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One of the greatest parts about summer is the arrival of warm, sun-soaked evenings. That magic in-between time, when the sun’s about to set, is what this season is really all about. Complete the scene with an ice-cold cocktail (or mocktail) and a couple of tasty snacks, and it’s easy to imagine yourself anywhere in the world! Holiday mode: on.
So, although you may not be spending your summer along the Mediterranean coast this year, I’m going to show you how to bring a slice of holiday to your home instead. From punchy cocktails to hand-held bites – that are guaranteed to add something special to golden hour, wherever you are in the world.
Sundown sips to get you started
Sure, you could fill a bucket of ice with beer and wine… But where’s the fun in that? Bring on the cocktails, I say! From summer sips that go big on the booze to lots of refreshing non-alcoholic options, these thirst-quenching drinks put the ‘happy’ in happy hour.
Tip: Make a big pitcher of your favourite cocktail for an easy way to serve lots of guests.
Inject plenty of punch into homemade cocktails: make them fruity, fizzy and fabulous! I’m a big fan of creating classics-with-a-twist such as this watermelon mojito or a sparkling Hugo spritz. Or, appeal to everyone’s inner child with this grown-up take on a slushie: an ice-cold strawberry frose. Just beware of the brain freeze!
There’s no reason to miss out on the joys of cocktail hour if you’re going booze-free. Mix up a mocktail to rival any boozy creation, such as this eye-popping pink lemonade garnished with pickled cherries. Or, for a drink to put a bit more fire in your belly, I highly recommend serving up this botanical beauty: a ginger & rosemary spritzer. It’s jam-packed with zest and spice.
Now for the nibbles!
No happy hour is complete without tasty snacks to nibble on. If you’re stuck for time, serve a selection of cheeses and cold meats, and let everyone dig in. You’re guaranteed to put smiles on faces! But, if you really want to push the boat out, then these are some of my top recipe recommendations that will make you think you’re on the coast…
Hand-held nibbles are the stars of any happy hour. Opt for something light and make these sweet potato bites, topped with smashed avocado and crunchy walnuts. Or, try these crispy salmon & pea bites – they only take 30 minutes to make and taste fantastic served with the lemony soured cream dip.
Fancy something sweet, to round everything off? Please the crowd with these dreamy baked churros with chocolate beer sauce. You can’t go wrong.
Large sharing platters are a laid-back way to feed lots of hungry mouths. Make use of seasonal vegetables with flavour filled salads – try Italian-style marinated courgettes or this tomato salad with baked Feta. Guests will love loading them onto their plates! Just remember to serve with lots of crusty bread for soaking up all those delicious juices and oils. A good ciabatta would do the trick, or go one step further with this cheese and salami pull-apart loaf. Bellissimo!
Co-op Senior Content Manager