Everyone loves happy hour when they’re away on holidays, especially when visiting tropical regions like Queensland or even Bali or Hawaii where the weather is warm and the concoctions are amazing. But, have you thought about hosting a happy hour at home?
It’s not that difficult when you get your friends involved and everyone takes turns in making amazing drinks like margaritas and sangrias.
The history of cocktails
Before we get into tips on how to host your own happy hour at home, here’s a brief but fascinating history of how cocktails came about.
These enticing and tantalising drinks have been around since the 1800s and were originally inspired by the humble fruit punch. According to an article in The Balance and Columbian Repository of Hudson, New York in 1806, a cocktail was defined as “A stimulating liquor composed of any kind of sugar, water and bitters”.
An American bartender by the name of Jerry Thomas made these drinks more famous through his book, The Bartender’s Guide. This book contains numerous recipes for some of the classic drinks we still enjoy today.
However, when prohibition hit America in the 1920s, it sent the entire industry underground and many top bartenders left the country to continue their craft elsewhere.
This was also the era of bootleggers but because most of this home-brewed alcohol was unpalatable, bartenders had to find ways to make these hard liquors easier to drink. In fact, gin was commonly made from this crude alcohol by adding water, glycerin, and juniper oil.
Thankfully, cocktails have come a long way since then and today we get to enjoy some delicious flavour combinations made by mixing rum, gin, vodka, or tequila with a variety of different fruit juices and concentrated liqueur blends.
How to organise a fun cocktails happy hour at home
Organising your own happy hour is not that difficult. All you need are the basics such as a variety of alcohols, some liqueurs, plenty of ice, a blender, and lots of different fruit juices. We can tell you from experience that it’s best to choose three cocktails only. You want to plan your purchases to get the most bang for your buck. For example, gin can give you a Gin Gimlet, a Negroni or your standard gin and tonic or gin and bitters. Tequila gives you a Margarita and a Tequila Sunrise.
Don’t forget to have a variety of nibbles available to soak up all that alcohol.
Then, invite a few friends or neighbours around and have fun mixing up a variety of concoctions. You could even make this a weekly event with your favourite neighbours because nobody has to drive if they live close by.
You could also get really fancy and hire a bar person for the night, or make it a regular event where everyone takes turns in running the bar.
Another popular idea is to make up jugs of sangria filled to the brim with ice for your guests to enjoy when they arrive. Pair these with dishes of guacamole and corn chips and give your night a Spanish-Mexican theme.
Classic or modern concoctions: the choice is yours
Whether you stay with the classics or try some of the more modern concoctions ‒ like the ever-popular Espresso Martini ‒ depends on what you have on hand and how creative you want to be.
Some classic cocktails include Margarita, Negroni, Mojito, Daiquiri, Screwdriver, Blue Lagoon (so ‘60s), Bloody Mary and Gimlet.
For something a little more refreshing, why not consider the Aperol spritz that’s booming in popularity right now. (Whatever happened to Campari?) Aperol is an orange liqueur that contains some herbs and a touch of vanilla. It tends towards bitter, which makes it a great pre-dinner libation.
You only need four basic ingredients to make a classic Italian Aperol spritz. Add your Aperol to some sparkling wine, dilute with soda water and garnish with a slice of orange. Pour the mixture into a wine glass filled with ice and you have a very refreshing drink for a warm, balmy evening watching the sun set!
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