Happy Hour: Fun and Fruity

Good afternoon my darlings and welcome to the Friday Happy Hour. And I am certainly ready for it. Today was so crazed I even missed my Friday Face mask. It’s a definite indicator that it is time for a weekend. Last weekend my baby and I over indulged and with little meal planning this week, well we didn’t exactly get back on the healthy train.

So tonight we went a little bit easy on the end of the week treats. While we both like the little Friday indulgences, it is more about sitting back and taking some time to breath after a long week. So today is a very lite happy hour. The first is the drink. I went non-alcoholic this week. My drink was simply a splash of Sour Cherry Syrup into a glass (8 oz glass) topped with a mini- Canada Dry Ginger ale. If you put the sour cherry syrup in the bottom and then pour the ginger ale over it you get this really neat ombre effect with the dark red at the bottom fading to pink and then finally to gold at the top.

The effect doesn’t last as the bubbles cause everything to mix. The mixing makes it taste good but you loose the pretty look. It still looks nice, especially if you put it in a pretty glass. I went with one of the stemless champagne flutes from the Rachel Zoe Collection.

If you wanted to make this an alcoholic drink you could easily just add something like vodka to it. Personally I really like the ginger mixing with the sour cherry so I would probably go with some sort of ginger flavored alcohol. I don’t know how many of you have every tried the Ginger liquor called The King’s Ginger, but a little of that and then a topping of carbonated water would be nice and refreshing as well. Although the King’s Ginger is great on it’s own. If you are a fan of ginger, I highly recommend checking them out. Today, I am happy with the cherry syrup and ginger ale.

To pair with it, we went for home dried apple slices. I like to slice what apples we have on hand and then sprinkle them with seasonings before putting them in the dehydrator to dry. The spice dusting changes depending on the mood. Today I went with ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and a touch of nutmeg. the apples we had on hand were very sweet and drying them just made them sweeter. After they were out, my babydoll added a pinch of cayenne to his to make them a little spicy. I wanted the ginger to shine through more than I wanted heat so I declined the addition.

All told it was a nice light way to kick back and enjoy the evening and unwind a little. while it wasn’t as indulgent as some of the treats I make for Happy Hour, this week, it felt decident because of all of the warm spices and the pretty glass. I’ll admit, the ombre effect didn’t hurt.

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Happy Hour: Salami and Sour Cherries

Once again the week has ended and the office clothes have been exchanged for comfortable pajama pants and comfortably worn t-shirts.  And today, I had no real control over our happy hour.  It was all my babydoll’s doing. 

He has been brewing again as he wanted to get several batches put up before the summer sun started affecting his brewing work space.  So he brewed more in one sitting than usual.  As a result he needed more bottles.  Usually he orders his brewing supplies on-line, but the need for bottles was kind of immediate, so he went in search of a homebrew supply locale.  He found one and secured his bottles.  Tonight he will be a bottling fiend and I am banished from the kitchen while he does so.

However when he found the homebrew store he found out there is an Eastern European Deli in the same shopping complex. 

He went a little bananas.

And so tonight for Happy Hour we are having a Hungarian Salami sliced into thin rounds and accompanied by a pickles from the same company and some pepperoncini’s.  It is a really good mix.  The salami is spiced but not hotly spiced and it has a good fat content for the sausage.  This salty fatty spicy meat pairs really well with the slightly sweet and sour pickled flavor of the Hungarian gherkins.  They have a fairly mild flavor.  Personally I prefer them room temperature rather than fridge cold so that more of the flavor comes out of them.  They also seem to be less astringent when they are room temperature. The Pepperoncini’s are  both astringent and provide the element of heat to the offerings.  They have a slight sweetness too which matches well with the pickles.

 They are not an overpoweringly hot pepper.  They are however full of pickling liquid.  It is why we have them in a bowl instead of laid out neatly on a plate.  When we eat them, we pull out the stem.  I like the heat so I tend to leave the seeds.  You can take them out if you want them milder.  But either way you have to squeeze them over the bowl so you don’t dripple and squirt the peppers all over everything.  It always amazes me how much liquid they can gather inside them.

As for drinks, to be honest I wasn’t feeling like alcohol tonight.  Luckily my baby picked up a bottle of Sour Cherry Syrup while at the deli.  The sourness helps balance the sickly sweet almost cough syrup like taste that regular cherry syrup can have. 

I added a measure to a glass of carbonated water (courtesy of my Soda Stream) and then added just a drop of lemon juice to the mix.  There you have a super simple non-alcoholic beverage to sip along side the platter, or just sitting on the back porch as the heat of the day fades.  It is easy enough to make this alcoholic if you want, I would suggest sticking to your clear liquors though.  Citrus flavored vodkas are especially nice with this. 

The only issue is that it is a big bottle of Sour Cherry Syrup and once opened it needs to be refrigerated. I suspect that because it is kind of taking up prime real estate in the fridge we will be using it often in the next few weeks.  I will have some of my non-alcoholic versions throughout the week and possibly be using it in some of my upcoming cocktail recipes. 

But for now it is a very low key home happy hour and a non- alcoholic beverage to go with it as my baby and I sit back and unwind from the week.  I hope whatever you do to unwind lets you relax and let all the stress of the work week go.  Because you deserve it.

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