Happy Hour Friday- Moscow Mule

Welcome back to Happy Hour Friday.  With the Labor Day weekend ahead, we thought it would be fun to start things off with a very popular and refreshing cocktail, the Moscow Mule.  These are everywhere right now so we thought we would make them at home.

The story of the Moscow Mule goes back to the 1940’s.  Apparently, back then, vodka was not a very popular drink.  A man by the name of John G. Martin bought the rights to the French Smirnoff brand in 1939, but no one wanted to drink it.  He partnered up with Jack Morgan, who was also struggling to sell his ginger beer. With the help of a bartender, they combined efforts, put the drink in a copper mug with a lime wedge, and the rest is cocktail history.  Why it’s called a Moscow Mule remains a mystery.  The consensus is that the name Moscow was used because vodka primarily came from Russia, but Mule?  Who knows?  (June’s theory is that if you drink enough of them you feel like you got kicked in the head by a mule, but she just made that up).  We just know that there’s nothing better than a Moscow Mule by the pool on a hot, “We don’t want summer to end” day.

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1 serving

1 jigger of vodka (we used Grey Goose)

1/2 jigger of fresh lime juice

1/2 cup chilled ginger beer (Fentimans or Crabbies)

1 lime wedge

Fill copper mug with ice. Add vodka and lime juice, then add ginger beer.  Stir to mix and garnish with lime wedge.  We had a whole debate about whether the ginger beer should be alcoholic or non-alcoholic.  We never did get a definitive answer so we just used the alcoholic ginger beer.  Why not?  We could use the extra little kick!

UPDATE:  We had a request from a very loyal and faithful reader for some mocktail ideas for Happy Hour.  We will try and incorporate them in our Happy Hour posts.  We know that there are many people that for various reasons don’t drink alcohol.  We have not tried a mock Moscow Mule, but we think this drink could be easily changed for that.  The ginger beer, even the non-alcoholic, has a kick.  So try a 1/2 jigger of lime juice, and some non-alcoholic ginger beer in a copper mug along with 1 lime wedge. If you try it, let us know how it is.  And next time we will do the taste testing for you!

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Our appetizer this week was a melted Brie topped with toasted slivered almonds served with raw veggies, sliced apple, and water crackers.  We microwaved the brie to melt it a bit, but you could also top the brie with toasted slivered almond and then put it an oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until soft (it was too hot the day we had Happy Hour, so we did not want to turn on the oven).

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Enjoy the long holiday weekend!

~May and June

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Inspirational Card Tree Holder

I love receiving greeting cards whether its for a birthday or for Christmas or for some other holiday (or for no reason at all).  They usually are pretty to look at and it is nice to receive some well written words of love.  We have always displayed greeting cards that we receive.  As a child, the birthday girl or boy (or mom or dad) would set out their cards on a small end table so that the cards could be enjoyed for a couple of days or weeks after the event.  And my parents would come up with different ways to display the Christmas cards they received.  Some years it was making a Christmas tree shape on the wall and filling it in with the cards, other times it was putting them in a basket out for display.

Because I like to enjoy my cards, I wanted to find a way to display them without standing them up on a table.  One of my chores as a child was to dust (which I did not like to begin with) and when there were cards out you had to take them down, dust, and then stand them back up.  And invariably some of them would fall over and knock others over.

A few years ago I found this card holder tree from Pottery Barn:

Card Holder

It must be pretty popular.  I bought mine probably 12 years ago or so and it has hung in a couple of my apartments, my condo and now my house.  I like it because it can be hung vertically or horizontally depending on your space.

Our card holder tree hangs in our dining room.  It fits perfectly in the space between the pass through to the kitchen and the doorway to the kitchen.  I have hung mine vertically because of the space (and let’s face it I’m too short to hang it horizontally because it would have to be above the pass through and I could never hang anything from it without getting a stepladder).

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My husband and I hang our birthday cards on it.  I also hang all of my Christmas cards from it.  It is so nice to look at all of your children’s beautiful, smiling faces on your Christmas cards while we eat dinner.  We go through times of the year when we do not receive many greeting cards so then I hang pictures from it, little notes, wedding invitations, postcards from the Iowa Summer Writer’s Workshop or other small tokens.

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(Silly golden retriever cards, a picture of my husband and me with our late dog Penelope, a poppy from the veterans, and a shamrock)

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(An anniversary card, a summer writer’s workshop postcard, an angel pin, and yet another silly golden retriever card)

I also discovered that Trader Joe’s sells greeting cards for $.99 .  I saw a couple of cards that inspired me, so I bought them for myself and hung them on my card tree holder.

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Basically, I hang anything on my card tree holder that inspires me or makes me happy.  And since I walk by the spot every day several times a day I get to enjoy all of it often.  Thank you to all of you who send me cards and other inspirational tokens.  They are very much enjoyed.  –June