happy hour

More than a few things need to make a comeback, (don’t get me started) and cocktails are one of them!

In today’s accelerated, abbreviated world where ciders, beer & wine are king (not that there’s anything wrong with that –  “crackin’ a cold one” and “passing the box” have their time and place), as does sipping on top-of-the-line beers, ciders & wines but there’s a certain “je ne sais quoi” about mixing a cocktail – a certain civilized grownupness about the dance that is cocktail making – just check out a few James Bond flicks to remind yourself, and if you have any doubt about the “shaken not stirred” theory, see his royal coolness in action! And as with everything else in the crazed kitchen, mixing cocktails is about having the tools, techniques and know-how to get muddling with the best of them – add what you like, leave what you don’t, and see what all those cool cats of the cocktail generations knew that we have so hastily deleted as quickly as, well, emails in our inboxes.

And because it’s important that everyone is happy, I have included a little beer & wine info but for a change, put the opener/corkscrew/box down and get shakin’ … you’re welcome!

bar tools & techniques

As it is with cooking food, the same goes for mixing drinks – get all the right stuff and a reputation will be close behind – and in this case, that’s a good thing!  First, of course, is the inventory – without the makings,  you won’t be mixing up much. So after you have the best-stocked bar on the block, also know that you can’t mix it up without a shaker, you can’t stir it all around without a stick and you will never get on the dance floor without a few moves. So peruse these references and get yourself an advantage, as in what the pros know that we don’t and start cookin’ behind the bar as feverishly as  you do in front of the stove! All who imbibe will thank you.

bar tools

bar techniques

garnishes & ice

beers

cocktails

And now that you’ve armed yourself with the tools, techniques and fixins’ (see above ) you now need your playbook to mix it up like a hotshot. What better way to get it done than to see the pros in action. So check out how easy it is to whip up a few cocktails and learn first-hand that very often less is more, quality wins over quantity and a finely concocted cocktail can leave  a vat of wine or keg of beer in the proverbial dust – how about a potent sip of something sensational. So saddle up to the bar and order up a neat one …

cocktail cookbooks

the only cocktail recipe guides you’ll ever need

bartenders in action

shots, shooters & novelties

tasting tips

mocktails

And if flying on the lighter side is more your cup of tea or should I say cup of “hooch”, you can enjoy just the same. The challenge? The spirits very often carry the flavor so below you will find a playbook worthy of Bond and being a mocktailer, you can have as many as you want and be able to drive the entire party home!

read it – get yourself some serious know-how

watch it – class is in session – videos await

noshes & nibbles

What is happy hour without something to nibble on, and to be frank, it really should be mandatory … no munchies, no moonshine. It’s never a good idea to head down libation lane without a snack or two on the sidelines. With that said, it can be a no-brainer or it can be straight from the heart. It can be as simple as a quick trip to the deli counter where a little or alot of tasty goodies can be assembled in very short order. Think spicy salamis, ripened cheeses, pickled treats, zippy olives, artisan breads – consider a few prepared items like stuffed grape leaves, spanakopita or sausage rolls, hit the sushi case on your way out and you’re good to go. On the other hand, if you’re in the mood to get a little creative, check a few of the links below and create a few of your own tasty tapas to accompany your next cocktail. So thank the Lord – cocktails and their comrades are alive and well and living right in your very own kitchen. So don’t disappoint – if cocktails could talk, the glass would surely turn to the plate and ever so sweetly say, “you complete me” – enjoy!

bewitching bites

classic creations

read it – get yourself some serious know-how

watch it – class is in session – videos await

tricks & tonics

And just when you thought swinging from chandeliers and lampshades on heads was the only way to bring the fun back to a party, think again. Get yourself a few bottle tricks, cap tricks, card tricks or bring them all – along with cocktails, a throwback to bar tricks will keep your circle guessing.

bar tricks

and just in case …

Last, and by no means least, you never know when you’ll over do it and wish you really had died and gone to heaven. And when you do, please remember that everything you need to know to prevent, endure and recover from the ever-present possibility of the dreaded aftershock of too much, is just a click away – thanks to the crazed cook. And maybe a good place to start is with a blood alcohol calculator!

read it – get yourself some serious know-how

watch it – class is in session – videos await

wines

Talk about a vast topic – so in an attempt to inform, enlighten, inspire and imbibe – check out the links below, which will lead you to all sorts of wonderful winey places – informative and otherwise – from wine tasting 101 to the true miracle of wine to what do you mean it tastes like rocks?! We’d all like to know what the pretension’s about and lose a little of the confusion surrounding wine.

read it – get yourself some serious know-how

watch it – class is in session – videos await