Summer is in full swing with parties taking to patios, porches, and parks from coast to coast. Don't want to show up empty handed, but also not loving the idea of hanging out near a hot stove before your next soirée? Here's the perfect fix: offer to bring the drinks instead! Whether you're headed to a picnic or BBQ, this simple summer cocktail is perfect for a happy hour on the go.
Mason jars are a slight obsession of mine in the summer. They are durable and casual but also adorable and functional. With tight fitting lids, they are safe to transport without spills and do double duty as cocktail shaker and drinking vessel. This cocktail can easily be assembled mostly in advance, but here are a few more tips if you're planning on a portable happy hour.
1. Keep the Spritz on the Side. Any cocktail that call for seltzer
water, club soda, sparkling water or champagne should be topped off with this
ingredient right before you serve. If you add any of these bubbly ingredients
in advance, you are sure to have a flat, bubbly-free drink by time you get to your destination.
2. Keep it Cold. Frozen drinks are great when it's hot but they don't transport well. Also it's best to add your ice once you've gotten where your going. Adding in advance can leave you with mason jars of watery cocktails. Try transporting in a thermos or small cooler — or better yet, task another friend with bringing the cubes.
3. Cocktail Attire. Dressing up drinks with fresh herbs and garnishes makes for a stylish, and much prettier, drink. But pack your garnishes on the side. Garnishes are not ingredients; they’re just a little flare, like jewelry for a drink. Go ahead mix in any fresh herbs that call for muddling ahead of time, but just keep the jewelry on the side. Herbs travel well when simply wrapped loosely in cool wet paper towels and packed in a ziptop bag.
Now that you've got the skills, you can get to making this delicious drink yourself. Bigger batches work, too — fill a thermos and tell your friends to BYOG (Bring Your Own Glass) to your next meet up in the park, roof top toast or backyard bash.
Pineapple Honey Bee Cocktail
Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup Pineapple Honey Vodka from Little Black Dress
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained
1/2 cup fresh lemon balm leaves, loosely packed
2 dashes of bitters for each cocktail
Club soda, to top off
Lemon slices, for garnish
Dissolve the honey in 1/4 cup very hot water and cool to room temperature.
In a small pitcher, combine the vodka, honey water and lemon juice. Add the lemon balm and muddle with a wooden spoon.
Fill 4 to 6 mason jars with ice cubes. Add the 2 dashes of bitters to each mason jar. Divide the cocktail evenly among the glasses. Top with club soda. Garnish with lemon slices and serve.
(Images: Maureen Petrosky)