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Cocktails can be the perfect ice breaker or finish to a long day. A classic martini, a refreshing gin and tonic or maybe the sophisticated Old Fashioned but what happens when you are having a party and are planning out cocktails for your guests? For me, I often shake or stir cocktails to order, especially if it's a small gathering. For those times that the party includes 10-20 guests (or more), being behind the bar means you don't really get a chance to enjoy the party and mingle with your guests.  To make your next gathering a little less stressful and a lot more enjoyable, I've put together a couple of cocktail recipes that will make your guests happy and let you enjoy the festivities as well (win-win!). 

The measurements I provided are for 10 cocktails. These can easily be doubled or tripled for even larger gatherings. Following each batch cocktail, I've provided the measurements for one cocktail, so even if you're not having a party you can still enjoy these great cocktails! 

Party tips: In addition to a few batched cocktails, i always have beer and a nice chilled wine for the hot weather months. A beverage dispenser with ice water and lemons will help keep your guests hydrated between cocktails. And for the non-drinkers, omit alcohol and add seltzer water to the recipes below. 

 

Check out our Batched Cocktails for a Crowd segment on New Day Cleveland!Peach Tea Bourbon Smash

Serves 10

1 -3/4 cups bourbon ( I used OYO Whiskey ) 

1 cups Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Sweet Tea Syrup

2/3 cups Lemon Juice

4-6 Peaches sliced into thin wedges 

*Basil (optional)

Roughly 1/4 oz of Crude "Pooter" Smoke & Salt bitters (add more or less to taste) 

Directions: In large pitcher, drink dispenser or punch bowl, add sweet tea syrup, lemon juice, bourbon, Crude Smoke & Salt bitters and peaches. if you're adding the basil, give it a whack against your hand before you qadd it to the pitcher and LIGHTLY muddle it (just enough to release the oils). Stir well and serve! 

I recommend slicing the peaches and placing them in the bourbon at least a few hours prior to serving... this adds more peach flavor and makes those pretty little peaches a boozy treat. The bitters are pretty amazing in this drink they remind me of drinking a cocktail near a beach bonfire, adding a hint of smokiness and a wisp of sea salt. 

To serve: Place an ice bucket and cups next to the premixed cocktail. You can add ice to the pitcher before serving but be aware that as the ice melts the cocktail will become watered down. A ladle or large spoon also comes in handy for your guests to fish out the boozy peaches. 

 

(for one cocktail:  1-1/2 oz bourbon, 3/4 oz Jack Rudy Sweet Tea Syrup, 1/2 oz lemon juice) 

 Passion fruit Cocktail - 3 ways:Hurricane

Serves 10

1 cups Liber & Co Passion Fruit Syrup

2 -1/2 cups rum (preferably dark rum) 

1  cups lemon juice

Directions: In a large pitcher or drink dispenser, add passion fruit syrup, lemon juice and rum. Add a cup of ice to help agitate the mix. Stir really well. 

To Serve: Place an ice bucket and cups nearby and guests can help themselves. You can add ice to the pitcher before serving but be aware that as the ice melts the cocktail will become watered down.

Ultimately rum is the traditional spirit for this sweet, tart tropical cocktail but if you and your guests prefer a different spirit the following variations make a tasty summer cocktail as well. 

(for one cocktail: 3/4 oz Liber & Co Passion fruit syrup, 2 oz dark rum, 3/4 oz lemon juice, serve with crushed ice)

 

Passion fruit Cocktail #2 Passion fruit Vodka Sour

Being that Vodka ranks as #2 for liquor sales in the world, I'd be remiss if I didn't include a vodka variation. Same recipe just swap the rum for vodka. 

 

Passion Fruit Cocktail #3 Passion Fruit Margarita

And because margaritas are perfect for hot summer months, here's another variation ...swap out the rum for a nice silver or reposado tequila and use lime juice instead of lemon. 

 

How much alcohol do I buy?

Good question! Here are a few simple conversions to help you out...

Most liquor bottles are 750 ml which is the equivalent to approximately 25 fluid oz

There are approximately 12 cocktails in one 750 ml bottle if the average pour is 2 oz

750 ml = 25 oz

8 oz = 1 cup

An important part of any get together is to ENJOY! Laugh with your friends and family and don't sweat the small stuff!

Even more important... no drinking and driving! Plan a sleepover or download one of those handy transportation apps before you imbibe. 

Hope these recipes help make your next party fun & stress free! 

 

Cheers! 

Marie 

Happy Hour Collection 

 

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What better way to enjoy the Season Premiere of Game of Thrones than having a Game of Thrones inspired cocktail party? I know that I'll be sitting on the edge of my seat with cocktail in hand watching to see who Arya Stark's next victim will be, who will be the next to sit on the Iron Throne and what does it mean for all of Westeros that Winter is here? 

L: White Walker, R: The Night's Watch                 Stunning photography by Nathan Hubble of Follow That Fork

For this post, I once again partnered up with Nathan Hubble of Follow That Fork.

Nathan took his inspiration from the men on The Wall, The Night's Watch and from the original title of the book by George R.R Martin, "Song of Ice and Fire." 

I took my inspiration from the White walkers and their icy blue eyes. I had a fun time creating this cocktail (a little too much fun with all the taste testing :) and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! 

Each cocktail is pretty easy to make (minus the fiery flare and cinnamon sparks) and each tastes delicious! 

As we all wait to see how "The Song of Ice and Fire" plays out, here are our Game of Thrones inspired cocktails...

White Walker

2 oz gin (I used Ford's) non- gin drinkers can substitute w/ vodka 

**1 oz lychee syrup

1 oz coconut milk

3/4 oz lime juice

3/4 oz Liber & Co Gum Syrup

*Make ahead: Blue Ice cubes made with B'lure

To make the White Walker,  start by placing the cocktail glass in freezer for a nice frosty cold glass. In a cocktail shaker filled with plain ice add the ingredients and shake well. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass, garnish with B'lure Blue ice cubes

**Make Ahead:  The night before make the blue ice cubes. I used Tovolo's perfect ice cube tray. Each tray makes 15 - 1  1/4 inch cubes.  In a glass measuring cup I added a cup of warm water and approximately 1 tablespoon B'lure Natural flower extract. Freeze overnight. The B'lure is a bright blue all natural flower extract, when citrus is added it changes from blue to purple and then to pink. As your cubes melt, the cocktail will change colors. Variation: If you like a little more tropical tartness, use Liber & Co's Passion Fruit Syrup. I originally made this cocktail using the passion fruit syrup but to make it turn out a littler whiter I switched to the gum syrup. 

**Lychee Syrup: Here's my disclaimer... I used a shortcut! I went for quick results and just used the syrup from the can of lychee fruit. For me it worked great and wasn't as sweet as a homemade lychee simple syrup.  
FYI: Lychee fruits are tropical fruits that when peeled resemble a water chestnut but have the texture of a peeled grape. The taste is a cross between a delicate rose and a pear. They've also been described as tasting like a flower and a melon or grape. 

Gum Syrup? Gum syrup is a classic cocktail ingredient from the days of pre-prohibition. What it is: it's a rich simple syrup (2:1) with gum arabic added. Why use it? Gum arabic is an emulsifier and unlike regular simple syrup it creates a silky smooth cocktail. Here's an easier analogy, Simple syrup is like a heavily chaperoned, high school slow dance, whereas gum syrup is the Tango. SImple syrup interacts with the cocktail and is pleasant but holds flavors at arms length. Gum syrup is cheek to cheek flavors creating a silky smooth dance on your tastebuds.  

 

 

The Night's Watch

2 oz espresso

2 oz black vodka (Blavod -can be ordered at select retailers online) 

1 oz kahlua 

6 drops of Crude Coffee & Cocoa Bitters

This cocktail comes with a warning... Playing with fire and booze is dangerous. Proceed at your own risk!  Of course, this is a pretty tasty cocktail that doesn't actually require you to play with fire but it does look pretty cool in the photo!  

In an ice filled cocktail shaker, add espresso, vodka, kahlua and the coffee & cocoa bitters. Shake and strain into cocktail glass.

If you can't find Blavod (which is the only black colored vodka on the market) You can add black food coloring or leave it out altogether. A few Luxardo cherries on a cocktail pick are a perfect garnish. Their sweetness and red black color are a nice compliment to the cocktail. 

Nathan achieved the fire and sparks by reserving 1 oz of vodka from the cocktail. After it was poured into the cocktail glass he layered the remaining ounce on top of the cocktail and carefully lit it. The sparks were created by throwing a bit of cinnamon towards the flame and the rest is camera magic!

 As a mom, a safety advocate and the wife of a firefighter... I strongly suggest enjoying the photo, skip the fire and add the full 2 oz vodka to your cocktail shaker... after all why burn off a whole ounce of vodka when you could be enjoying it in your cocktail? :) 

 

A huge THANK YOU to Nathan Hubble for his endless creativity and wonderful talent! If you don't already know this... Nathan is a food stylist, photographer and recipe developer. His blog is Followthatfork.com and he can be found on instagram @nhubble

 

Thank you also to the young lady who came into Happy Hour Collection a week or so ago looking for Game of Throne Cocktail ideas... I hope your party was a wonderful success! This post was inspired by you! Cheers! 

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It's Negroni week and a good a time as any to share a little history and a couple of recipes. 

Here's how the story goes... it's 1919 in Florence, Italy and a Count walks into a bar (Bar Casoni to be exact) and asks the bartender to stiffen up his favorite drink, the Americano. Veteran bartender Fosco Scarselli, aware of the Count's reputation for kicking back quite a few cocktails, comes up with a brilliant plan to stiffen up the drink and make his customer happy. Fosco decides to swap the soda water for gin and add an orange peel for garnish. He presents this cocktail made on the fly to the eagerly awaiting Count Camillo Negroni, and voila! The Negroni was born! Now that you know how the Negroni came to be, here's some other interesting, possibly true info about the adventurous Count... when he wasn't inspiring the invention of new cocktails, rumor has it that Count Negroni was running around the Wild, Wild West gambling and trying his hand at being a cowboy. Another story has him teaching fencing at a school in New York. Whatever the Counts adventures truly were, I'm awfully glad he decided to throw back a cocktail or two at Bar Casoni all those years ago and kudos to Fosco Scarselli for his masterful bartender skills. After all, it may have been the Count that inspired the cocktail but it was Fosco that created it.

Lesson: tip your bartenders well and they'll take good care of you.  You might even get a cocktail named after you! 

 

If you've never tried a Negroni, or if you're a Negroni fan,  Negroni week is the perfect time to visit participating bars or restaurants and drink like a Count.  During Negroni Week, participating bars and restaurants donate a portion of each Negroni sale to a charity of their choice. 

Negroni Week was started in 2013 by Imbibe magazine and Campari as a way to celebrate the Negroni and raise money for charities.  Each year more and more bars and restaurants around the world sign up to participate and last year (2016) $400,000 was raised for charitable causes.  

Negroni Week 2017 runs from June 5-11thScroll down for participating bars & Restaurants

 

For those of you who have yet to try a Negroni, here's a few things to know before jumping in...

The Negroni is a flavor filled drink.  The gin brings it's juniper notes and sweet vermouth has it's herbal, sweet and light bitter notes and then there's Campari. Campari is an orange Italian liqueur with a distinct bitter-sweet orange flavor. For some it's a way of life, a beautiful apertif, for others it takes a little getting used to, especially if you're not used to it's bitter sweetness. Below are a few classic cocktails using Campari, don't be afraid to switch it up. Adding a splash or orange or grapefruit juice is a nice compliment, or bitters to accent the orange flavors. Cheers!  

Here are a few Negroni and Negroni-ish recipes if you feel like mixing up one or two at home.

 

Classic Negroni

1 oz gin

1 oz sweet vermouth (recommended: Carpano Antica Formula)

1 oz Campari 

Orange peel

Ice 

Add first three ingredients to a mixing glass filled with ice, stir until  chilled. Serve over ice in a rocks glass or if you prefer serve straight up in a coupe glass. Express orange peel over cocktail and rub the peel around rim. Garnish and enjoy the noble Negroni. 

*try this: add a few dashes of orange or grapefruit bitters

Americano

1 1/2 oz Campari

1 1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth 

ice

club soda

lemon or orange twist

In an ice filled glass, stir together Campari and sweet vermouth.  Express lemon peel over the cocktail and rub the peel around rim. Garnish and enjoy!

 Negroni Sbagliato

Ingredients: Equals parts Campari, Sweet Vermouth and sparkling wine. Orange swathe for garnish. 

Add Campari and sweet vermouth to an ice filled shaker. Shake vigorously. Strain into an ice filled cocktail glass.  Top with sparkling wine. 

Give the orange swathe a gentle squeeze to express the orange oils over the drink, swipe it around the glass and drop it in for garnish. Cheers! 

 Boulevardier 

one of my favorites! Almost a Negroni but with bourbon instead of gin

1 1/2 oz Bourbon

1 oz sweet vermouth

1 oz Campari

orange peel for garnish 

Add ingredients to an ice filled mixing glass and stir until chilled. Strain into a coupe glass, rocks glass if you prefer and add

orange peel garnish. Enjoy! 

*Prefer gin over bourbon or maybe you like bourbon but aren't quite sure about gin? Try this! Instead of bourbon or gin use Watershed Distillery's Bourbon Barrel Aged Gin. Definitely more of a gin but with a warm mellow oakiness that gives you the best of both worlds.

 

Cleveland Bars & Restaurants participating in Negroni Week:Be sure to check out these fine establishments and try out their creative takes on the classic Negroni cocktail!

Not from Cleveland? no worries, to find out more about Negroni Week or to find participating Bar & Restaurants in your area visit Negroniweek.com

 

 

 

**The gorgeous photography is by Suzuran Photography

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Kentucky Derby 

What do you think off when you hear someone mention the Kentucky Derby? I'm going to guess that elaborate hats, red roses and mint juleps are a couple of the first things that come to mind, quickly followed by horses. You might also think of throwing your own Kentucky Derby party.  Below we'll share recipes perfect for making your Derby party a hit but first, history...

The Kentucky Derby is steeped in tradition. Here are a few fun facts:


The Kentucky Derby has run continuously since 1875, even through the Great Depression. 

The land was acquired by Colonel Merriwether Lewis Clark, grandson of William Clark, of Lewis & Clark fame. 

1932: The first thoroughbred winner was draped in garland of roses

The Kentucky Derby was always a fashion forward event. Men and women were expected to dress up in their finest. However it wasn't until the 1960's that the wearing of elaborate hats took off. 

1938: The Mint Julep became the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. The reason for the silver cup? Rumor has it that jockey's were awarded sterling silver julep cups as a reward for first prize (and they look a bit like a trophy cup). 
 

Flowers by Love, Anji, Pope's Mint Simple Syrup, Julep cup and barware by Happy Hour Collection, Cake by Followthatfork.com, Photos by Nathan Hubble

Now that you know a little bit about the history of the Kentucky Derby, it's party time! Here we'll get the party started by sharing two great recipes. First, I'll share the recipe for the Mint Julep and here you can find an absolutely delicious Chocolate Bourbon cake recipe by Nathan Hubble, www.followthatfork.com. 
 

Mint Julep

1 oz Pope's Mint Syrup 

2 oz Bourbon 

Crushed ice

Mint for garnish 

Julep cup

First things first... crushed ice. There are a few ways to approach this ingredient... first the crushed ice setting on your fridge, a blender or my favorite a Lewis bag and ice mallet. Why the Lewis bag & Mallet? The canvas Lewis bag actually wicks away extra moisture from the ice making a drier ice and therefore not watering down your drink from the get go. It also seems to produce a finer crushed ice than many of the blenders out there (no large chunks of ice mixed in with the fine ones). Not to mention it's oddly satisfying to smack ice with a hefty wooden mallet. 

Now it's time to make your mint julep! Add 1 oz Pope's mint syrup, 2 oz bourbon into your julep cup,  at this point I'd give it a quick stir to incorporate the syrup and the bourbon. Add crush ice to the rim and stir again frosting the outside of the julep cup. Top with more ice creating a little dome. Give your mint a slap or two against your palm to release the oils (this adds to the drink by bringing the lovely aroma of mint right to your nose). Add the mint to your julep cup, don your fancy hat or smart bow tie (or cravat if you prefer) and cheer on your favorite horse!

*We did say Derby party, right? Here are few quick tips to make life simpler, after all who wants to spend the whole time crushing ice and mixing mint juleps? The night before or morning of, crush lots of ice and store in in a ziploc bag in the freezer. The day of: wash and cut your mint sprigs for garnish,  place them stems down in a cup of water to keep them fresh. In a large pitcher, pre-measure and mix the bourbon with the mint syrup, store in fridge until ready to use. When it's party time fill your julep cups with ice, pour bourbon & mint mixture over top, garnish with mint, serve and cheer on your favorite horse! 
**not a bourbon lover? sub your favorite vodka, no one ever needs to know ;)
 

 

 

 

 

Sources: "Kentucky Derby History," www.kentuckyderby.com/history/kentucky-derby-history. Churchill Downs Inc. Web 06 May 2017

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It's time again for a monthly collaborative post.  If you've been following any of our recent blog posts, you have heard me mention Nathan Hubble of followthatfork.com, a talented food stylist. photographer and food blogger. This month the idea was to create a monster-piece (pardon the terrible pun) for Valentine's Day. Admittedly I missed posting before Valentine's Day, but creating and  sharing a boozy monster milkshake with your love works any day of the year.

Before this post, I had no idea that Monster milkshakes were a thing. I mean I knew about the loaded Bloody Mary's that have been all over my instagram feed, like the 'Graffiti Dirty Bird' created by Graffiti Social Kitchen, but I had no idea that the trend to add as many garnishes as you possibly can to your drink had spread to milkshakes. Nathan, very excited about this project, suggested that we each come up with our own version of a boozy monster milkshake. The rules: we both had to use Molly's 'Summer Crop' mixer, a locally made cocktail mixer full of fresh strawberries, rhubarb and a hint of basil), booze of our choice and as much stuff as we could possibly fit into our drinking vessel.

Nathan and I each approached this assignment with different inspirations and we each took a photo of our shake. You HAVE to check out Nathan's version of the Monster Shake which he named, 'Brandy & Brown Butter Strawberry Shake'. Not only is his recipe delicious and fancy, his Monster shake photo is gorgeous!  *Words highlighted in gold are links to a different page or website* 

Taking my inspiration from Strawberry Shortcake which reminds me of summer and the cute little red-headed doll from the 80's, I chose to use local ingredients such as Mitchell's Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream, Molly's Summer Crop Cocktail mixer which is full of fresh strawberries, rhubarb and hints of basil To make the shake boozy, I used Flor De Cana Silver Rum. My garnish choices were crumbled shortbread cookies, crushed pretzels (love the salty & sweet together). chocolate dipped pretzels, chocolate dipped strawberries and whipped cream. I topped it all with a homemade strawberry rhubarb sauce using Molly's Summer crop and fresh chopped strawberries. The addition of Molly's Summer Crop adds a lovely tartness that compliments the rum and sweetness of the ice cream. 

Strawberry Shortcake Boozy Shake

1 pint (or 2 cups) Strawberry Ice cream

1 ½ oz Molly’s Crafted 'Summer Crop' Cocktail Mixer

2 oz Silver rum

Garnishes* (a slice of cheesecake, cookies, m&m’s… let your imagination run wild)

Strawberry rhubarb sauce **Recipe below

Start by gathering all of your supplies, get all of your garnishes ready for easily assembly.

Dip your strawberries and pretzels and refrigerate.

In a blender, add rum and summer crop mixer, then add your ice cream blend together and Voila! Boozy shake! But wait you’re not done yet! Pour shake into a cute mason jar and add your assortment of garnishes. Top it all off with some whipped cream and the strawberry rhubarb sauce. 

If you find that your shake is too thin, add a bit more ice cream, too thick? add a bit more booze ;)

*Garnishes I used: crumbled shortbread cookies, crushed salty pretzels, chocolate dipped pretzels, chocolate dipped strawberries, whipped cream and homemade strawberry rhubarb sauce. 

**Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce: 1/4 cup Molly’s Summer Crop + ¼ cup finely chopped strawberries: heat up over medium low heat, stirring occasionally. It’s ready once it starts to thicken up a bit. Refrigerate until cool.

Don't let that leftover Molly's Summer Crop go to waste! Mix up one of her signature drinks:Mason Jar Margarita

 5 oz Molly's Summer Crop

2 1/2 oz lime juice

1 1/2 oz agave syrup (or simple syrup) 

water

Add ice and ingredients to mason jar, top with a little water close lid and shake!

Serve over ice. 

 

We'd love to see your Monster Boozy Shake creation! Tag us on social mediaHappy Hour Collection @happyhourcle Nathan from Follow that Fork @nhubble 

 

 

 

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The New Year is a few days away and no doubt the sound of champagne corks will soon be popping all around us.  After all, what better way to ring in the New Year than with New Year's Rocking Eve playing in the background, friends gathered together laughing,  noisemakers in hand and the thrilling *POP!* of Champagne corks, while counting down the last few seconds of 2016? 

It's funny how Champagne on it's own feels indulgent, like something we should only be opening for celebrations such as engagements, weddings, promotions, graduations, New Year's and the like.

But what about toasting the weekend?  Time with friends and family, or just because boozy brunch sounds delightful?  The good news is that nowadays, there are many affordable Proseccos, Cavas and Sparkling wines that can be enjoyed year round in many different ways and for many different reasons.

"Too Much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right."  - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Now that drinking more champagne is on your New Year's resolution list here are a few ways to enjoy a bottle of bubbly (or two), while saying goodbye to 2016 and hello to all the wonderful possibilities of 2017 (like drinking more champagne ;)

Pear Rosemary 75

Photo by Nathan Hubble www.followthatfork.com

If you're looking for an elegant cocktail to add to your holiday table and impress your guests. The French 75 is perfect! Today we'll share a twist on the French 75 that adds a holiday flair with a hint of crisp pear and fragrant rosemary. 

Pear Rosemary French 75

*makes 2*

2 oz gin

1.5 oz Root 23 Pear Rosemary Simple Syrup

1 oz fresh lemon juice

6 oz Champagne or sparkling wine

Pear for garnish 

Add first three ingredients in an ice filled cocktail shaker. Shake until chilled. Strain into champagne flute or coupe. Top of with champagne, garnish with pear star, raise your glass and enjoy! 

Variation: Not a gin fan? No problem, swap gin for vodka and voila! You've got yourself a tasty and fancy Champagne mixed drink tailored for you or your guests taste. 

For a beautiful compliment to your Fancy schmancy Pear Rosemary Champagne cocktail, check out these stunning and delicious Mulled Wine Poached Pears made by Food Stylist and blogger,  Nathan Hubble of Followthatfork.com. Using red wine, pears and Dram Apothecary Magic Mulled spices (available at Happy Hour Collection for a limited time).

'Royale Sparkler' Champagne Cocktail as seen on New Day Cleveland

For quick, easy and elegant entertaining this Holiday season consider mixing up a

'Royale Sparkler'- A spin on the Kir Royale made with Cassis Berry Shrub - 

4 1/2 oz Prosecco (or sparkling wine)

1/2 oz Hudson Standard Cassis Berry Shrub

2-3 dashes Dram Apothecary Wild Mountain Sage Bitters

Fresh Rosemary Sprig for garnish

In a Chilled Champagne flute, add Prosecco first, then add Cassis Berry Shrub. 

Add your bitters, and rosemary sprig. Give a light stir with the rosemary and impress your guests with this lovely Crafted Champagne Cocktail! Here's a toast to a wonderful holiday season and and even better New Year! Cheers! 

**If you don't have Prosecco on hand, you can easily follow the recipe above and substitute the Prosecco for 1 1/2 oz vodka and 2 oz sparkling water. 

Here's the alternate recipe,  Fill Shaker with ice, add Cassis Berry Shrub and vodka. Shake until chilled (approx 15-20 seconds), strain into a rocks glass filled with ice (we prefer an ice ball for slower dilution), add seltzer/sparkling water and bitters. Serve & enjoy!

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The holidays are rapidly approaching and that means gathering together with family and friends to celebrate the season and exchange gifts. Below you'll find an easy to make and easy to drink cocktail using some of our favorite holiday flavors. The Pickett's Medium Ginger Beer syrup adds a ginger kick balanced with citrus and sweet notes. The syrup stores in your fridge until you next use it and when mixed it makes up to 96 fl oz.  Bittermens Elemakule Tiki bitters are full of the warm flavors of cinnamon and allspice. These pair with the spice of the ginger beer syrup mingle with the cranberry and orange for a refreshing and balanced cocktail. 

photography by Nathan Hubble ( followthatfork.com )

Cranberry Orange Mule2 oz Vodka -we used locally made Red E Vodka1 oz Picketts Ginger Beer Syrup (available in medium or hot n spicy)1 1/2 oz Fresh Orange Juice1 oz 100% Cranberry juice2 droppers full (approx 15-20 drops) of Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bittersseltzer water iceorange wheel for garnishIn Ice filled cocktail shaker, add vodka, Pickett's ginger beer syrup, OJ, cranberry juice and Tiki bitters. Shake. Pour into Solid copper mug, top with seltzer water (approx 3 oz), garnish with orange wheel. Enjoy!For 4 guests: 8 oz vodka, 4 oz ginger beer syrup, 6 oz OJ, 4 oz cranberry juice, 8 droppers full of Tiki bittersvariations:-swap out the vodka for bourbon (my favorite way to drink a mule!) -not a cranberry fan? eliminate the OJ and cranberry and substitute apple cider.

 

Why add bitters? Bitters are potent flavor enhancers, Adding bitters is a lot like adding herbs and spices when you're cooking. A recipe may be good on it's own but becomes great with the addition of flavors that compliment the ingredients. A few dashes of drops add wonderful flavors and balance the cocktail. The sweetness from the oj, cranberry juice and ginger beer syrup is brought down a bit by the addition of bitters making it an even easier cocktail to sip on and enjoy. Bittermens Elemakule Tiki bitters are a great addition to this particular cocktail because of how nicely the cinnamon and allspice compliment the ginger and orange. 

 

As always, feel free to stop in the shop and ask to sample bitters. We're always happy to help you discover new ways to use cocktail ingredients and suggest new cocktails to try making at home. 

 

 

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It's that time of year again, the leaves are showing off their brilliant colors against a cool fall sky and crisp chill is in the air.  That means the season for cozy sweaters, apple picking and little goblins knocking on doors begging for treats is here! To warm you up this fall, Nathan Hubble from Followthatfork.com and Marie (Me)  from Happy Hour Collection have partnered up to bring you some warm, caramel apple treats!

Our goal was to capture the essence of fall in a cocktail, buttery caramel and apple flavors partner with the smoky smell of oak leaves in this version of a hot buttered rum. A warm and cozy autumn sipper great for warming you and your friends as you pass out candy to the neighborhood kiddos (cause we all know that's not coffee in that travelling mug). Pair it with fresh warm Caramel Apple Cider Bread and you've got the perfect start to a Halloween or fall get together!

Fall is in the air cocktail -photo by Nathan Hubble, Followthatfork.com

Fall is in the Air  - Caramel Apple Buttered Cocktail-   (makes 4)   1/2 stick butter   1 tsp cinnamon       1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (opt)   2 cups water   1 cup Tom's Foolery Apple Jack (or dark /aged rum if you prefer)   1/4 cup caramel sauce *recipe to follow*   4 dashes Bar Keep Apple bitters per drink  Oak leaf garnish (optional)

     Add water, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg to a small pot and cook on medium low heat, whisking occasionally.  When mixture reaches a simmer, add the caramel and cook just a minute longer.

In four cocktail glasses or Irish mugs, add 1/4 cup Tom's Foolery Apple Jack and four dashes of Bar Keep Baked Apple bitters, top each glass with a portion of your hot buttered caramel mix. Pair with Caramel Apple Cider bread and Enjoy with friends!

*For the oak leaf garnish, make a tiny cut in the leaf and add to rim of glass. Light the oak leaf and blow out just before serving. Besides looking cool,  this adds just a whisper of fall leaves aroma as you take your first couple of sips. To add a little more smoke to your cocktail, rinse your glass with a smoky scotch or mezcal before adding any of the other ingredients.  

Variation: Nathan prefers to add the booze to the heated mixture on the stove top and cook just a little bit of the alcohol off, giving it a deeper caramel flavor. 

 Caramel Sauce

Click Here for the Caramel Apple Cider Bread recipe!

Photos and recipe by Nathan Hubble,  followthatfork.com

contributed by Nathan, Followthatfork.com

   1 cup sugar   1/4 cup water   1 TBs light corn syrup   2 TBS butter   1/2 cup heavy cream   1/4 tsp salt (optional)

 

   Combine sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Swirl the pan, but DO NOT stir.  The corn syrup will help keep the caramel smooth, but isn't necessary for those who would rather avoid it. While the mixture boils, carefully brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming. As soon as the sugar is dark amber color (about 10-12 minutes), REMOVE from heat and whisk in the heavy cream. This will make the mixture bubble and seize up, at first you might think you ruined your caramel  but never fear keep on whisking and it'll turn into a beautiful creamy caramel sauce. Whisk in the butter, add salt if desired. Pour into bottle or mason jar to store. Use to make Caramel Apple Cider Bread, cocktails, over ice cream or make an extra batch and give to a friend for the holidays. 

*Helpful hints:

-Resist the urge to stir the sugar and water. Stirring causes the caramel to crystallize, a gentle swirl of the pan is sufficient.  

-Keep a close eye on the sugar and water mixture as it starts to caramelize. It can go from a beautiful deep amber to burnt real quick. 

 

Follow us on instagram for more cocktail and food inspiration! Happy Hour Collection @happyhourcleand Follow That Fork @nhubble

 

 

 

 

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Let's celebrate with Bacon, Bourbon and Popcorn!

In honor of National Bacon Day, Nathan Hubble from Follow That Fork and Happy Hour Collection have partnered up to share a couple of sweet & savory bacon and smoked maple recipes with you. 

 First, let me tell you a little bit about Nathan from Follow That Fork...

Nathan popped into Happy Hour Collection several months ago and purchased Hella Bitters Smoked Chili Bitters to use in a recipe he was developing. Instead of using bitters in a cocktail recipe, Nathan created a mouthwatering recipe for Smoked Chili Chocolate Ice cream. It sounds amazing doesn't it? If you think it sounds good, you need to check out the photo he took... it'll make you want to run out and buy smoked chili bitters. Check out his recipe and photos by clicking www.FollowThatFork.com While you're there, be sure to check out his other recipes and sign up to be on his email list. 

Since then, Nathan has created more recipes and stunning photos with some of the products from Happy Hour Collection. One of my favorite parts about this collaboration is that Nathan looks at the products and finds ways to incorporate them into main courses, snacks, desserts and occasionally cocktails. I focus mainly on the cocktails and techniques. We will both be sharing more photos and recipes with you in the future and I can't wait! 

Now back to BACON... 

Who doesn't love bacon?! If it's you, look the other way. Nathan and I both used bacon and Barrel Smoked Maple Syrup in our recipes. First up, Nathan's created a great recipe using bacon, Tippleman's Bourbon Barrel Smoked Maple Syrup and popcorn.
I share the recipe here but check out Follow That Fork for variations and other recipes.  

 

Smoked Maple Bacon Popcorn

by Nathan from www.followthatfork.com

Smoked Maple Bacon Popcorn  -photo by Nathan Hubble

Smoked Maple Bacon Popcorn

by Nathan from www.followthatfork.com

About 15 cups popped popcorn

1 cup Tippleman's Barrel Smoked Maple Syrup

1/2 cup butter

1 tsp sea salt (smoked salt if you happen to have it handy) 

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 cup Crumbled Crispy bacon  *reserve the bacon fat for the next recipe*

1/4 cup cocktail peanuts (optional)

Candy thermometer

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. In a large glass bowl*, stir together popcorn, bacon and peanuts.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the smoked maple syrup and salt. Using a candy thermometer bring the temp up to 240 degrees, then add baking soda. The mixture will bubble up. Carefully pour the hot candy mixture over the popcorn and stir to evenly coat. Spread into a flat layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (if you don't have parchment paper- butter the bottom of the pan before spreading the popcorn mixture) and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Take out the oven and let cool.  Store in an Airtight container.

 

*remember the hot candied liquid is molten! Be sure to use a glass bowl or large metal pot when mixing together the popcorn mixture with the hot candy mixture.

 

Bacon, Smoked Maple Syrup & Bourbon

Remember that bacon you cooked up? of course you do you most likely snagged a piece or two while waiting for the candy mixture to cook ;)

This next recipe is actually two recipes and includes a technique known as fat washing.  

I admit that Fat washing doesn't sound appealing, at all. "What are you doing today?"  "Oh, I'm fat washing my bourbon."  "????"

So here goes, fat washing is a technique used to impart the flavor of different fats or oils into your spirit of choice. Still not convinced? How about peanut butter fat washed vodka with chocolate liqueur for a Chocolate peanut butter martini, or maybe peanut butter bourbon in a blackberry smash (peanut butter & Jelly). Rum infused with butter or coconut oil or for the more adventurous how about pork fat in mezcal.  There are many innovative recipes out there using the fat washing technique.  Have fun creating!

For now here is an easy and tasty cocktail using bourbon, bacon and barrel smoked maple syrup. 

Smoked Maple Bacon Old Fashioned

*This is a two part recipe* 

Bacon Washed Bourbon

750 ml Bourbon (I used Four Roses small batch)  

1  1/2 oz Reserved bacon grease (about 4 strips of cooked bacon) 

Large airtight glass container (Quart size -32 oz mason jar should be large enough)

Time - it takes approximately 24 hours to fat wash the bourbon 

Cook up your bacon for the Smoked Maple Bacon Popcorn and reserve the bacon grease. 

Let's get started. First pour your bourbon into the glass container, then pour bacon grease through a fine mesh strainer into the bourbon. Put your lid on and shake for about 20 seconds. Let sit on counter for about 4 hours. Place in freezer overnight. In the morning scoop out the bacon fat and run the bacon infused bourbon through a mesh strainer, cheesecloth or coffee filter. 

Voila it's as simple as that! The bourbon takes on a smokey mild bacon flavor. See Below for Smoked Maple Bacon Old Fashioned recipe.

*optional: Try fat washing Bacon into Portside Distillery's Maple Vanilla Rum or into vodka for Bacon Bloody Mary's 

Photo by Suzuran photography

Now that you've bacon washed your bourbon, you're ready to start experimenting with smokey bacon bourbon. 

Smoked Maple and Bacon Old fashioned

2 oz Bacon washed bourbon

1/4 oz Tippleman's Bourbon Barrel Smoked Maple syrup

4-6 dashes Full Measure Aromatic bitters

Garnish with smoked maple candied bacon strip or Luxardo cherry

Large Ice ball / cube

Add ice ball to rocks glass. In mixing glass filled with ice, add bacon bourbon, Tippleman's barrel smoked maple syrup, Full Measure aromatic bitters. Stir until well mixed, about 25 seconds. Strain and pour into your rocks glass, garnish and enjoy!

Hopefully you've enjoyed our collaborative blog post.

Make sure to subscribe to Nathan's blog, Follow That Fork, for more cocktail and non-cocktail recipes. You'll be seeing a lot more from both of us in the future.  

We'd love to hear from you! If you've tried some of our recipes and would like to share just tag us on instagram 

Happy Hour Collection @happyhourcle  and  Follow That Fork @nhubble

 

 

 

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Ever wonder what to bring to those summer BBQ's you keep getting invited too? 
 

We have quite a few easy and delicious cocktail mixers to bring either as a host /hostess gift or to mix up refreshing summer cocktails. Or maybe you have a shrub sitting in your fridge that you bought, made a few cocktails and now you don't know what to do with the rest. Never fear! 

New Day Cleveland kindly had us back in the studio to talk about easy summer cocktail mixers you could bring to your friend's house as a gift (or be the hit of the party and bring the cocktail)! We also mixed up a cocktail and a main dish using Element's Pineapple Turmeric shrub. Below you'll find the recipes and the link to the episode. 

Hawaiian Pineapple shrub Chicken KebabsMarinade ingredients:1/2 cup Element's Pineapple Turmeric Shrub1/4 cup soy sauce2 green onions chopped1 tsp sesame oil1 TBS canola oil2 cloves minced garlic1 TBS fresh ground ginger or 1/4 tsp ground ginger1/2-1 tsp crushed red pepper1 TBS honey (optional)black pepper to taste4 chicken breasts thawed & cubed1 red pepper, cubed1 green pepper, cubed1/2- 1 pineapple sliced into 1/2 thick cubes (save the pineapple peel and core to make an easy pineapple beer...recipe coming soon)wooden skewers soaked in water Whisk together marinade ingredients. Set aside about 1/4 cup.  Assemble skewers alternating peppers, chicken, pineapple and so on. Place in a shallow dish and cover with marinade. Cover and let marinate for 45min - 1 hour in the refrigerator. Grill until chicken is cooked thoroughly. Approximately 10-15 minutes total , turning kebabs every 2-3 minutes. Pour reserved marinade over the kebabs for extra flavor. *vegetarian option: use firm tofu or cubed portobello mushrooms instead of chicken

--->Be careful not to over marinate the chicken.  Shrubs are vinegar based and will over tenderize the chicken if left to marinate too long. One hour is plenty of time for the chicken and veggies to soak up the flavors.

 

Lake Erie Swizzle1 oz dark rum1 oz gold rum1/2 oz Cointreau (or triple sec)3/4 oz Element Pineapple Turmeric Shrub3/4 oz Orgeat Works Toasted Almond Orgeat 1/2 oz fresh lime juice2-4 dashes Full Measure Aromatic BittersCrushed iceTall Swizzle StickCollins Glass or tall thin tumblerMint for garnishMeasure Ingredients into Collins glass. Place swizzle stick in glass. Fill glass 2/3 full of crushed ice. Swizzle making sure to work the swizzle up and down the glass to thoroughly incorporate ingredients. When glass is frosted and ingredients are blended, remove the swizzle stick and top off with crushed ice. Add bitters, garnish with mint and enjoy! 

* for a little extra flair top with a little drizzle of Pope's All Natural Grenadine. Adds a lovely red color that filters down the glass. 

Please note if you're like me, almost every recipe is a guideline not a rule. Feel free to experiment and make it your own, after all the best recipes are the ones that you and your family love. <3

 

 

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