Archive | Happy Hour

Holiday Sidewalks

City Sidewalks, Busy Sidewalks Dressed in Holiday Style……

Now that Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday are behind us and the holiday season is in full swing, we encourage all of you to check out your local community and see what’s happening during this festive month.  Almost every town these days dresses up their trees, parks, and storefronts in celebration of the holidays. It’s a great opportunity to get together with family, friends, and neighbors to do a little Christmas shopping, enjoy the lights, and perhaps even sit on Santa’s lap. And while we all enjoy the festive Christmas light displays of the big city, sometimes in the hustle and bustle of December, it is difficult to take a whole day to visit.

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Beautifully lit streets.

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A festive storefront

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Beautifully decorated trees dressing a restaurant entrance

There is something so charming about strolling down the streets of a small town at Christmas time. You almost feel like you’re in a beloved holiday movie, such as It’s a Wonderful Life. Of course the evening isn’t complete without sharing a meal and toasting the upcoming holiday.

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June always gets talked into posing but she loved the alley of Christmas lights

This year May and June decided to stay close to home by visiting downtown Arlington Heights, Illinois to enjoy a holiday happy hour, and do a little Christmas shopping. The weather was cold and windy, so we bundled up and enjoyed walking down the beautifully lit streets and nearby park, and we even found a few gifts. We both are big supporters of local businesses. The stores are unique, friendly, and you can always find something for that special someone on your list. And by supporting your local businesses you keep your local community vibrant, and hopefully attract even more businesses you can enjoy.  Chances are, you’ll also probably run into someone you know. Some stores are keeping longer hours this month too, which is nice for those last minute gifts on your Christmas list.

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A streetscape that should be in the movies

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This is Santa’s tree farm

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Our town’s North School Park wishing everyone a wonderful season

We were able to get in the holiday spirit with all of the Christmas lights (and the glass of prosecco probably helped too) all without going too far from home.  And once we had enough Christmas spirit, we were both able to arrive home in ten minutes, and get tucked warmly in our pajamas.  Have a good weekend! –May and June

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful –Norman Vincent Peale

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Enjoying the Sights at Raised – Rooftop Bar

We’ve enjoyed some lovely summer weather lately and last week, May and June decided it was time to celebrate summer (and do a little work of course because we work better with a cocktail!) at a recently opened urban rooftop bar called Raised, located on the third floor of the Renaissance Hotel, in the heart of downtown Chicago. Hotel guests as well as locals like us are invited to experience the raw finishes of this very eclectic indoor/outdoor lounge. We arrived shortly after it opened, and found a great table overlooking the Chicago River.

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We enjoyed a glass of Prosecco and shared a few small plates as we watched the hustle and bustle of the city below. The menu has as assortment of beverages to choose from, along with some delicious appetizers, perfect for getting together after work.

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What we like about Raised is the third floor location. Although we had great views, we still felt like we were part of the action below.  If you like to watch people and the river traffic, the views cannot be beat.  We also were in love with those cloth napkins you see in the picture below.  We think that they were small tea towels, and something we are now on the hunt for to incorporate into our table decor.

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In addition to tables and stools, there is an array of sofas and comfy chairs surrounding small fire pits, great for conversation. We suggest you get there early if you want to sit outside, tables fill up fast.  By a few minutes after 5:00 on a Tuesday evening, there were very few seats to be had.  And we were lucky because the weather was perfect, but the indoor section of the bar was pretty cool and cozy and could be a fun place to visit, once the weather turns cold or rainy.

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There seems to be more rooftop lounges opening up here in the city, and we look forward to sharing a few more great finds with you while the warm weather lasts. We definitely think Raised is worth checking out.

Live every hour like it’s Happy Hour- Lily Pulitzer

Have a great weekend! ~May and June

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Another Birthday Happy Hour

As you know, we have our birthdays in successive months.  So today,  it is time for our second installment of Birthday Happy Hour.  Keeping  to the theme of doing a Happy Hour based in the decade of the birthday girl’s birth, we had to go back to the 1970s.  However, the 1970s was not the best decade it seems for iconic memories.  And while Saturday Night Fever was certainly popular, June was a little young and did not really identify with the disco era, so instead we went for the cheese factor.  And we based our Happy Hour on a very memorable Saturday night television show, The Love Boat!!!

The Love Boat

Love, exciting and new
Come aboard. We’re expecting you.
Love, life’s sweetest reward.
Let it flow, it floats back to you.

The Love Boat soon will be making another run
The Love Boat promises something for everyone
Set a course for adventure, your mind on a new romance.

And love won’t hurt anymore
It’s an open smile on a friendly shore.
It’s love!
Welcome abord
It’s love!

June remembers watching the television show, especially when she and her family went to visit her grandparents for the day, because she was allowed to stay up late and watch it with her aunts.  Looking back on it now, it sure was a cheesy show.  And most of the guest stars were people who were on the downslide of their career.  But at the time, it sure seemed glamorous to my younger self.

Because we were going for that tropical cruise ship feel we decided a fruity slushy cocktail was in order.  So we enjoyed some Frozen Sangria.

  • 1 pound (16 ounces) frozen mixed berries
  • 1 2/3 cups dry red wine
  • 1/3 cup Cointreau (or any orange liqueur, or brandy) – we used Grand Mariner but next time we are thinking orange flavored rum
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • 1-2 Tablespoons sweetener – we used agave
  • ice, if needed to thicken

Add ingredients to the blender.  Pulse to smooth.  Add more ice to thicken if needed.  Add more sweetener if needed.

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Our plan was to get into the spirit of The Love Boat and sip these while floating in May’s backyard pool.  We were going to pretend it was the Ledo Deck.  However, because we are in Chicago and sadly not in the Caribbean, the weather was fickle and it rained.  Instead, we enjoyed a view from the dry sunroom and just looked at the pool.

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From May….To my dear friend June. We’ve been on this ride for almost a year now, and along the way we’ve had plenty of laughs, a few tears, and lots of hours creating. I can’t wait to see where this crazy journey takes us next. You are my partner in crime and a true soul sister. I wish you the happiest of birthdays. XO

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(Imitation of Charo who seemed to guest star on the show every other week)

Have a good weekend!  If it is warm out this weekend this drink is sure to cool you off.  –May and June 

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A Birthday Celebration for May

As I’m sure you all know by now, the name of our blog, May Meets June, was born from the months of our birthdays. So, since we are in the beautiful month of May, we thought we would have a birthday celebration for May with a very special Happy Hour (her birthday is tomorrow, May 21). When we were thinking about this post, we were looking back at everything going on in the world the decade May was born. It was the 60’s (yikes!!) and the U.S. was getting its first taste of The Beatles, gas was 25 cents a gallon, the Ford Mustang was in production, Barbie was everywhere, and of course John F. Kennedy was assassinated. There was also a long list of great films that came out in the 60’s, and since May loves everything Audrey Hepburn, a Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) theme seemed like a great idea (although just to clarify May was born after 1961). For those of you who have never seen the film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is loosely based on Truman Capote’s novella of the same name. Hepburn’s character, Holly Golightly, is a young country girl trying to find herself a rich husband by socializing with the wealthy in Manhattan.

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Today, we will be celebrating Happy Hour with a retro drink that was popular in the late 60’s called a Slow Gin Fizz. However, we are going to give it a fun modern twist.

Ingredients for  1 drink

Rosemary simple syrup:

3/4 cup sugar

4 rosemary sprigs

Rosemary Gin Fizz:

1/4 cup gin (Tangueray)

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice

About 1/4 cup seltzer

1 small rosemary sprig

Directions:

Special equipment: Cocktail shaker

For the rosemary simple syrup: Combine the sugar, 3/4 cup water and the rosemary sprigs in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring and muddling the rosemary with a wooden spoon, until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 1 minute. Take off the heat and cool to room temperature. Strain into a small container. The syrup can be kept refrigerated in an airtight container up to two weeks.

For the rosemary gin fizz: Combine the gin, lemon juice, lime juice and 2 tablespoons simple syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously, then strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Top off with seltzer and garnish with a rosemary sprig.

** Recipe courtesy of Valerie Bertinelli

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A refreshing cocktail for a warm summer day.

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This delicious Tiffany blue cake was made at our favorite bakery, Sweet T’s

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Our lovely tiaras were purchased at Target.

And from June a special birthday message to my dear friend May.  I am so glad I decided to give yoga another try many years ago and ended up in your basement for that class.  You were one of those people that I knew I wanted to be my friend.  It’s funny how sometimes I have that sense about people.  And you put up with me hanging out with you before class because my train got in early and it was easier just to come early rather than to go home.  A year and a half ago after we both talked individually about pursuing different creative pursuits including blogging, you came to me with the proposal of starting a blog together and it’s been a fun adventure.  For that I thank you because you have made me brave.  You have made me brave to start writing and to put my words out in the world and to pursue this dream that I have had since being a child.  I know that this past year has been one of your harder years, and you have suffered such a loss and because we are in many ways kindred spirits, you hold that loss so close inside your heart and do so much for others with still a smile on your face.  I have for so long needed a best friend like you.  You proof my posts, you convince me that I need that pair of shoes or shirt (which is usually not that hard), you are the only person I know who reads as much as me,  you read and respond to my crazy texts even when they are sent at 6 am (good thing we are both morning people) and I love your spirit.  I hope your birthday and this next year is filled with so many joys and blessings, and I am glad that I will be a friend beside you along the way.  Happy of happiest birthdays!!!!

Have a great weekend! ~May and June

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Happy Hour – Let’s Celebrate Spring

Happy Friday!  The weather forecasters are promising us some spring temperatures this weekend, and June is taking a nice little trip with her husband to Nashville for a long overdue getaway.  So what better way to celebrate both than with a little Friday Happy Hour.

This Happy Hour was intended to be a working Happy Hour since we had some blog business that needed our attention. However, after we took about three sips of our cocktails, there was no work happening.  These cocktails were strong.  May had to drive home so she stopped early and drank water, and June stopped shortly after.  She had to take a little rest after May went home.

Prosecco and Limoncello Cocktail

3 parts chilled Prosecco

1 part chilled Limocello

Fresh blackberries and raspberries

Fresh mint sprigs for garnish

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Mix Prosecco and Limoncello. Garnish with raspberries and or blackberries and a few sprigs of mint.  If it’s a little strong for your taste, top with a little more Prosecco.

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For our appetizer we enjoyed a little brie and crackers. These cocktails may look innocent, however you definitely don’t want to drink these on an empty stomach.

Brie with Wine Soaked Blackberries

6 oz fresh blackberries

1/2 cup of red wine

2 tsp sugar

1 8 0z round brie

Dissolve sugar in wine.  Let blackberries sit in wine for at least 1/2  hour although longer is better.  Heat oven to 350.  Cut top rind off brie.  Bake brie for 10-15 minutes until warm and gooey (if it came in the wooden box you can bake it in there, otherwise put it in a round ramekin).  Spoon blackberries over the top.  Serve with crackers or a baguette.

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Have a good weekend and enjoy the beautiful spring weather.  –May and June

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Happy Hour- Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

We’re on the eve of one of the most celebrated “holidays” of the year, here in Chicago. St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and with the city of Chicago being home to a large Irish community, preparations are being made for this weekend’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, as well as the dying of the Chicago River to a vivid green, to honor the day.

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May and June are honoring the day with Irish coffee, and a few Irish inspired appetizers.

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Irish Coffee

The Irish Coffee recipe was inspired from The Pioneer Woman’s recipe

1 cup of heavy cream

Splash (or a bit more) of Bailey’s Irish Cream

Strong brewed coffee

1 shot of Irish Whiskey per coffee cup

1 teaspoon brown sugar

Start by whipping the heavy cream and the Bailey’s Irish Cream with a mixer until you have whipped cream.  Pour the shot of Irish Whiskey and the brown sugar in the bottom of a coffee cup.  Pour brewed coffee until cup is almost full, and top with Bailey’s whipped cream.

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May and June are not beer drinkers, but for those of you who are, there is a large selection of Irish beers to enjoy with your appetizers.

For our appetizer we made little toasted Reuben bites which could be paired with a delicious Irish beer.

Ingredients:

Corned Beef (from the deli is fine)

Swiss Cheese

Sauerkraut

Thousand Island Dressing

Triscuit Rye Crackers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Top each Triscuit cracker with a small piece of corned beef.  Place a teaspoon of thousand island dressing on top followed by some sauerkraut.  Top with swiss cheese.  Place in oven and toast until cheese is melted.

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Irish coffee, toasted reubens and Irish soda bread

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There is no happy hour without Gatsby.

Have a good weekend.  And may all the Irish eyes be smiling on you and your family. –May and June

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Love, Love, Love – Valentine’s Day

Happy Friday!! This weekend we celebrate Valentine’s Day (with all of its love), and for many of you (especially if you have school aged children), it’s a three day weekend with the Presidents Day holiday on Monday.

Did you know that (St.) Valentine’s Day is one of the most celebrated days by Americans? Every year, many of us exchange cards, candy, flowers, and gifts with our special “valentine”. Both May and June have fond memories of Valentine’s Day parties at school that included exchanging cards with our classmates, fun games, and the best part, yummy heart shaped treats. Did you ever wonder how this day of celebrating love began?

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Vintage Valentine’s Day Card

The exact history of Valentine’s Day has always been a bit of a mystery, but we do know that its roots go back to Christian and Roman times where Saint Valentine was remembered, often as a celebration of the beginning of spring, in February. Valentine’s Day wasn’t connected to romance until the 14th century, when a poet named Geoffrey Chaucer (Canterbury Tales) wrote a poem called The Parliament of Fowls, linking Valentine’s Day to love.

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Artwork by Shutterstock

Today we thought we would celebrate Valentine’s Day with all the goodies that have made the holiday what it is today. There’s nothing better than celebrating love with a little bubbly, beautiful roses, and of course, chocolate. I know Trader Joe’s always seems to be part of our happy hour, but they have the best goodies, especially when it comes to holidays. (We swear, TJ’s isn’t paying us to say this!) We found these great treats (in cute packaging), and the roses too.IMG_0041

truffles and chocolate bark

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Heart pillow courtesy of Target

May and her husband keep it simple on Valentine’s Day, although the past few years, he’s been traveling for work (including this year). Cards are exchanged ( May usually hides his in his suitcase) and there are always flowers and chocolate.  June and her husband also keep it simple with a nice bottle of champagne, sushi and a cozy evening in.  Gifts are usually simple also with flowers (he thinks he is being sneaky when he is out running “errands” early on the morning of Valentine’s Day) and cards.

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Of course Gatsby was part of the Valentine’s Day happy hour because he wants all of the love.  Also, his birthday is on Valentine’s Day, and all he wants is attention (and tennis balls).

Enjoy your Valentine’s Day weekend!  May all of you have a little love this weekend from your special people or pets. –May and June

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Enjoying The Drake Hotel

TGIF!!! This week, May and June decided it was time to visit another great hotel in our beautiful city. Although cold, it was bright and sunny so we decided to walk 1.5 miles to The Drake Hotel, for a mid-week “business meeting”.  And because May is the fastest power walker on the planet, we did not get too cold (although we may have had a little warm-up stop to check out the spring fashions and sales at Anthropologie).

The Drake

The Drake is a landmark hotel that was founded in 1920 by Tracy and John Drake, who acquired it from Potter Palmer in 1916. The hotel was built in the Italian Renaissance style overlooking Lake Michigan, and was a longtime rival of the Palmer House, another landmark establishment ( both of which are now operated by Hilton Hotels). Notable visitors to the Drake Hotel have included several Presidents, Winston Churchill, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Walt Disney, and Queen Elizabeth II.  The Drake Hotel is located on the north end of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.

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(A beautiful bouquet greets visitors in the lobby)

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(One of the many grand and gorgeous crystal chandeliers)

After doing a little tour of the lobby, we decided to check out the historical Coq d’Or (French for golden cockerel), the hotel’s piano bar/restaurant which is known for being the second establishment to serve alcohol after prohibition, opening December 6, 1933. We felt like we were going back in time as we enjoyed our drinks and appetizers, relaxing in red leather chairs. The menu items are a little retro.  We only really perused the appetizers but it was old-school food like shrimp cocktail, crab cakes and a cheese board.  It is fun to visit some of these old school restaurants and bars where everything on the menu lends itself to being comfortable and unpretentious.  On weekends, patrons can come for a drink or dinner, while listening to the sounds of jazz piano. You can also go for afternoon tea in the Palm Court, between 1-5pm.

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(The golden cockerel must have worn a pirate hat?)

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(The bar complete with a red leather bumper, big red leather bar chairs and dark wood)

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(A vintage scene)

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(A business meeting with champagne refreshment and a cheese plate)

We hope you get a chance to stop in at the Drake Hotel, the next time you’re in the city. Have a wonderful weekend.

~May and June

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January Happy Hour – Champagne Cocktails

So, on the day before New Year’s Eve, we had a regularly scheduled blog meeting that evolved into Happy Hour.  We decided that celebrating the upcoming new year required champagne and chambord cocktails.  These cocktails are pink, sparkly, and oh so good.

Champagne and Chambord Cocktail

Ingredients

1 oz of Chambord

Chilled Champagne

Fresh Blackberries or Raspberries

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Pour 1 oz of the Chambord in a champagne flute.  Top with champagne.  Drop in a blackberry or raspberry (or 2) for garnish.

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And because this was a spontaneous Happy Hour, we did not plan ahead for appetizers. Fortunately, June was prepared and had some appetizers in her freezer courtesy of Trader Joe’s. So, we popped these stuffed mushrooms in the oven, and had ourselves a little cocktail happy hour/business meeting.

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Here’s to 2016!  And we have decided that every business meeting this year should end with champagne.  –May and June

 

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Holiday Happy Hour-Pomegranate Martini

Welcome to May and June’s holiday edition of Happy Hour Friday. Tis the season for cocktail parties, where fun holiday drinks are often on the menu. We (and our husbands) recently celebrated the spirit of Christmas with festive pomegranate martinis, yummy appetizers, and great conversation (not to mention a few laughs). May found this great martini recipe a few years back after seeing it on Oprah. She made it for a holiday party at her home and it was a big hit, so we thought we’d stick with a good thing.

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Pomegranate Martini

Ingredients: 2 servings

1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice

2 ounces Absolute citrus infused vodka (We used Grey Goose)

1 ounce Cointreau liqueur

1 cup ice

Sparkling water (splash, optional)

Lemon (a squeeze, optional)

Shake ingredients in a shaker and pour into chilled martini glasses. Add pomegranate fruit into each glass as a garnish.

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In addition to our cocktails, we also had an array of yummy appetizers, all from Trader Joe’s.

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We found a great recipe for cocktail meatballs on Trader Joe’s website that we wanted to share with you. You can make them in the slow cooker and turn the setting to warm when you’re ready to serve them.

Sweet Balls of Fire:

2 packages TJ’s Turkey Meatballs
1 cup TJ’s Cranberry Sauce
2 jars TJ’s Sweet Chili Sauce

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°.

Prepare sauce: In a sauce pan add 1 cup of cranberry sauce and 2 jars of sweet chili sauce. Stir and heat until sauce begins to bubble.

Place meatballs in a baking dish (9″ x 9″) and cover with warm cranberry sweet chili sauce mixture. Place in oven and heat for about 20-30 minutes, or until meatballs are heated through and sauce is hot. Alternatively, use a slow cooker to heat meatballs and sauce, about 5-6 hours on low, or 2-4 hours on high until heated through.

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Cheers!

~May and June

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Happy Hour Friday- The Whiskey Sour

Happy Friday everyone and welcome to our November installment of Happy Hour.  Remember that song “Everything old is new again?” Well, that applies to cocktails too! Classic cocktails are making their way back to the mainstream and becoming very popular.  Old Fashioned’s, Gin and Tonic’s, and Manhattan’s are just a few of the many retro cocktails being served in popular drinking establishments around the country.

Today, we thought it would be fun to make a Whiskey Sour as our classic cocktail. Interestingly, this particular retro cocktail took both May and June back to fond childhood summers.  For May, the Whiskey Sour goes back to summers at her grandmother’s house. On hot steamy days, you could always find a cold pitcher of whiskey sours in the “icebox”. They would be served (to the adults) on the patio and May and her brother enjoyed eating the orange and maraschino cherries adorning the glass (and maybe a sip or a watered down drink).  June has never actually had an experience with a Whiskey Sour before our Happy Hour, but her grandpa used to have one whiskey and water on the rocks before dinner when her family visited in Southern Missouri.  And as soon as June smelled her drink, the aroma brought back all of those fun childhood memories of sultry, humid Missouri Fourth of July visits, making homemade ice cream with an old-fashioned ice cream maker full of rock salt and turned by hand.

 

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Fresh Whiskey Sours

(makes 4 drinks)

  • 3/4 cup of whiskey
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup
  • slices of orange
  • maraschino cherries

Combine whiskey, lemon juice, lime juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker half full with ice.  Shake for 30 seconds and pour into four glasses.  Garnish with slice of orange, maraschino cherry and ice (if desired).

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For our nibble we kept it simple with cranberry pumpkin crisps from Trader Joes and machengo cheese and brie cheese.

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Have a good weekend! –May and June

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Happy Hour Friday

October is here and fall is in full swing.  Today we thought we would celebrate Happy Hour Friday using some of the flavors of fall including apple, ginger, and cinnamon.  We’ve included a non-alcoholic beverage as well and of course, some yummy appetizers.

First up we have our mocktail of Apple Ginger Sparklers:IMG_1773

Equal parts of the following:

Ginger syrup (see below)

Sparkling apple cider

Club soda or sparkling water

Garnish of candied ginger and a cinnamon stick

To make the ginger syrup combine 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water in a saucepan over low heat.  Add 1 inch of grated or minced fresh ginger.  Simmer for at least an hour until ginger flavor is strong and sugar is dissolved.  Allow to cool.  Strain the ginger syrup to remove the pieces of ginger.

For the mocktail simply combine equal parts of the ginger syrup, sparkling apple cider and club soda or sparkling water in a cocktail glass with ice.  Garnish with a slice of candied ginger and a cinnamon stick.

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For the Apple, Ginger and Cranberry Cocktail

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Makes 2 servings:

1 cup of apple juice

1 cup of cranberry juice

1 1/2 shots of vodka

1 cup of ginger ale

Shake the apple juice, cranberry juice and vodka in a cocktail shaker.  Pour in a glass over ice until halfway full and add ginger ale to top off.  Add a slice of candied ginger for garnish.

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IMG_2887And for our appetizer we enjoyed some Goat Cheese Fig Crostini:

1 baguette

Soft goat cheese

Fig Jam

Proscuitto (optional)

Preheat broiler.  Slice the baguette in thin slices.  Spread a layer of goat cheese on each slice of bread and top with a teaspoon of fig jam.  If you desire, you can also put a slice of proscuitto on top.  Put the topped slices of bread under the broiler for about 2 minutes or until lightly browned.

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Our spread

Even though we were thinking fall with our cocktails, it was such a nice day out that we got to enjoy one last Happy Hour on the back porch.  And check out our special guest!

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Have a great weekend! –May and June

 

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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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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

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 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!

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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

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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.

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Ingredients:

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!!

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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.

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Ingredients:

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.

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

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