Bitters are an essential bar ingredient, but did you know they were originally a staple of the medicine cabinet? Even today bitters may be just the thing if you need to settle your stomach after indulging in a big meal.
Punch is a fun-to-serve, often less expensive way to offer an adult beverage to your guests. And have you noticed? In the last few years, the cocktail bowl has made a comeback in bars, a festive way to share a drink with a table of friends. At the very least, punch will make your party memorable, even more so if you make a complementary ice ring. My favorite punch recipe has a secret ingredient, a really cheap one, that no one suspects.
With more sunshine, my end-of-day goal is to spend a few moments putzing in my garden. This means that dinner ends up being simple recipes and easy but delicious drinks, like smashes. These smashes make up a whole new world of cocktails with endless options for muddling, mixing, and of course sipping. This one is just perfect for today's 10-Minute Happy Hour.
As we close off Cocktail Week, I thought this Tim Gunn-approved bar cart would be good inspiration as you go off into the weekend! I love how the owner has reworked this vintage cart to make it completely Happy Hour-ready: it not only holds liquor and lemons, but the drawers — pulled out on the sides — function as shelves for glasses. Talk about making it work!
Sparkling wine is already a festive pour for a party, but here's an idea for making it a little more special: serve homemade fruit liqueur lollipops for guests to stir into their bubbly. It's an elegant, surprising take on the usual champagne cocktail.
Love. Love. Love. I love this growler. I love it for keeping my beer carbonated and chilled all the way to the party. I love it for keeping my big batch of soup hot for the potluck. I even love it for keeping my milk cozy at it turns into yogurt. I just love it. Times a million.
With this being Cocktail and Happy Hour week at The Kitchn, I simply could not let the
week go by without a shout out for Lambrusco, the crisp, refreshing and
deliciously frothy sparkling red wine from Emilia Romagna in Italy. I particularly like and recommend the 2011 Cavicchioli ‘Vigna del Cristo’ Secco ($16), which is perfect for any happy hour gathering, especially now, as Lambrusco is suddenly trendy again.
I absolutely love a good cocktail party and think we should all be throwing them a lot more often. It's less pressure than hosting a full-on dinner party, you get to invite more people to stand in clusters around your apartment's tiny living room, and you still get to pull out your high heels. Plus, cocktail appetizers are the best. When else do you get to eat half a dozen bacon-wrapped potato bites with well-shaken Manhattan and call it dinner?
The difference between a great cocktail and a stellar one is time and preparation. Cocktails made with infused spirits or syrups add a complexity and depth that you can taste — an extra hint of cinnamon, a prick of heat, a fresh hint of mint. The best thing is that these infusions aren't hard to craft. They just take time and a little extra forethought. Here are a few worth trying out:
Joanne Weir, a San Francisco chef, tequila expert, and the subject of one
of our early kitchen tours, makes a margarita at her Bay Area restaurant Copita
that is known as one of the best in the region. She says — and I agree
whole-heartedly — that the biggest mistake people make with their margaritas
is that they use too many ingredients like Triple Sec, Grand Marnier, or Cointreau.
It’s all about the balance of sweet and tart in a glass with just a few
ingredients: 100% agave tequila (Weir prefers blanco), freshly squeezed lime
juice and agave nectar.