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.


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!


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).

IMG_1289 (2)

Enjoy the long holiday weekend!

~May and June


Happy Hour Friday- Sangria

Hi everyone!  It’s time for Happy Hour Friday again and we would like to share another summer favorite with you. Today’s cocktail is Sangria. Originally from Spain and Portugal, ‘Sangria has become a popular cocktail, particularly during the summer months.  It’s a drink that’s mixed with a wonderful blend of seasonal fruits which also makes it a very versatile cocktail, and while traditionally made using red wine it can also be made using white wine.

This Sangria recipe has turned into a favorite.  A little warning is that it is a sneaky drink and before you know it you are feeling its effects.  The recipe is from the Pioneer Woman but have fun playing with different combinations of wine and liquors and fruits.  You really cannot go wrong.

Sangria Recipe

1.5 liters of red wine such as cabernet sauvignon, merlot or pinot noir, chilled.  (Cabernet and merlot leads to bit heavier drink)

1.5 liters of dry white wine such as chardonnay, sauuvignon blanc or pinot grigio, chilled

1 cup of orange or citrus flavored rum

1 cup of orange or citrus flavored vodka

A mixture of fruit of choice (we like citrus fruits such as lemons, limes and oranges, also grapes, apples or pineapple)

1 cup white sugar dissolved in 1 cup of warm water


 Ingredients.  Since there were only 3 of us I only did one bottle of each wine and 1/2 cup of the other liquors.

Place the fruit in a large vat. Pour in the red wine, white wine, citrus rum and citrus vodka. Next, to add a subtle sweetness, dissolve the sugar in 1 cup water and add it to the mix. Stir well, then cover and refrigerate for several hours, giving the fruit and liquids time to meld. Serve in glasses over ice, and have tongs nearby so guests can help themselves to the fruit. (Recipe from Food Network see link http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/sangria-recipe.html

IMG_0671Fruit mixture

We love to pair the Sangria with a wonderful goat cheese marinara appetizer reminiscent of Spanish tapas.  The recipe is quick and easy and oh so good.


Goat Cheese Appetizer

8 oz. goat cheese

2 cups marinara (If I have fresh tomatoes I make my own, otherwise a chunky style in a jar works great)

1/3 cup fresh basil, cut into ribbons

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In the shallow baking dish, press goat cheese up to the edges.  Spoon in the two cups of marinara, bringing it to the edges then bake for approximately 20 minutes, until bubbly. Remove from oven and sprinkle with basil.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately with a sliced baguette for dipping.

Ingredients for Goat Cheese AppetizerIngredients for Goat Cheese Appetizer

Goat Cheese Appetizer

The finished product

Sangria feast

Our Happy Hour Feast!


What we looked like after drinking our Sangria (not really we are just really bad at taking selfies!!)

Have a great weekend!!!!  It’s going to be hot in Chicago this weekend so a little chill refreshment is going to be in order.  –May and June

Happy Hour Friday

Welcome!!!  We are so happy you stopped by to read.  We thought what better way to kick off this blog then with a Happy Hour Party!  Hope you enjoy it.  What is your favorite Happy Hour drink?  We’d love to hear from you.

Summer is here and today we have a great cocktail and appetizer to celebrate the start of the long holiday weekend. What could be better than a classic margarita on a hot summer day? My husband, Bob and I fell in love with margaritas several years ago on a Mexican vacation. Since then, he loves experimenting with different ingredients and has come up with a margarita that brings us back to sipping them on the warm, sunny Mexican beach. It’s all about using high quality, fresh ingredients. We think this is one you’ll enjoy.



2 oz. fresh lime juice (Mexican and key limes are slightly sweeter)
.5 oz. agave nectar
.5 oz. orange juice
1.5 oz. Patron Blanco Tequila
.5 oz Patron Citronge orange liqueur
salt (optional)

If using salt, place kosher salt in a shallow dish or saucer. Rub a lime wedge around a glass, then dip into salt. Fill a shaker 3/4 full with ice. Place ingredients in shaker and shake vigorously until shaker is frosty on the outside. Strain into glasses and add a lime wedge.

If you want a frozen margarita, place ingredients into a blender, adding 1 cup of ice per serving. Blend then pour into glasses, adding 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier to float, then enjoy.

It’s like a fiesta in a glass!!


Let’s face it, there’s no better appetizer for a margarita then chips and salsa. Here’s a homemade salsa recipe that’s easier than you think.



1 (14 1/2 ounce) can tomatoes and green chilies (Rotel)
1 (14/12 ounce) can whole tomatoes (plus the juice)
4 teaspoons jalapeños (canned, diced, not pickled)
1/4 cup yellow onion (diced)
1/2-3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon sugar

In a food processor place jalapeños and onions, processing for just a few seconds. Add both cans of tomatoes, salt, sugar and cumin. (You can add a little cayenne or tabasco for a spicier salsa). Process all ingredients until well blended but do not puree. Place in covered container and chill. A few hours of chilling will help blend and enhance the flavor. We like to serve with a mix of traditional tortilla chips as well as kale and chia chips. The chips are great served warm too.  Just place on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.


Have a fun and safe 4th of July!   —May and June