ALL POSTS IN Happy Hour

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Memorial Day’s late May date has marked the unofficial start of summer for years. Most schools unlock the doors and release students for the year that Friday before. [FREEDOM!] The weather is finally at a solid seasonal temperature. It’s also an unofficial rule that you must spend the day/weekend outdoors. Rain is not tolerated. No matter how you choose to spend your holiday weekend, unwind with these refreshing summer cocktails that will leave you ready for lazy pool days all season long.

Cantaloupe Tea Daiquiri

Memorial Day Cocktail Recipes at HGTV's Design Happens Blog

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces Numi Emperor’s Pu-erh Tea
1 1/2 ounces Van Gogh Blue Vodka
3 ounces frozen cantaloupe, cubed
1 ounce coconut milk
splash of lemon juice
lemon wedge, for garnish

Directions

Steep tea at four times the normal strength for two minutes, then remove tea bag and chill liquid for later use. Combine and blend ingredients in blender, adding a splash of lemon for each serving. Serve on the rocks and garnish with a lemon wedge.

More Warm-Weather Concoctions

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Do you prefer less spicy and more fruity concoctions for your upcoming Cinco de Mayo celebration? Well, these will surely please your senses. From grapefruit and tamarind to guava and watermelon juices, mix up drinks that are light but still strong.

Sparkling Frescas

Cinco de Mayo Cocktails at HGTV's Design Happens Blog

Combine your favorite fruit juice with fruit seltzer, and garnish with fresh fruits or veggies for a flavorful and refreshing drink.

Mixer Ideas

Blueberry Seltzer
Fresh pomegranate seeds
Mango juice
Cucumber Melon Seltzer
Watermelon juice
Cucumber slices
Georgia Peach Seltzer
Guava juice
Kumquat slices

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Cinco de Mayo falls on a Sunday this year, but don’t let that deter you from concocting some serious cocktails to celebrate the occasion. I mean, you still have Friday and Saturday to raise a glass or three. So, break out the tequila, jalapeno peppers and Tabasco sauce for some spicy drinks that are perfect for those that love a little kick.

Skinny & Hot Margarita

Cinco de Mayo Cocktails at HGTV's Design Happens Blog

Ingredients

1 part quality anejo tequila (for smoother taste)
1 part freshly squeezed lime juice
1-3 slices jalapeno chile (depending on your taste)
splash of pineapple juice
Polar Ruby Red Grapefruit Seltzer

Directions

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine all ingredients except the Polar Seltzer. Shake vigorously. Pour over crushed ice. Include all the jalapeno if you want extra heat. Top with Seltzer and gently stir.

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This might be the most fitting post I’ve ever written for Design Happens. Yesterday, I returned from an eight-day vacation to Chile where their most famous cocktail is the Pisco Sour. And today, I received some oh-so-delicious recipes that incorporate Chilean Pisco from the Elqui Valley with egg whites to create some refreshing, spring-y cocktails. If I can’t be in Chile, I might as well bring that South American feel to my kitchen.

KAPPA Sour

Kappa Sour Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients

2 ounces KAPPA Pisco
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup
1 egg white
Angostura bitters, for topping

Directions

Combine KAPPA Pisco and remaining ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a small champagne flute. Top with half dashes of Angostura bitters.

KAPPA Blue Star
Kappa Blue Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients

2 ounces KAPPA Pisco
1 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup
1 egg white
10 blueberries

Directions

In a shaker, muddle blueberries with simple syrup. Fill the shaker with ice, add KAPPA Pisco and remaining ingredients. Shake vigorously and strain into a small champagne or martini glass.

Photos and recipes courtesy of KAPPA Pisco

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Winter blues, anyone? I know I’m not alone here. Most of the HGTV.com editorial staff is taking turns seeking sunshine. Camille hit up her sister’s beach house for a little R&R (relaxation and remodeling); Lili just got back from a family vacay in Hawaii (I know!); and Marianne is somewhere in sunny Florida and we hate her for it. So, while some stick their toes in the sand, we can pretend we’re there with umbrella-embellished cocktails. Hey, it does the trick for me!

Blue Hawaii:

Blue Hawaii Cocktail Recipe at HGTV.com's Design Happens Blog

Beachy Cocktail Recipes

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Ah, Valentine’s Day. Every store is covered in pink and red; candy companies are churning out their holiday favorites; teddy bears are being sold in abundance. No matter your romantic status (happily single, not-so-happily single, in love, crushing, bitter over a breakup, etc.), we have the perfect Love Day cocktail for you. I mean, nothing will soothe your tears this Valentine’s Day like a “Bleeding Heart” cocktail, amiright?

BLEEDING HEART:

Bleeding Heart Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients

3 tablespoons pomegranate vodka (or raspberry)
fresh cranberries
Polar Pomegranate Seltzer (or Cherry)
2 tablespoons frozen cranberry juice concentrate

Directions

Combine the vodka and cranberry concentrate in the bottom of a glass. Add fresh cranberries, then add Polar Seltzer and watch it bleed before drinking with abandon.

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Raise a toast to the New Year by entering for a chance to win HGTV Dream Home 2013, a gorgeous, low-country Zen farmhouse with a modern twist in Kiawah, S.C. The nature-lover’s escape is just minutes away from historic Charleston.

Watch the special tonight at 7 p.m. EST with host Monica Pedersen and try making the HGTV Dream Home 2013 signature cocktail, The New South.

HGTV Dream Home 2013 Signature Cocktail

Photography by Jeremy Higgs, Charleston S.C.

It’s a sophisticated southern drink made with North Carolina-based Troy & Son’s Oak Reserve Whiskey, created by Charleston mixologist John Aquino who shared this how-to video:

YouTube Preview Image

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The weather outside is getting chilly; the stockings are getting hung by the chimney with care; and sparkling lights are showing up all over town. The holidays are here! It’s time to celebrate with a winter favorite: Hot Buttered Rum. To make this classic cocktail heat brown sugar, hot milk and rich, dark rum, then float butter on top for a decadent cocktail. Garnish with a pinch of ground nutmeg. Take a sip and officially ring in the holidays!

We’ve got more delicious holiday cocktails to the rescue. Infuriating in-laws? Kitchen woes? Long lines at the mall? Yep, there’s a drink for that. Here are our favorite holiday cocktail pairings to soften any situation the season throws your way.

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As the resident happy hour blogger around here, I get emails from my fellow Design Happens bloggers all the time with great new recipes for drinks that they have made and loved. Briana recently sent a recipe for an eggnog martini that is now on my list of go-to holiday drinks. A martini? With eggnog? Does it get any better than that? Decide for yourself:

Polar Eggnog Skinny 'Nog-Tini

Eggnog Skinny ‘Nog-Tini

Skinny ‘Nog-Tini
1 part high quality bourbon
1 part spiced rum *we used what we had on hand, blackstrap rum
1 part maple syrup
2 parts almond milk (or whole milk) *we used unsweetened vanilla almond milk
4 parts Polar® Eggnog Seltzer
Fresh grated nutmeg (garnish)
Combine all ingredients, except the seltzer, until foamy and aerated (you can always froth with a mini blender). Add ice, and swirl to chill. Strain into large festive glass; top generously with Polar® Eggnog Seltzer. Top with grated spice.

A note from Briana: I was skeptical at first, but it ended up tasting pretty decent! That said, this is coming from someone allergic to real eggnog who drinks SilkNog every year. The fiancé liked it, too, though, so I think it passes the test.

We’ve got more delicious holiday cocktails to the rescue. Infuriating in-laws? Kitchen woes? Long lines at the mall? Yep, there’s a drink for that. Here are our favorite holiday cocktail pairings to soften any situation the season throws your way.

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Thanksgiving is a time when families come together. Inevitably, at some point during the big day, one of your relatives might bring up a debate point that could cause some contention – pumpkin pie or pecan pie. Don’t worry, the entertaining experts at HGTV.com are here to help. You can have the best of both worlds by cutting a big slice of pecan pie and pouring a Pumpkin Pie Martini. Recreate the classic pie in a martini glass with vanilla vodka, pumpkin spice liqueur, Kahlua, butterscotch schnapps and half-and-half.

Holiday Cocktails: Pumpkin Pie Martini

Pumpkin Pie Martini

Want more festive cocktails? From Sake Sangria to a Warm Apple Pie Cocktail, keep your guests entertained with spirited holiday cocktails and party drinks.

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Today marks an important day around the country and in U.S. history as we take part in another presidential election. Like many of you, I’ll be glued to the TV as election coverage comes piling in. Whether you’re celebrating Election Night out or at home, be sure to spend it in style with a politically-inspired cocktail (or mocktail) in hand. Try these recipes created with President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney in mind.

SEE ALSO: HAPPY HOUR RECIPES ON DESIGN HAPPENS

The Lobbyist Martini:

Election Day Cocktails: The LobbyistPhoto and recipe courtesy of Polar Seltzer

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounce gin
1 1/2 ounce vermouth
1 dash orange bitters
1 dash lemon bitters
Polar Ruby Red Grapefruit Seltzer

Directions

Shake with ice, and strain into a martini glass. Top with Polar Seltzer.

Cocktails for the Candidates

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The air is getting cooler and the clocks are turning back an hour; fall is here and with that comes nights spent in front of the fire with a cold-weather cocktail. The recipe to try this week? A Classic Hot Toddy.

This soothing, warm drink was once believed to help with a cold or the flu. While modern-day doctors aren’t handing out prescriptions for this delicious drink, we recommend it to ease your transition into winter. The mixture of whiskey, lemon and honey is perfect to help you fall into cold weather.

Classic Hot Toddy Recipe

Classic Hot Toddy

Is a hot toddy not your drink of choice? We’ve got 11 more warm-and-toasty cocktails.

In a festive, holiday mood? Make sure to check out our giant holiday package for our best decorating ideas, party planning tips and gift suggestions.

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I’m taking a quick break from spooky Halloween cocktails (don’t worry, they will be back next week!) to share an amazing drink that I got to enjoy on my beach vacation this week. The Bushwacker is a beachside favorite due to its cool, chocolate-milkshake-like consistency that the sit-back-and-relax imbibers tend to embrace. Whether you are enjoying this frosty beverage on the coast or in your living room while dreaming about sandy beaches, it’s guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. Just be careful you don’t forget that this delicious concoction contains quite a bit of alcohol. They taste like they are simply sweet treats – make sure you don’t get bushwacked!

Bushwacker

Bushwacker (from Food.com)

Ingredients
1/2 ounce rum (Cruzan is the best, but use whatever brand you have)
1/2 ounce vodka (any brand)
1/2 ounce Baileys Irish Cream (or a similar off-brand name)
1/2 ounce Kahlua (or a coffee flavored off-brand name)
1/2 ounce amaretto liqueur (any brand)
1/2 ounce chococo chocolate-flavored liqueur
1/2 ounce Frangelico (I recommend it) (optional)
1/2 ounce creme de coconut (a MUST – “Coco Lopez” is best)
1 cup crushed ice (more or less to make the proper consistency)
3 dashes of grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon whipped cream
1 maraschino cherry

Directions
Put everything, except nutmeg, whipped cream and cherries in a blender and use enough ice that when blended will be the consistency of a milkshake. Blend, pour into glasses, and top with whipped cream, a cherry, and a couple of dashes of grated nutmeg.

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Who doesn’t love a slimy worm in their Halloween punch? This creepy drink was created for entertaining children, so the recipe doesn’t call for alcohol. But in a season ripe with tricks and treats, nothing says you can’t add a few splashes of your favorite liquor to turn this into an adults-only sip.

Cemetery Punch

Cemetery Punch

Want more spooky cocktails? From a zombie gut cocktail to a bloody brain shooter, keep your guests entertained with spirited Halloween cocktails and party drinks.

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Does it get more gory than this? Impress (or disgust) your guests by serving Bloody Brain Shooters at your Halloween party this year. Channel your inner mad scientist to create this creepy-looking shooter. Add chilled vodka and lime juice to a shot glass, then use a straw to drip Irish cream on top. The acidic lime juice will cause the cream to curdle, creating realistic blobs of “brain.”

Bloody Brain Shooter

Bloody Brain Shooter

If you want to display a bit more sophistication at your haunted gathering, try the fruity version of this cocktail which can be served in a champagne glass.

The Brain Cocktail

The Brain Cocktail

Want more spooky cocktails? From a zombie gut cocktail to a bloody brain shooter, keep your guests entertained with spirited Halloween cocktails and party drinks.

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Halloween is just a few short weeks away. Now is the perfect time to start planning which libations you’ll serve on the spookiest day of the year. The Black Devil Martini has a sophisticated look that is perfect for an adults-only Halloween bash; the bright orange sugar on the rim finishes the drink with a kick of fun.

Black Devil Martini Recipe

Black Devil Martini Recipe

Want more spooky cocktails? From a zombie gut cocktail to a bloody brain shooter, keep your guests entertained with spirited Halloween cocktails and party drinks.

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The much anticipated act of tailgating doesn’t necessarily take place during traditional happy hour times, but is undeniable that the hours spent preparing to cheer on your favorite team are indeed some of the happiest of all. Tailgating isn’t for the faint of heart – you have to pick a location, plan menus, set up tents and most importantly of all, stock the bar. Cold beers (with your favorite teams koozie of course!) are great for later in the day, but you have to start things off right – with a Bloody Mary.

We’ve got the perfect recipe to get your day going.

Oyster Bar Bloody Mary Cocktail Recipe

Oyster Bar Bloody Mary Cocktail Recipe

It’s recommended that you prepare this drink the night before so check out the recipe for Oyster Bar Bloody Mary Cocktail Recipe and head to the store.

Not a fan of Bloody Mary’s? This cold beer and whiskey punch is another perfect tailgating cocktail. Make sure you tell everyone the official name of this fun drink – it’s called a Hop, Skip and Go Naked!

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One of the best things about enjoying a drink over happy hour is giving yourself permission to not go all out with the libations. Sometimes, you don’t need a fancy glass, flavorful herbs or fresh squeezed juice – you just need a nice cold glass of whatever is in your kitchen. And that is the beauty of the Kalimotxo. That magnum bottle of red wine you were saving for a fancy dinner party? Get out the cork screw and tear into that bad boy. Now grab a can of your favorite soda and pour a mixture of the wine and cola over a big cup of ice. Your happy hour drink is served.

SpoonForkBacon.com Kalimotxo

Kalimotxo from spoonforkbacon.com

Kalimotxo
from spoonforkbacon.com
Serves 3 to 4

Ingredients:
3 cups (24 ounces) red wine (preferably NOT expensive)
2 cups (16 ounces) cola cola
lots of ice

Pour ingredients into a pitcher and stir. Pour into individual glasses and serve.

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