Monday, September 28, 2009

Recipe for a Happy Hour ... Heck, For a Couple of Happy Hours!

Tom and I suddenly found that we have slid into having our very own little happy hour every Saturday and Sunday evening before dinner.

This began when Hannah turned 21, became enamored with cocktails, and I bought her a Mr. Boston Official Bartender's Guide. I liked it so much that I bought one for us also.

We've never been cocktail drinkers before but how boring things would be if we always did the same thing all the time. About 5:00 or 5:30 in the afternoon, we settle down with a new cocktail to sample, listening to music and either reading, knitting (yes, that would be me), or just chatting. Without meaning to, it has become a routine that we have realized we both anticipate with pleasure. Just a little time to stop the day, slow down, and mark the progression into the evening.

We tend to play jazz or other music that could be classified, perhaps, as happy hour music. For those who are not sure what that would be, do go over to The Happy Hour Lounge where Andrew and Jeremy host a delightful podcast that gives wonderful samples of that musical category.

(I must confess that, although we confine ourselves to a single cocktail each, I am a real lightweight. I have begun planning evening meals that are largely done ahead or don't require much work afterward when I've got a little buzz going. Although I am sure the lighthearted singing along with the music forms a delightful background to the rest of the household. I repeat: I am sure of it!)

Enjoying experimenting with different ingredients and recipes, thus far we have found that we are the biggest fans of that category of drink known as "sours." Considering that our favorite cocktail before now has always been the margarita, this is no surprise.

Thus far our favorites have been the Chelsea Sidecar and the Daiquiri, which I realized that I'd never had as a plain drink without a lot of strawberries in it. Coming in third has been the Maiden's Blush. Great name isn't it? And it is a pretty shade of pink as one would expect.

The recipes for all three follow ... and may all your hours, be happy hours!

(For the uninitiated, as we were, a cocktail glass is what most people call a martini glass.)

1 oz. lime juice
1 tsp. superfine sugar or simple syrup*
1-1/2 oz. light rum

Shake with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

Chelsea Sidecar
1/2 oz. lemon juice
3/4 oz. Triple Sec (we have Cointreau on hand and use that)
3/4 oz. gin

Shake with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

Maiden's Blush Cocktail
1/4 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. Triple Sec
1 tsp. Grenadine
1-1/2 oz. gin

Shake with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

*Simple Syrup
Equal parts water and granulated sugar, heated over a flame, and then cooled and stored in refrigerator until needed. Keeps indefinitely refrigerated in a scrupulously clean container.

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