You might think that keeping up social distancing in a pandemic means that the modern ritual of happy hour has come to a bitter end. But you’re wrong! You don’t need to sit in a restaurant or bar to get your end-of-work drinks and snack fix. Even beyond the pandemic, it’s about time we learn to be our own happy hour. Invite some friends over to your backyard, set up a zoom call or go solo. Either way, these recipes will cement the idea that yes, it is always 5 o’clock somewhere.
You don’t have to be a mixologist to make these fun summer cocktails. Here are a few simple recipes that will make you forget how much you miss sitting in a crowded bar waiting for the bartender to notice you.
This is a sweet, strawberry upgrade to the backyard summer BBQ classic, a mint julep. Smashes are very similar to juleps, in that mint and ice are essential. But you can make them much more quickly, and add even more fruit. Making this cocktail takes very few ingredients and just about 10 minutes of your time. Muddle sugar and limes in a pitcher. Slice some fresh strawberries and muddle them just slightly with your sugar and lime mixture. Stir in gin and club soda and a boat load of ice and you’re done! Gin is the best liquor option for a light taste, but if you’re more of a rum or whiskey person, you can easily substitute whichever liquor you fancy.
If sweet cocktails aren’t your thing and you love tequila, try these spicy margs for taco Tuesday. This recipe takes a little more prep time, simply because you’ll need to slice one jalapeño into thin rounds and let it sit in your tequila for a few hours to get the full effect. If you’re working from home, take a quick lunch break to do this, and the rest is a breeze. Combine your regular tequila with a few tablespoons of the spicy tequila, some Grand Mariner, fresh lime juice, agave nectar and some cilantro for garnish, and you’re all set.
No one goes all-out on summer cocktails quite like the popular food blog Half Baked Harvest. Tieghan may ask for a little more effort and care going into these recipes, but the end result is always worth it. This is a good recipe to start with, as it’s her twist on one of the simplest cocktails ever, a bellini. You get to use all of the summer fruits you bought at the farmer’s market, blackberries, peaches, strawberries, and puree them. Mix them with orange juice and champagne and voila! You will feel like celebrating. You could almost call them champagne smoothies.
Okay, one more Half Baked Harvest cocktail, because her’s are just too good. This one will really make you feel like your own bartender, even though it’s just as easy as the bellinis. Combine fresh watermelon juice, tequila mixed with lime juice, Rosè wine (the sweeter the better depending on your preferences), and some sparkling water. And that’s it! Drink up and imagine you’re sitting on a patio in Barcelona.
Happy hour doesn’t have to be all about alcohol. Why exclude your kids or anyone who doesn’t drink from the festivities? There are plenty of fun mocktail recipes you can concoct that will make everyone feel included. Here are a few drinks that are just fun to drink. No hangovers required.
Mojitos have to rank in the top 5 most refreshing cocktails. There’s nothing better than sipping a mojito by the pool or lounging on your lawn. Even without the rum, this blackberry mojito recipe will add some summer fun to the end of your workday. You can make the mint syrup yourself with fresh mint leaves, sugar and water. Add some blackberries, lime juice and a can of seltzer and your mojito is complete.
The classics are classic for a reason. Make your kids feel extra fancy by making these shirley temples from scratch. They’re super easy and super good. All it takes is some lemon-lime soda, grenadine, lime juice, and maraschino cherries for serving.
This one’s great for any mom-to-bes missing the taste of all their favorite drinks. Believe it or not, it’s not that hard to mimic the flavors of champagne. All you need is some chilled ginger ale, a can of pineapple juice and some chilled white grape juice. Mix it all together and who knows? You might get a placebo buzz.
No happy hour is complete without some form of tapas to snack on with your festive cocktails. Here are some apps that would put your favorite over-priced tapas bar to shame.
When cooking in the summer, it’s all about using all the abundance of fresh ingredients you can get your hands on. Your local farmer’s market will likely have stalks of corn abound. So why not buy some and make it into a spicy fried treat? And yes, this is ANOTHER Half Baked Harvest recipe. What can we say? She’s the best. These corn fritters are delicious and you can make them in under 30 minutes. The best part of the recipe is the creamy chipotle honey aioli sauce you can make to dip them in. Read the full recipe in the link above. Pair with that spicy marg and your taste buds will thank you.
Alright, alright. ONE more indulgent and rich HBH recipe, and then we’ll move on to some healthier snacks. But what is better than some pan-baked brie to go with your rosè paloma? This recipe has it all. It’s savory and sweet. It doesn’t take very long at all. You can pair it with your favorite crackers and it’s made for sharing (within your COVID-19 bubble, of course). It’s a little fancier than your traditional cheese plate but with even less prep required.
Keep things light, healthy and delicious with this New York Times take on Vietnamese summer rolls. If you’re someone who often dabbles in cooking Asian cuisine, it’s likely you’ll already have a lot of these ingredients on hand. And it’ll take you 30 minutes or less to fill your rice wraps with noodles, lettuce, carrots, fish sauce and the meat of your choice. You can make up to 16 with this recipe. Pair it with the compatibally light strawberry gin smash and you may end up skipping dinner all together. Like a true happy hour in the city, you’ll end up in bed early, slightly buzzed and just hungry enough to want breakfast in the morning.
Skewers should always be a go-to happy hour snack. They’re easy, festive and you can tweak them to your own food tastes. This recipe in particular has a fun summer flare, especially if you ambitiously bought a whole cantaloupe at the store and forgot about it until Thursday. It’s time to crack it open and turn that sweat into savory. Slice your melons, and stick them with prosciutto, cheese, greens and of course a balsamic glaze drizzled on top. It only takes 20 minutes. Pair with a bellini and snack to your heart’s content.
Looking for a new home base to host happy hours? If you’re looking for your next placement, Stability Healthcare has all the resources you need. Feel free to browse travel nursing jobs or read our many guides on nursing must-knows!