the other ingredients and just wanted a DRINK. It’s hard to say.

Today’s bourbon is Four Roses. Some friends gave it to my husband for Christmas. They know what’s up. It’s good to have friends that know what’s up. I’ve made Manhattans and Old Fashioneds with it. Yum.

When you’re having liquor straight up/on the rocks, you’ll want to go with a higher quality that what you’d use to mix in with other ingredients. Just like you wouldn’t use stew beef as that steak you’re going to grill and eat on its own. And you wouldn’t listen to every song by Nickelback – one song on a playlist is already pushing it, but you might just get away with it. Same with liquor – quality matters. Splurge a little if you’re planning to slowly sip and enjoy.

So, my Secret Santa this past holiday season got me some bourbon (Koval) and these ice molds that make one large sphere of ice for my glass. This keeps your drink cold, but not watered down. I like that.

The best part about this whole situation is it takes me about 30 seconds to make my drink. Provided that I’ve already made the ice. I suppose it does take some planning ahead. But you can do this, people. YOU. CAN. DO. THIS.

Bourbon on the Rocks
  • Bourbon of your choice (I’m drinking Four Roses. I also recommend Koval and Basil Hayden’s, if you need a recommendation. This is all personal preference and totally up to you.)
  • Ice, cubes or sphere, or Whiskey Stones
  • A nice glass will add to the enjoyment. I promise.
  • Place ice in bottom of glass. Pour bourbon over ice.
  • Smell. Sip. Close your eyes, think happy thoughts.

You may be taking care if others at this time. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself. One easy way to do that is to notice what you have. Sometimes it’s as easy as removing all the extras and recognizing what’s left.

Classic Cocktail Series Day 12: Whiskey Sour

If it wasn’t for this series, I certainly wouldn’t know how many days I’ve been home from work. The days are blurring together. Saturday looks a lot like Tuesday. But I can look forward to a different cocktail every day. And that is GOOD.

Today’s cocktail is the Whiskey Sour. My memory of this drink is of my 10 year high school reunion. It was open bar. I’m not a big drinker, so I had no idea what to order (and to go with beer or wine would be silly because we all know open bar = a world of possibilities and no one needs to experience FOMO over that). One of my besties from HS said she chooses one drink and sticks with it the whole night and in situations like there she chooses Whiskey Sours. And so it was. Good times.

You’ll need simple syrup for this. The good news is you can make simple syrup. It’s, well, simple.

Whiskey Sour
  • 4 oz blended whiskey
  • 1 oz lemon juice (fresh would be ideal)
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • Orange slice and maraschino cherry for garnish

Shake liquid ingredients with ice. Strain into chilled glass. Garnish with orange slice and cherry.

A little bit sweet, a little bit sour. A lot good. Kinda like life, right?

Next time you don’t know what to order, give this a go. If you love it, let me know. If you hate it, feel free to blame my HS bestie.

Classic Cocktail Series Day 10: Sangria Mule

Yes, I know the Sangria Mule is not a classic cocktail. Yes, I know I haven’t exhausted the classics yet. However, the blackberries in my refrigerator need to be eaten and the red wine needs to be used up, so this is happening.

And given our current set of circumstances, we are using what we have and we won’t be wasting anything – not a single blackberry, and certainly not wine… the very thought!

I’ll start by saying I don’t gravitate toward tequila drinks. But this… this I could gravitate toward.

And it’s pretty. I like pretty.

Sangria Mule

Makes one cocktail

  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 1 ounce red wine (I use Pinot Noir), chilled
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 4 ounces ginger beer, chilled
  • blackberries and lime slices for garnish
  • fresh mint leaf for garnish (optional)

Fill glass 1/2 full with ice. Add tequila, wine and lime juice. Stir gently. Top with ginger beer. Add blackberries, lime and mint for garnish.

It’s good, people. You can sip this, close your eyes and envision yourself on a beach in Mexico with the sunshine and the waves and the heat. See… you can travel anytime with the right drink.

Now, go make yourself one and turn on a tropical beach screensaver. Play some island music. Enjoy your little escape.