ALL POSTS IN Happy Hour

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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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