happy hour

How to Host Happy Hour for Less

Be your own bartender with a top-notch, five-bottle home bar that lets you make pretty much any popular cocktail and costs only $100. We’ll drink to that!


Five spirits experts share the bottles that deliver the best bang for your Benjamin. Try these pro picks to make your living room the best bar in town!


Plantation 3 Stars White Rum ($18 for 750 ml)

“This is one of my favorite white rums for any budget. An aged blend of Caribbean rums, it adds hints of tropical fruit to any drink, especially a daiquiri.” —Blair Reynolds, owner of bar and restaurant Hale Pele in Portland, OR 

Another great pick

Boozy Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum will wake up a mai tai—or any tiki drink. ($19 for 750 ml)



Citadelle Gin ($25 for 750 ml)

“Leave it to the French to come up with a delightfully flavorful gin. (No wonder: it’s made with nearly 20 herbs, roots, spices and flowers.) It pairs particularly well with citrus. One Tom Collins, please.” —Paul Clarke, author of The Cocktail Chronicles 

Another great pick 

Juniper-heavy Gordon’s London Dry Gin is a steal, and ideal in a gin and tonic. ($13 for 750 ml)



Pueblo Viejo Blanco ($18 for 750 ml)

“This blanco tequila (which isn’t aged) is distilled in a traditional way. It has a citrusy, earthy flavor that shines in a margarita.” —Courtenay Greenleaf, corporate beverage director at Rosa Mexicano restaurants 

Another great pick 

Spicy Cimarrón Blanco offers fresh agave flavor. ($20 for 750 ml)



Tito’s Handmade Vodka ($21 for 750 ml)

“Corn-based Tito’s is one of the most bright- tasting, clean vodkas around—which is why it’s so delicious on the rocks or in a martini. I also love that it’s from Austin, my hometown.” —Christina Cabrera, bar consultant at San Francisco’s Barbarossa Lounge 

Another great pick

Crisp Gruven Handcrafted Vodka, made from wheat and rye, is a cocktail go-to. ($11 for 750 ml)



W. L. Weller Special Reserve ($18 for 750 ml)

“I don’t make cocktails with anything I wouldn’t drink on its own. This bourbon has a sophisticated sweetness balanced by a fiery kick, which makes it great neat and in a mixed drink.” —Michael Neff, bar director at NYC’s Holiday Cocktail Lounge 

Another great pick 

Aged in charred oak barrels, Jim Beam Black is just as complex as pricier bourbons. ($22 for 750 ml)


By Joshua M. Bernstein; Photography by Aaron Dyer


A Sweet & Tangy Five-Ingredient Cocktail

Did you know November is National Pomegranate Month? And while we love a good sprinkling of seeds in our fruit salad, on our burgers or even tossed with Brussels sprouts, sometimes we need something a little more potent… in the form of a cocktail.


The Pom Selleck is just the thing we’re looking for: It’s sweet and fruity with a hint of effervescence to round it all out. Make this drink after a long day at the office, for a cocktail or holiday party or on a game-day afternoon. It’ll wet your whistle any which way (say that 10 times fast)!



3 cups pomegranate juice

1 1/4 cups vodka

1 cup triple sec

1 lime, juiced

2 cups seltzer

Ice (freebie)



Combine the pomegranate juice, vodka, triple sec and lime juice in a pitcher; refrigerate until cold. Just before serving, add the seltzer and pour the mixture into tall, ice-filled glasses. Make 8.



More Delicious Cocktail Recipes

Hard Apple Cider Cocktails

Blushing Cocktails

Rum & Coke Slushies

Four-Ingredient Mezcal Cocktial

Tequila will always have a special place in our hearts, but sometime we’re looking for a spirit that’s a little more complex. Meet mezcal: tequila’s close cousin, also originating from the agave plant. While tequila can be fruity, earthy or oaky, mezcal takes on more of a smoky flavor, due to the slow-roasting of the agave hearts in hardwood fire pits in order to produce it. But the fancy knowledge stops there: Mezcal can be used in a wide array of simple yet delicious drinks that are perfect for your Thirsty Thursday. One of our favorites, The Smokin’ Dog, only requires four ingredients!




6 oz. fresh grapefruit juice (pink or yellow)

1 oz. mezcal

Splash of club soda

1 grapefruit twist



Fill a rocks glass with ice, then add grapefruit juice and mezcal. Stir to blend; top with a splash of soda. Garnish with grapefruit twist. Makes 1.



Related Links

Behind the Scenes: Making Mezcal Cocktails

Grill + Cocktail Pairings

More Four-Ingredient Cocktails

Happy Hour #InASnap: Bourbon-Apple Sidecars

Happy Thirsty Thursday! Relax this evening with a drink that’ll quench your thirst and put a smile on your face (queue Pharrell’s “Happy”). The best part? This four-ingredient cocktail won’t have to be slaving away in the kitchen (but don’t tell your guests — this drink is so impressive, they’ll think you’re a master mixologist!).



Read more

A Cocktail Worth Sipping

As part of our #SundaySupper menu, we’re featuring  Super-Food “Sangria,” which is chock full of antioxidant- and vitamin-rich fruit. But sangria isn’t the only way you can sneak some nutrients into happy hour. Here are some cocktail recipes featuring fruits you may not have expected to be so good for you!

Kiwi Mojitos

Tummy troubles? Kiwi–especially the skin–is high in fiber and pre-biotic complex carbohydrates. Plus, its natural bright green color makes for a killer looking cocktail.

Grapefruit Sparklers

Grapefruits contain high levels of antioxidants, and studies have shown that eating one a day can help you avoid heart disease by lowering cholesterol. We’ll take seconds!

Winter Cherry

Pomegranates aren’t the only ruby red fruit with health benefits. Cherries contain the antioxidant, anthocyanin, which can reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol levels.

Prosecco Berry Sparklers

Consumption of blueberries can lead to a better memory and brain function. Blackberries contain cancer- and disease-fighting antioxidants. And raspberries are loaded with fiber and vitamin C. Enough said.

Related Links

Herbs: They’re not just for cooking

Watermelon Cocktail Time

Battle of the Citrus Cocktail Sippers