ALL POSTS IN Happy Hour

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The unofficial end of summer is (sadly) here (sad face). It feels like we were just talking about ways to start up the grill for summer cookouts. As another season approaches, it seems only right we close out the most carefree time of year with a few refreshing concoctions. Whip up these cool and colorful drinks by Cooking Channel’s Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark as you soak up the long weekend.

Izze Cocktail Recipe

Photo + Recipe: IZZE Sparkling Juice

Vanilla Clementini

Throw it back to childhood snow cone days with this adult version that’s also a martini. (!!!)

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces vanilla vodka
1/2 triple sec or orange liqueur
3 ounces IZZE Sparkling Clementine
2 cups finely-crushed or shaved ice
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

Instructions

In a glass, combine vodka, triple sec and IZZE Sparkling Clementine and stir lightly. Pour over shaved ice and top with a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk. Serve with a spoon (and be prepared to make seconds).

Yield: 1 serving

Izze Cocktail Recipe

Photo + Recipe: IZZE Sparkling Juice

Grapefruit Lavenderita

Put a spin on the Paloma with a dash of lavender.

Ingredients

2 ounces lavender-infused tequila
1/2 Campari
3/4 fresh-squeezed lime juice
6 ounces IZZE Sparkling Grapefruit

Instructions

Add first three ingredients to a tall glass filled with ice and stir. Pour IZZE Sparkling Grapefruit over and stir. Garnish with a fresh lavender blossom and tell someone that you got them flowers.

To infuse tequila, add one tablespoon of dried lavender flowers to 8 ounces of tequila and let sit for 1 hour. Strain and store tequila in a sealed jar or bottle.

Yield: 1 serving

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If you like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain,” then National Pina Colada Day was made for you. And how perfect that it falls in the dog days of summer when nothing seems more refreshing than a cold, tropical cocktail in hand. So “put the lime in the coconut and drink it all up,” I say. But if you’d rather skip past the drinks and head straight to dessert, then try these pina colada baked doughnuts or pina colada key lime pie. Both look exceptionally sinful.

Strawberry Pina Colada Pops

Photo and recipe courtesy of Cornelia Guest

 Spiked Strawberry Pina Colada Pops

Ingredients

3 cups fresh pineapple, cubed
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup rum
1 cup strawberries, sliced

Instructions

Puree all ingredients (except strawberries) in a blender until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and discard solids. Add strawberries, pour into ice-pop molds and freeze for 30 minutes. Insert sticks and continue to freeze overnight. For best results, leave ice pops in the freezer for at least 24 hours.

10 More Recipes to Try

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While you embrace the Fourth of July with tasty seasonal fare and vibrant fireworks, don’t forget about a festive, signature party beverage. With the summer heat bearing down, these icy concoctions will certainly hit the spot.

Fourth of July Recipes

Courtesy of Cornelia Guest

Star-Spangled Spiked Smoothie

Ingredients

1 ounce vodka
1 cup mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
1 8-ounce container vanilla yogurt
coconut flakes, for garnish

Instructions

Combine vodka, berries and yogurt in a blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with blueberries and coconut flakes.

More Recipes to Try >>

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In case you haven’t heard, it’s National Candy Month! However, June is quickly drawing to a close, which means there’s only 5 days left to celebrate this tasty occasion. You can either gorge on candy from your local convenience store, or you could go for a slightly different approach. In the spirit of Ogden Nash’s wise words, “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker,” here are 6 candy-inspired cocktail recipes for you to try:

6 Candy-Inspired Cocktails: Heath Bar Cocktail Recipe

Heath Bar Cocktail: Heath Bars are one of my personal faves, so this toffee-flavored cocktail topped with shaved chocolate looks absolutely irresistible to me! GET THE RECIPE>>

MORE CANDY COCKTAILS

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The summer months call for cold and refreshing treats like ice cream and ice pops, but these warm-weather staples aren’t just for kids anymore. This season, indulge in some adult desserts made with fruity wines and sweet liqueurs that are sure to satisfy the child within.

Limoncello Pops Recipe

Courtesy of Maria Nelson of Pink Patisserie

Sea-Salted Limoncello Pops

Makes 6-8 large ice pops

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
zest from 1 large lemon
pinch of sea salt
1 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup Villa Massa Limoncello
1 teaspoon flaked sea salt

Instructions

In a large saucepan, combine water and sugar over low heat. Heat just until sugar has dissolved. Grate lemon zest on top. Add pinch of sea salt, stir and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cool, add lemon juice and Limoncello. Stir and pour into ice pop molds. Cover molds with aluminum foil and freeze for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, make a slit in foil and place sticks into molds. Freeze an additional 6 hours or overnight. To remove, run molds under warm water for 2-3 seconds. Melting will occur quickly, so don’t run under water for any longer than 2-3 seconds. Just prior to eating, sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

Skinny Amaretto Recipe

Courtesy of mixologists Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark

 Skinny Amaretto Cappuccino Granita

Ingredients

2 cups Nescafe Dolce Gusto Skinny Cappuccino, cooled
2 ounces amaretto liqueur
1/4 cup crushed almonds

Instructions

Prepare two cappuccinos and let cool slightly. Add to blender with amaretto and whip on high for 1-2 minutes until frothy. Pour into shallow freezer-safe dish and cover. Let set for 3-4 hours, stirring a few times with a fork to mix and make fluffy. Before serving, fold in crushed almonds. When ready, scoop into dishes and top with almonds.

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Memorial Day Cocktails

I have pretty routine Memorial Day weekends year after year. I like to be by the water, whether it’s on a friend’s boat or at the pool. It doesn’t really matter which one (or both!), but I like to be feet away from some sort of cool-down option with a refreshing cocktail in hand. To me, there’s no better way to kick off summer. Here’s what I’ll be concocting over the break.

4 Refreshing Cocktails to Try

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Baton Rouge

Since warm weather has returned and daylight has almost stretched to the maximum, summer entertaining is beginning to bloom. If you are dreaming of basking in the favorable temperatures and can’t wait to entertain friends and family with a seasonal gathering, then the Summer Entertaining Toolkit is for you. Over the next 4 weeks you’ll receive a full menu of recipes including a cocktail, appetizer, entree and dessert, that highlight the flavors of the season. Plus, I’ll have some techniques for dressing your table to beautifully accent the dishes. This week say hello to the Baton Rouge. Your new signature summer cocktail.

The most popular warm weather cocktails are often the simplest to make. The margarita, daiquiri, Cuba libre, and caipirinha all contain 3 to 4 ingredients, depending on the maker. The bubbly, sangria-like Baton Rouge is the product of a similar ideal. Choice ingredients of French aperitif wine, orange liqueur, sweetened lime juice and sparkling water combine to make this delightful drink. The cocktail is easily thrown together on a hot afternoon to make a single glass or fill a pitcher. (One bottle of Lillet makes 16 servings!).

Adding to the ease of crafting this drink, is the use of sweetened lime juice. I, unlike many of my mixologist friends, have no problem using this “well” bar staple. It provides advantages of a long shelf life and predictable tartness and sweetness, leading to consistent tasting cocktails. Plus, with limes costing nearly 3 metal George Washingtons apiece, I think having it on hand is not a bad idea.

Norm’s Notes: Stocking up on Glassware.

This drink is suitable for a variety of glasses, so it’s up to you on what to serve it in. A simple wine glass, double old fashioned (aka “DOF”), collins, or juice glasses are all acceptable. It’s helpful to take an inventory to make sure you have enough of the same style of glass to suit the amount of expected guests. If you are running low, or have a bunch of mismatch drink-ware, stop by an antique mall or estate sale and pick out a set of patterned beauties to add to your collection. They usually don’t cost much ($12 to $15 for a set of 6 is the max I’ll pay) so, I’ll often pick up a second set of a similar pattern or style so I have more glasses than needed. Knowing you have backups help ease the stress when the inevitable happens and one tumbles to the floor.

Get the Recipe

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We’re one day away from Derby Day at Churchill Downs, and those not heading to Louisville, Ky. are likely prepping their kitchen with mint leaves and bourbon. (Get our perfect recipe for a homemade mint julep.) But, if you’re looking for a more modern twist on this signature drink, then try out some of these fun and refreshing concoctions.

Blueberry Mint Julep Ice Pop

Recipe by Andrea Correale

Blueberry Mint Julep Ice Pops

Get the recipe here >>

More Kentucky Derby Recipes

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St. Patrick’s Day — a holiday where I can add stout to, well, everything (even pancakes!) and wear an excessive amount of my favorite color. But most importantly, a day where I can say no to green beer and yes to Irish-inspired or just true green cocktails that are in the spirit of the holiday. Plus, let’s be honest, they just taste better.

Bloody Rosemary

Bloody Mary Recipe

It’s not green, but just LOOK at it.

Get the recipe >>

Kiss Me, I’m Irish

Kiss Me I'm Irish Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients

2 1/2 ounces VOGA Sparkling
1 ounce Midori melon liqueur
1 ounce vodka
1 1/2 ounce lemonade
lemon slice, for garnish

Instructions

In a shaker, combine ice, vodka, Midori and lemonade. Stir gently and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Top with VOGA Sparkling. Garnish with lemon slice.

Green Cocktail Recipes to Try

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So, Saturday is National Margarita Day. According to the official website, “We pay tribute and honor the margarita on this special day of celebration. We so deeply respect and value its place in our history that we have set aside February 22 of every year as National Margarita Day.” Well said.

So, whether you prefer a classic ‘rita, one with a little spice, one with absolutely NO tequila or ideas for adding a fun kick to entrees, give these margarita or margarita-inspired recipes a try. You know, for the sake of celebrating … of course.

First, Your Classic Margarita

Margarita Recipe

Get the Recipe: Classic Margarita >>

Then, Onto the Margarita Twists

Melon Margarita Recipe

Get the Recipe: Tom’s Mellow Melon Margarita >>

Jalapeno Margarita Recipe

Get the Recipe: Jalapeno Margarita >>

More Margarita-Inspired Recipes to Try

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For some, Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love, but for others it’s a time to binge-eat chocolate and trash your ex. If you’re in the latter group of V-Day celebrators, mend that broken heart with a few delicious cocktails from celebrity caterer Andrea Correale of Elegant Affairs.

This February 14th, grab your pals and toast to being single — or single and looking — with Andrea’s fruity Bloody Valentine cocktail coupled with blood orange infusions and her Devil’s Spiked Tea, which will put any of your sweet tea concoctions to shame (the secret is in the tequila).

Valentine's Day Cocktails

Devil’s Spiked Tea

Ingredients

4 ounces Lipton Tea and Honey Strawberry Acai Tea
1 ounce Tanteo Jalapeno Tequila
Prosecco
mint
strawberries

Instructions

Muddle mint and strawberries in a cocktail shaker. Add iced tea, tequila and ice in a shaker. Strain into a glass. Top with Prosecco and serve.

Bloody Valentine Cocktail Recipe

The Bloody Valentine

Ingredients

3 ounces orange juice
2 ounces tequila
1/2 ounce grenadine
1/2 ounce blood orange syrup
blood orange slice, for garnish

Instructions

Pour tequila, orange juice and blood orange syrup into a rocks glass with ice. Stir. Slowly pour grenadine around the inside of the glass. (It will sink and slowly rise to mix with other ingredients naturally.) Spear a blood orange slice with a toothpick and lay across the top of the glass.

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Did you know that December 24th is not only Christmas Eve but National Eggnog Day, too? In 1826, U.S. soldiers smuggled inexpensive whiskey into the barracks at the United States Military Academy to make eggnog for Christmas Day, an event now known as the Eggnog Riot. Originally crafted in Europe centuries ago, eggnog eventually crossed the Atlantic and made its way into our hearts, becoming a holiday staple across the country.

Keeping the holiday tradition alive, the mixologists at Mulberry Project in New York combined classic family recipes with their expertise to create a delicious adult eggnog recipe.

Eggnog Cocktail Recipe

Eggnog Cocktail

Ingredients

1 ounce white port wine
2 ounces white rum
1 whole egg
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
3/4 cup milk
dash vanilla extract
cinnamon, for garnish

Instructions

Dry shake for 2 minutes, and then shake with ice for 1 minute. Lastly, sprinkle the edges of the glass with cinnamon. Drink up and enjoy!

Eggnog Cocktail Recipe

Photos by Monica Muller of Mulberry Project

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With autumn in full swing, you can not only infuse your food but your cocktails with everything from apples and cranberries to pumpkins and pears. Bring the season’s most abundant flavors into your Halloween, Thanksgiving and holiday gatherings by mixing these fruits with a bottle of bubbly and other yummy ingredients. Troy Sidle, master mixologist from NYC hotspot Pouring Ribbons, shares his favorite seasonal cocktails you’ll want to try, too.

Ruffino Atunno

Fall Cocktail

Ingredients

6 ounces Ruffino Prosecco
1/2 ounce apple brandy
small scoop cranberry puree
cranberry skewer, for garnish

Instructions

Stir the apple brandy and cranberry puree over ice. Strain into a serving glass. Top with Ruffino Prosecco. Serve in a coupe or champagne flute, and garnish with a cranberry skewer.

Ruffino Elisir Magico

Fall Cocktail

Ingredients

6 ounces Ruffino Moscato d’Asti
1/2 ounce black walnut liqueur
dash angostura bitters
orange twist, for garnish

Instructions

Add black walnut liqueur and bitters into a wine glass over ice. Top with Ruffino Moscato d’Asti. Serve in a wine glass with an orange twist.

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The changing season means I can start reaching for hot toddies instead of ice-cold libations. And there’s nothing I love more than a spiked chai tea or an Irish coffee to pair with dessert at night. What are some of your favorite seasonal cocktails? Share them with us!

ORANGE SPICED CIDER

Orange Spiced Cider Recipe

Created by James Labe for Numi Organic Tea

Ingredients

1 Numi Orange Spice tea bag
8 ounces apple cider
2 ounces dark rum
1 cinnamon stick, for garnish

Directions

Heat cider until very hot. Steep tea bag directly in cider for five minutes, covered. Uncover, add rum and stir. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

PEAR HONEYBUSH

Pear Honeybush Recipe

Created by James Labe for Numi Organic Tea

Ingredients

1 Numi Honeybush tea bag
2 ounces bourbon
4 ounces fresh pear juice
maraschino cherry, for garnish

Directions

Infuse tea bag in bourbon for thirty minutes, then remove bag, squeezing out excess. Pour ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into glass. Serve with a maraschino cherry.

HOT APPLE CIDER

Hot Apple Cider Recipe

Created by celebrity caterer Andrea Correale

Ingredients

2 ounces tuaca
hot apple cider
cinnamon stick, for garnish
cranberries, for garnish
whipped cream (optional)

Directions

Pour two ounces tuaca in an Irish coffee glass and fill with hot apple cider. Top glass with whipped cream (if desired) and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Pumpkin Pie Martini

Pumpkin Pie Martini

Created by celebrity caterer Andrea Correale

Ingredients

1 ounce coconut rum
1 ounce coffee liquor
6 ounces milk
1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 to 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie filling (depending on desired taste)
candy corn, for garnish

Directions

Mix all ingredients together in a blender with a few cubes of ice. Serve in a martini glass with a candy corn garnish and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

Credit: Orange Spiced Cider and Pear Honeybush recipes courtesy of Numi Organic TeaHot Apple Cider and Pumpkin Pie Martini recipes courtesy of Elegant Affairs Caterers

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Saturday marked the start of the world’s largest fair spanning 16 days in Munich, Germany. Oktoberfest, a festival celebrating beer [primarily] and traditional food, draws people from all over the world. If you can’t make it to Europe for the festivities, then find a local biergarten and try out some authentic German brews. Prost!

Mood Board Monday: OktoberfestSteins | Beer Tent | Drafts | Poster | Attire | Kielbasa | Cheers | Pretzels | Vintage Print

Come back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

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That’s it. Summer’s coming to an end. School supply sections are being ransacked. Pools are being abandoned. Boots are slowly being pulled out of the back of the closet. Use this long Labor Day weekend as a time to toast to the end of the season with fruity and refreshing libations. Celebrity caterer Andrea Correale shares her favorite end-of-summer cocktail recipes that are sure to send you into fall in good spirits.

End of Summer Sangria

Labor Day Cocktail Recipes

Ingredients

2 bottles dry white wine
1 cup triple sec
1/2 cup berry-flavored vodka
1/2 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup simple syrup
1 cup blueberries
1 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 cup raspberries
1 1/2 cups pineapple chunks (optional: use star-shaped cookie cutter to cut out patriotic shapes)

Directions

To make the simple syrup, boil 1/2 cup water and add 1/2 cup granulated white sugar. Turn heat to simmer and stir until dissolved. Turn off heat and let cool.

Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl or pitcher, and stir well. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours. Serve well-chilled with a good scoop of fruit floating in each drink, or serve over ice.

THREE MORE RECIPES TO TRY!

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August is National Peach Month (yup!), and we’re starting out the celebration — and the weekend — with peachy concoctions that are the perfect mix of sweet and tangy. In several parts of the country peaches are now in season, so stock up and start shaking … or stirring.

Fuzzy Naval Crush

Fuzzy Naval Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients

2 ounces Van Gogh Cool Peach Vodka
1 ounce triple sec
splash of orange juice
splash of soda water
mint, for garnish

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a pint glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with mint.

Berry Peach Lemonade

Berry Peach Cocktail Recipe

More Cocktail Recipes After the Jump

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Whenever I head to a summer soiree, I always bring my favorite warm-weather staple: Sangria. There have been so many times, though, where I’ve made it and one ingredient overpowers another and the fruit becomes just a garnish rather than a prime part of the cocktail. Nick Accardo, head mixologist at W Scottsdale in Arizona, has crafted no-fail sangria and margarita recipes for summer — no blender and no sweet/sour mix needed.

Perfect Sangria Recipe

Easy Sangria Recipe

Photo: W Scottsdale

Ingredients

1/2 ounce brandy
1/2 ounce peach schnapps
3 ounces Lolailo Red Sangria wine (or similiar wine)
splash of fresh-squeezed orange juice
fresh cherries and mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries and blueberries)

Directions

Pour all ingredients into empty red wine glass, including cherries and fresh berries. Then, fill glass with ice. Stir thoroughly. Enjoy!

Perfect Margarita Recipe

Easy Margarita Recipe

Photo: W Scottsdale

Ingredients

1.5 ounces Don Julio Blanco tequila
1/4 ounce triple sec
1 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce agave nectar
1/4 ounce fresh-squeezed orange juice
float 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
lime and orange wedge, for garnish

Directions

Fill two glasses with freshly cracked ice. Pour all ingredients, except Grand Marnier, over ice in one of the glasses. Shake vigorously and strain into the other glass. Then, float the Grand Marnier on top. Drop in both the orange and lime juice and garnish with a lime and orange wedge. Enjoy!

Try out one of our other delicious concoctions this weekend:

Photos and recipes courtesy of W Scottsdale Hotel

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Next time I’m in New York to visit Lili, Briana and Alyssa, I have a few hot-spots on my list to check out: PDT (Please Don’t Tell), Milk & Honey, Little Branch and Gwynnett St. Some of these bars accept guests by reservation or referral only, or only allow members after a certain time. For some reason, that makes them so much more intriguing. I’m dying to check out the drink menu more than the atmosphere, though. Over at Milk & Honey, for example, fruit juices and extracts are all made by hand; mixing glasses are stored in the freezer to keep drinks cold; and ice is cut by hand using an ice pick to create imperfect, jagged pieces. If I know that’s the process going into my cocktail, I can certainly wait a few minutes for it.

So, are you ready for 5 p.m. to get here so you can wrap your hand around a refreshing, warm-weather concoction? I’m with you! Let’s celebrate the start of summer with four delicious drink recipes from renowned NYC mixologists (or alchemists, rather).

UP ALL NIGHT COCKTAIL:

Summer Solstice Cocktail Recipe

Recipe courtesy of Lauren Schell, Little Branch, NYC

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces Reyka Vodka
1/2 ounces rosemary-infused cognac
3/4 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce cane syrup
bar spoon
rosemary sprig, for garnish

Directions

Whip and strain into iced Collins glass. Top with soda water. Garnish with large rosemary sprig.

STEAM 75 COCKTAIL:

Summer Solstice Cocktail Recipe

Recipe courtesy of John deBary, PDT, NYC

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces Reyka Vodka
3/4 ounce Art in the Age Rhubarb
3/4 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce strawberry puree
1 ounce Brut champagne
lavender sprigs, for garnish

Directions

Shake and strain into chilled coupe. Top with 1 ounce Brut champagne. Garnish with sprigs of lavender.

More Cocktails

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Something about sunshine and 90-degree weather makes a cocktail or glass of wine sound that much more appealing. Summer in itself is enough reason to throw a cocktail party, and I’m thinking a girls’ wine night sounds just right.  If you’re with me on this sentiment, consider upgrading your stemware. These fabulous wine glass crafts are sure to jazz up your summer party.
 

DIY Glitter Wine Glasses
These DIY Glitter Wine Glasses are perfect for a glitzy party. What’s not to love about a little glitter?

 

DIY Painted Stemless Wine Glasses
Stemless wine glasses are optimal for casual summer get-togethers. See how Kristen from MyColor painted these glasses to give them a bright, floral feel.

 
More Fabulous Wine Glasses

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