Happy Hour at Home: My Home Bar Essentials

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READING TIME: 4 min.

Being a mom doesn’t mean that happy hour has to be a thing of the past. In fact, one of my favorite things to do at home is experiment with different cocktail recipes. My husband and I both enjoy being in the kitchen, but he does most of the cooking. I wanted to contribute, too, so I designated myself as our mixologist.

With the right supplies on hand, it is easy to make your own craft cocktails at home. Below you will find my personal favorite home bar essentials in addition to some easy cocktail recipes. Now you can enjoy your own happy hour at home. Cheers!

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Soda Stream Machine

This was a total game-changer for me! Many of my favorite recipes call for soda water. However, there were times when I either did not have it on hand or what I did have, had gone flat. Having a soda stream machine ensured I always had fresh soda on hand. You can even buy tonic mixes to make your own tonic water at home.

Cocktail Shaker

I love a good cocktail shaker. Most recipes are fine with a simple stir of the ingredients. But if you want to make sure everything is well incorporated, a shaker is a must-have.

Double-Sided Jigger

The perfect measuring tool! Most recipes use ounces as the main form of measurement.  Find a jigger that has 1-oz. as one of the measurements and either 1/2-oz. or 2-oz. as the other.

Stock of Basic Spirits, Liqueurs, Bitters, & Mixers

A well-stocked bar will have a selection of your basic spirits. I am talking: vodka, tequila, rum, gin, whiskey, and bourbon. I like experiencing with different flavors, so once we had a good stock of the basics, then I started adding some flavored spirits such as: watermelon vodka, peach vodka, coconut rum, peanut butter whiskey, empress gin, etc.

Many cocktails will also call for a liqueur and/or bitters. My go-to’s are: Aperol, an orange liqueur (such as Triple Sec or Grand Marnier), blue curacao, amaretto, dry vermouth, angostura bitters, and orange bitters.

Mixers are what finish off your cocktail. I like to have tonic (regular and flavored), ginger beer, lemonade, grapefruit juice, and other seasonal juices such as watermelon, cranberry, or pineapple on hand.

EASY COCKTAIL RECIPES

Aperol Spritz

This is my all-time favorite cocktail! My husband and I first had these on our trip to Venice, Italy, in 2015. It was love at first sip and I knew I had to recreate them when we returned home. At the time, Aperol was not very popular here, so it was a little difficult to find.  Luckily, now, it has grown in popularity and finding it is a non-issue. I follow the recipe on the bottle, which is a simple 3-2-1.

Ingredients:

3 ounces Prosecco
2 ounces Aperol
1 ounce soda water
Garnish: orange slices and green olives (Yes, green olives. They are the secret ingredient!)

Directions:

  1. Fill a wine glass with ice.
  2. Add Prosecco, Aperol, and soda water, then stir to combine.
  3. Garnish with an orange slice and green olives.

Aperol Negroni

Usually made with Campari, but I prefer using Aperol. If you are looking for a strong, yet refreshing, drink to sip on throughout the evening, this one is for you!

Ingredients

1 ounce Gin
1 ounce Aperol
1 ounce Vermouth (sweet or dry)
Garnish: orange slice or peel

Directions:

  1. Fill a rocks glass with ice.
  2. Add the Gin, Aperol, and Vermouth. Stir.
  3. Garnish with orange slice or peel.

Lime in the Coconut
My copy-cat version of Del Frisco’s Grill Morning-After Cocktail

A refreshing cocktail with notes of lime and coconut that will transport you to paradise!

Ingredients

1.5 ounces Malibu rum
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
2 ounces coconut water
Garnish: lime wedge and mint sprig

Directions:

  1. Fill a rocks glass with ice.
  2. Add the Malibu, lime juice, simple syrup, and coconut water.
  3. Garnish with lime wedge and mint sprig

Grand Empress Gin Fizz
courtesy of Empress 1908 Gin

A beautiful spin on a classic Gin Fizz. Empress is known for its beautiful purple hue that makes any drink instantly gorgeous. Not only is it delicious, but I love experimenting with this gin because the color will sometimes change to a blue or pink hue, depending on what it’s mixed with.

Ingredients:
2 ounces Empress 1908 Gin
¾ ounce simple syrup
¼ ounce Gran Marnier
1 ounce fresh lime juice
Egg white
Soda water
Garnish: lemon twist

Directions:

  1. Pour all ingredients into a shaker and dry shake vigorously, without ice, for 20 to 30 seconds.
  2. Add ice and shake again for another 20 to 30 seconds.
  3. Strain into a Collins glass or champagne flute and top with soda water. Garnish with a lemon twist!

 

 

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